Serious Play Improv Lab (SPIL 027) is thrilled to host acclaimed German composer/musician Frank Gratkowski (altor saxophone, flute and clarinets), who is having his very first tour in Kuala Lumpur! Frank will play solo and also collaborating with local improvisers Sudarshan Chandra Kumar, Yong Yandsen, Kok Siew Wai, Yen-Lin Goh and Max Riefer. More details coming soon. Mark your calendar and spread the word!

Date & Time: Friday, 23 Sept, door opens at 8pm
Venue: Findars Art Space, No. 8, 4th Floor, 50150 KL.
Admission by Suggested Donation: RM20[This event was made possible by the support of Goethe Institute Kuala Lumpur]

Frank Gratkowski (altor saxophone, flute and clarinets)
Max Riefer (percussion)
Sudarshan Chandra Kumar (vocals/electronics)
Yong Yandsen (tenor sax)
Kok Siew Wai (vocals)
Yen-Lin Goh (sound objects)


FRANK GRATKOWSKI was born in Hamburg, Germany, 1963. Started playing the saxophone at 16 and, following a period at the Hamburg Conservatory (Hamburger Musikhochschule), moved in 1985 to study at the Cologne Conservatory of Music with Heiner Wiberny, graduating in 1990. Further studies with Charlie Mariano, Sal Nistico and Steve Lacy. Frank has been working as a soloist in various international formations (Grubenklang Orchester, Klaus Koenig Orchester, Musikfabrik NRW, Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra, Bentje Braam, BikBentBraam, All Ears, Zeitkratzer, WDR Big band, etc.). Since 1990 he has been giving solo performances throughout Europe, Canada and USA. With his first solo program, he was a 1991 prizewinner in the Musik Kreativ contest. The release of the solo CD “Artikulationen” followed the same year and a new one “Artikulationen II” in 2002. Since 1992 he has been working in a duo with the pianist Georg Graewe (CD “VicissEtudes”). The duo is often extended through the participation of different additional musicians, such as drummer Paul Lovens (CD “Quicksand”) and bassist John Lindberg (CD “Arrears”). In 1995 he founded the “Frank Gratkowski Trio” with Dieter Manderscheid (Germany), bass, and Gerry Hemingway (USA), drums, (CDs “Gestalten” and “The Flume Factor” ). In 2000 the trio has been extended to a quartet by Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos (CDs “Kollaps”, “Spectral Reflections”, “Facio” and “Le Vent et la Gorge”). Since 2003 also appearing as a Double Quartet plus Tobias Delius, Herb Robertson, Wilbert DeJoode and Michael Vatcher. In 2005 he got the SWR Jazzprize. In 1999 the duo with the Italian trombonist Sebastiano Tramontana has been formed and since 2001 Frank Gratkowski has been performing with a trio including Wilbert De Jode (NL) on bass and Achim Kaufmann (D) on piano (CDs “Kwast” and “Unearth”). Since 2006 he’s working with the Trio Gratkowski / Brown / Winant (CDs “Wake” and “Vermilion Traces/Donaueschingen 2009”). He is also a co-leader / composer of the Multiple Joy[ce] Orchestra and got a commission to compose for the ensemble Apartment House by “November Music “ (Den Bosch NL) and the “Huddersfield Comtemporary Music Fesitival” (England) in 2009. Further actual projects are Fo[u]r Alto, a saxophone ensemble dedicated to microtonal music and “Artikulationen E” a solo program for saxophone with 8 channel live electronic. Frank played on nearly every German and on numerous international Jazz and contemporary music Festivals including Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Quebec, Les Mans, Muelhuus, Groeningen, Nickelsdorf, Barcelona, Lithuania, Warsaw, Zagreb, Prague, Bratislava, Sofia, Bucharest, Odessa and Roma, Huddersfield, London. He has been teaching saxophone and ensembles at the Cologne, Berlin and Arnhem Conservatory of Music and is giving workshops all around the world. Furthermore he has performed with Robert Dick, Phil Wachsmann, Radu Malfatti, Herb Robertson, Marcio Mattos, Eugenio Colombo, Peter Kowald, Ray Anderson, Michael Moore, Ken Vandermark, Greg Osby, Kenny Wheeler, Louis Sclavis, John Betsch, Jane Ira Bloom, Connie and Hannes Bauer, Xu Fengxia, James Newton, Muhal Richard Abrams, John Lindberg, Michael Formaneck, Ernst Reijseger, Fred van Hove, Theo Jörgensmann, Phil Minton, Peter Brötzmann, Mark Dresser, Mark Feldman, Hamid Drake, Michiel Braam, Han Bennink, Mal Waldron, Misha Mengelberg a.m.o.

MAX RIEFER (Germany) founded his first new music ensemble at the age of 18. Currently, he is the percussionist with Inverspace (Switzerland) and Zero Crossing (Germany/Singapore). He has also played with renowned groups like Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt) or Zeitkratzer (Berlin). Max Riefer is “Chair of Percussion Studies” at UiTM Faculty of Music/Malaysia. Previously, he was lecturer on the percussion faculty at Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland. Furthermore, he had been invited as guest lecturer at the Birmingham Conservatoire (UK); Toho Gakuen School of Music; Tokyo Ongaku Daigaku (Japan) or the National University of Singapore amongst others. Performances at international festivals including „MaerzMusik” (Berlin), „Tokyo Experimental Festival“ (Japan), “Wien Modern” (Austria), or “two days and two nights of new music” (Odessa, Ukraine). Max Riefer has received several awards and scholarships including those from the German National Merit Foundation, the Arts Foundation Baden-Württemberg (all Germany), Toho Orchestra Academy of Japan, and a residency-scholarship by Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan.
Premieres by composers like Dieter Mack, Peter Edwards, Nicolaus A. Huber or Keiko Harada. Collaborations with musicians such as flutist Robert Aitken, guitarist Nathan Fischer, percussionists Bob Becker, Emmanuel Sejourné, or Fritz Hauser. After focusing on instrumental projects, Riefer has broaden his sphere with intercultural and -disciplinary projects involving dance, acting, electro-acoustical music, and video. Broadcastings at radio stations such as DeutschlandRadio Kultur, DLF, Saarländischer Rundfunk, SWR 2 (all Germany), and BBC 3. His first solo album will be released in 2016.

Malaysian Chinese pianist YEN-LIN GOH is an avid performer of contemporary classical music integrating culture, language, and multi-disciplinary art. She has premiered numerous solo and chamber works across North America, Europe, and Africa. Composers she has collaborated with include Chen Yi, Ge Gan-ru, Tom Lopez, and Mayke Nas. Yen-Lin’s special interest in improvisation has led her to form contemporary improvisation ensembles and to work extensively with different instrumentalists, vocalists, dancers, actors and theater directors on improvisation projects and concerts. She started including toy piano and toy instruments in many of her performances after discovering their unlimited potential through Ge Ganru’s melodrama Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!. One of her projects was a collaboration with renowned Chinese artist Huang Shenchen, demonstrating the liveliness and spontaneity of calligraphy through an improvisation with Chinese toy instruments. This April, acting as a composer, dancer, and music performer utilizing toy instruments, she collaborated with choreographer Lau Beh Chin for the “Where 2 Seas Meet” Production at Damansara Performing Arts Centre in Malaysia. Among her many academic and artistic awards are the Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning National Award, the Graduate Scholar Award from the Seventh International Conference on the Arts in Society held in Liverpool, U.K., and the Tunisian/American Embassy Piano Fellowship that brought her to Tunisia in summer 2009. Last year September, she was selected as one of eight artists (one of two musicians) for a one-month residency at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Wyoming, U.S.A. Yen-Lin received her D.M.A. in Contemporary Music from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, USA, where she studied piano with Robert Satterlee and composition with Marilyn Shrude. She also holds degrees in Piano Performance and Communication Arts/Radio-TV-Film from University of Wisconsin-Madison and Oklahoma City University. Her passion for teaching brought her to Tanzania in 2013, working as a piano/voice teaching fellow at Umoja School of Music and a lecturer at Tumaini University Makumira. She is currently a senior lecturer at Sultan Idris Education University in Malaysia.

YONG YANDSEN is an improvised saxophonist. He has played at the Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival, Asian Meeting Festival (Japan), Mosaic Festival Singapore, Choppa Eclectic Improvised Music Festival (Singapore), Turn Around Free Jazz & Improvisation Festival (Singapore), Music Matters Festival (Sri Lanka) amongst others. Yandsen, together with Darren Moore and Brian OíReily, form an improvised trio called Game of Patience. They have toured to Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. They released debut CD album “Trial and Error” and a vinyl album “The Bad Sleeps Well”.

KOK SIEW-WAI started out as a video artist, now more active as a vocal improviser and independent artist-organizer/curator. She has performed in festivals such as Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival, SoundBridge Contemporary Music Festival, Choppa Experimental Music Festival (Singapore), Playfreely Festival (Singapore), Asian Meeting Festival (Japan), E-Poetry Festival (USA) and more. Siew-Wai is the co-founder, co-curator and festival director of the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival (KLEX) since 2010.

SUDARSHAN CHANDRA KUMAR is a musician. He has contributed vocals and live electronics to bands such as HKPT, T!T!T!, and Takdir. His live setup is comprised of loopers, synths and effects pedals that are used to create improvised soundscapes.