Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble

This is a brief history of the Ensemble to date (current version - January, 2013). To the best of my knowledge all the information it contains is complete and accurate. If you have any corrections or additions please contact me. For planned future performances see my "Diary" page. Some details on this page are still incomplete; they will be filled in as new information arrives.

Another account of the Ensemble's history, by Steve Lake, may be found here.

Lawrence Casserley


The EAE was founded in 1992 in a performance at that year's Total Music Meeting in Berlin (see here - click on "Projekte" then choose "Total Music Meeting" in the menu on the left), and in its first iteration was conceived as an extension of the long-established Parker/Guy/Lytton trio. To each player was added a "technical/musical partner who would treat his sounds electronically". Walter Prati, with whom Evan had worked previously was paired with him, Philipp Wachsmann was paired with Guy (although he also played violin and viola), while Marco Vecchi worked with Lytton. The evidence of their original CD "Toward the Margins" (ECM 1612), recorded in 1996, suggests that these pairings, while constituting the main practise of the Ensemble, did not completely exclude other possibilities.


The development of the EAE since that initial phase consists of a series of pertubations of the existing order by the addition of new personnel. As early as 1995 Evan had invited Lawrence Casserley to join the Ensemble, but it was too late to include him in the 1996 tour and recording, as budgets had already been fixed. It was not until the Dec, 1998 UK tour and recording that he was able to join. In the intervening time they had worked together on Lawrence's development of the Signal Processing Instrument at STEIM in Amsterdam, released the duo CD "Solar Wind" (Touch - TO:35) and given a number of duo performances, as well as a trio with Paul Lytton. As the time of the tour approached, Lawrence proposed to Evan that he would like to take a much more fluid role than the "pairing" approach used so far; he wanted to be able to process any or all of the instrumentalists as the moment required. Evan responded by asking Lawrence if it was technically possible for all the processors to have the same freedom, and Lawrence undertook to devise a system which would make that possible. He created a matrix that would allow four sources (including Philipp Wachsmann as an instrumental source) each to be routed to four processors (Walter, Marco, Lawrence and again Philipp). This stage of the Ensemble is documented on the CD "Drawn Inward" (ECM 1693), where it is clear that the new freedom produces processing possibilities only hinted at in the earlier release. These include "Spouting Bowl", where Lawrence processes all four instruments at once, and several occasions where several processors all focus on one instrument. This latter configuration forms the basis of what has become one of the hallmark formal structures of the Ensemble.


The septet configuration continued until 2002, when the Ensemble was again enlarged, with the addition of pianist Agustí Fernandez and live processor Joel Ryan. At the same time this freed Philipp Wachsmann to function as an instrumentalist, with his own processing. The growing complexity of the Ensemble has also led increasingly to Marco Vecchi concentrating on the final mix and sound projection, with fewer contributions to the processing. Another innovation for the performances in Oslo and Huddersfield was the inclusion of Norwegian video artist Kjell Beorgeengen, who has performed with the EAE on a number of subsequent occasions, using sounds from the Ensemble to trigger his live projections. Finally, these performances marked a sharp break with previous programmes, which had consisted of a number of shorter pieces arising out of rehearsal sessions. "Memory/Vision" (ECM 1852) consisted of a single piece devised by Evan to utilise the capabilities of the Ensemble's members. This piece, commissioned by the Ultima Festival and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and subtitled "Staring into the Time Cone", was inspired by the ideas of Chronotopolgy and Resonance of Charles Arthur Muses. The "score" consists of a number of sections, each centred round a particular "who-processes-who" configuration, with the music fleshed out by the players during rehearsals. Just as these configurations formed the starting point for each piece in the earlier work, now they were determining the shifting forces within a larger structure. The ways in which the Ensemble morphs from one configuration to another are also a significant element.


This configuration, both with and without Kjell's video performance, continued until 2004, when FURT, the electronic duo of Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer, was added to the line-up for the Free RadiCCAls Festival in Glasgow (FURT had already appeared with a subset of the Ensemble in Donaueschingen in 2003 - see below). Once again, the new addition profoundly altered the balance of the group. One of the interesting characteristics of the Ensemble is the way all these processors manage to keep out of each others' way. Listening to the CDs without either hearing the group live, or knowing well the signature styles of the participants, it must be almost impossible to know who is doing what; but it is those individual styles that make it work, and this is a horizontal thing as well as a vertical one. For example, Joel and Lawrence, who have also worked together in Evan's Electro-Acoustic Quartets (see separate page on these), not only tend to occupy different parts of the frequency spectrum (if you hear filligree high sounds it is certainly Lawrence, while deep bass is probably Joel), they also work in different time zones. Joel uses both instantaneous processes, which transform the sound as it happens, and live sampling, which allows the processed sound to be used at any time afterwards. Lawrence's techniques are all based on delay systems, which have finite life. His transformations range from extremely close to, but not actually simultaneous with, the instrumental gesture to some time afterwards, determined by the lengths of the delays. FURT bring another element to the mix: their samples are pre-recorded, so while they are using characteristic material from the players (they arrange to add samples from all the players to their sound library before the performance), it will not be the same material that they have played in this performance. These distictions may be quite subtle, and their are plenty of overlapping elements, but they define different ways of thinking that are a crucial element in the work of the group. FURT also bring a special dynamic through the unique way in which they inflect and articulate their material, which is a complement to the different gestural inputs of Joel, Walter and Lawrence, and a major addition to the group's sound.

Evan also had a new innovation in the structure of the new piece "The Eleventh Hour" (ECM 1924). He defined a number of sections, as in "Memory/Vision", but the order of events was left indeterminate until the actual performance, when pre-arranged signs from Evan indicated which section would come next. The new piece, commissioned by the CCA, at only a little over fifty minutes, left room for one of the other performances of the festival (of which more below). "Shadow Play" is one of the Ensemble's classic "all-on-one" performances, with Evan processed by Lawrence, Joel, Walter and Marco.


The next development of the Ensemble was introduced at the 2007 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, when another new commission, "The Moment's Energy" (ECM 2066) was performed and recorded. This version of the Ensemble is pictured below:

The Evan Parker Electroacoustic Ensemble at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, 17 November, 2007. Left to right: Agustí Fernández - piano, prepared piano; Peter Evans - trumpet, piccolo trumpet; Lawrence Casserley - signal processing instrument; Ned Rothenberg - clarinet, bass clarinet, shakuhachi; Ko Ishikawa - shô; Joel Ryan - sample and signal processing; Evan Parker - soprano saxophone; Paul Lytton - percussion, live electronics; Walter Prati - computer processing; Philipp Wachsmann - violin, live electronics; Richard Barrett - live electronics; Paul Obermayer - live electronics; Barry Guy - double-bass. Marco Vecchi is out of the picture at the mixing desk. Photo by Caroline Forbes.


In May, 2010 the Huddersfield 2007 version of the Ensemble undertook a ten day tour in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, which included three performances of "The Moment's Energy" and six evenings of "breakout" groups featuring a wide mix of duos, trios and larger groups drawn from the available personnel (full details below). Recordings of some of these smaller groups were released in 2012 on psi - "Hasselt", psi 12.03.

In August, 2010 an even larger version of the group, adding Aleks Kolkowski, Ikue Mori, John Russell and Peter van Bergen to the previous line-up, appeared at the Gulbenkian Foundation's Jazz em Agosto festival in Lisbon.


This largest version of the EAE came together again (with the exception that Ko Ishikawa was unavailable, so Okkyung Lee performed instead) in November at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. A new piece created especially for this group was performed, and recorded for subsequent release.

A number of subsets of the Ensemble have performed in different contexts, and sometimes smaller versions have appeared. One strand of this are the various Evan Parker Electroacoustic Quartets; these have a page of their own.

Some other examples are:

1 April, 2000 - Jazzatelier, Ulrichsberg - Evan, Paul, Lawrence, Walter and Marco

18 October, 2003 - Donaueschinger Musiktage - Evan, Paul, Barry, Lawrence, Walter, Marco and FURT - Evan Parker's "SET for Lynn Margulis" (psi 09.09)

3 February, 2005 - Parker-Guy-Lytton, FURT plus Joel Ryan project, "ear we are" festival in Biel, Switzerland

Other examples include Paul Lytton's and Philipp Wachsmann's duo CD on ECM "Some Other Season" (ECM 1662) and Lawrence Casserley's and Adam Linson's duo CD on Evan's psi label "Integument" (psi 09.03). Evan, in his notes for Free RadiCCAls 2004, also includes his duo CD wtih Lawrence "Solar Wind" (Touch TO:35) and the trio CD "Dividuality" (Maya MCD0101) with Barry and Lawrence, and performances with Joel and Kjell as part of the "evolutionary context" of the Ensemble. No doubt there are others.

Free RadiCCAls festival at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow - 2000, 2002, 2004

While this festival was not specifically about the EAE, it involved members of the Ensemble and was bound up with Evan's developing ideas.

28 April, 2000 to 7 May, 2000 - CCA, Glasgow

October, 2002 - CCA, Glasgow

3-6 November, 2004 - Free RadiCCAls Festival, CCA, Glasgow

3 Nov - Joel Ryan - Solo Electronics

- Adam Linson - Solo Bass with his own computer Processing

- Adam Linson, Joel Ryan - Duo

- Paul Lytton - Percussion and Live Electronics, Walter Prati - Computer Interactive, Lawrence Casserley - Signal Processing Instrument and Marco Vecchi - Sound Projection and Live Electronics

- Philipp Wachsmann - Solo Violin with Live Electronics

- Evan Parker with FURT (Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer)

4 Nov - Joel Ryan - Solo Live Processing of Prior Recordings and Samples

- Agustí Fernández - Piano with Lawrence Casserley - SPI and Joel Ryan - Live Processing

- Evan Parker, Philipp Wachsmann, Adam Linson and Paul Lytton

- Lawrence Casserley - Solo SPI, Voice, Percussion

- Philipp Wachsmann, Paul Lytton - Duo

- Adam Linson, Walter Prati - Duo

- Agustí Fernandez and FURT

5 Nov - Joel Ryan - Solo

- Agustí Fernández - Solo


- Agustí Fernández, Philipp Wachsmann, Adam Linson and Paul Lytton

- Evan Parker with Walter Prati, Lawrence Casserley, Joel Ryan and Marco Vecchi ("Shadow Play")

6 Nov, afternoon "Memory/Vision" - Ensemble (Oslo version) with Kjell Beorgeengen

6 Nov, evening "The Eleventh Hour" - Full ensemble including FURT

Complete list of EAE appearances

(I am awaiting details of the events that happened before I joined)

December, 1998 - UK Tour

4-5 Dec - Recording at Gateway Studios - "Drawn Inward" (ECM 1693)

8-9 Dec - CCA, Glasgow (2 performances)

11 Dec - The Greenroom, Manchester

12 Dec - Mac, Birmingham

13 Dec - ICA, London (2 performances)

14 Dec - Arnolfini, Bristol

Personnel: EP, BG, PL, PW, LC, WP, MV

11 Nov, 1999 - Sallis-Benney Theatre, Brighton - Festival to mark the 25th Anniversary of ECM

Personnel: as 1998 plus special guest Kenny Wheeler

8 April, 2000 - Basel - Taktlos Festival

9 April, 2000 - Zurich - Taktlos Festival

Personnel - as 1998

October, 2002 - Oslo - Ultima Festival

4-5 Oct - Rehearse/Record - "Memory/Vision" (ECM 1852)

6 Oct - performance at Norges Musikkhøgskole

Personnel: EP, BG, AF, PL, PW, LC, JR, WP, MV, KB

23 Nov, 2002 - Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield - Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Personnel: as Oslo

4 Oct, 2003 - Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento, Rovereto - Transart Festival

Personnel: as Oslo

20 March, 2004 - CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona

Personnel: as Oslo

27 May, 2004 - Theatre Carlos Alberto, Oporto

Personnel: as Oslo

November, 2004 - CCA, Glasgow - Free RadiCCAls Festival (see above for full details)

4-6 Nov - Rehearse/Record "The Eleventh Hour" (ECM 1924)

6 Nov - Two performances

Personnel: EP, AL, AF, PL, PW, LC, JR, WP, MV, KB + FURT (RB & PO)

17 November, 2006 - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London - London Jazz Festival

Personnel: as Glasgow, except JE in place of BG

10/5/2007 - Stadtgarten, Köln - Köln Triennale

Personnel: as Oslo, except AL in place of BG, and not KB

17/11/2007 - Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield - Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Rehearse/Record - "The Moment's Energy" (ECM 2066)

Personnel: EP, PE, KI, NR, PW, AF, BG, PL, LC, JR, WP, RB, PO, MV

May, 2010 - European Tour

13/05/10 - Stadtgarten, Köln - Groups

14/05/10 - Klaus von Bismark Saal, WDR, Köln - "The Moment's Energy"

15/05/10 - Grand Theatre, Groningen - Groups 1

16/05/10 - Grand Theatre, Groningen - Groups 2

17/05/10 - Bimhuis, Amsterdam - Groups

18/05/10 - Grote Zaal, Muziekgebauw, Amsterdam - "The Moment's Energy"

19/05/10 - Loos Foundation, Den Haag - Groups

21/05/10 - Kunstencentrum BELGIE, Hasselt - Groups

22/05/10 - Kunstencentrum BELGIE, Hasselt - "The Moment's Energy"

Personnel: As Huddersfield, 2007, except Hasselt - PvB instead of PW

8 August, 2010 - Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon - Jazz em Agosto

Personel: As Huddersfield, 2007 plus AK, IM, JR and PvB

8 August, 2011 - Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Personel: As Lisbon, except OL instead of KI

Complete Discography

Toward the Margins - Recorded May, 1996 - Gateway Studios, London

Personnel: EP, BG, PL, PW, WP, MV

Released 1997 - ECM New Series 1612

Includes detailed liner notes on the origins of the Ensemble by Steve Lake

Drawn Inward - Recorded 4-5 December, 1998 - Gateway Studios, London

Personnel: EP, PW, BG, PL, LC, WP, MV

Released 1999, ECM 1693

Includes detailed liner notes by Simon Emmerson

Memory / Vision - Recorded 4-6 October, 2002 - Norges Musikkhøgskole, Oslo

Personnel: EP, PW, AF, BG, PL, LC, JR, WP, MV

Released 2003, ECM 1852

The Eleventh Hour - Recorded 4-6 november, 2004 - Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow

Personnel: EP, PW, PL, AF, AL, LC, JR, WP, RB, PO, MV

Released 2005, ECM 1924

The Moment's Energy - Recorded 16-17 November, 2007 - Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Personnel: EP, PE, KI, NR, PW, AF, BG, PL, LC, JR, WP, RB, PO, MV

Released 2009 - ECM 2066

Hasselt - Recorded 21-22 May, 2010 - Kunstencentrum BELGIE, Hasselt

Personnel: EP, PE, KI, NR, PvB, AF, BG, PL, LC, JR, WP, RB, PO, MV

Released 2012 - psi 12.03

Personnel List

This list includes all musicians who have ever appeared with the Ensemble - it also lists any variations in their attributions on the CDs.

Barrett, Richard (RB) - Sampling Keyboard, Live Electronics (2004 Onwards)

Beorgeengen, Kjell (KB) - Live Video Processing (on some performances detailed above)

Evans, Peter (PE) - Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet (From 2007)

Guy, Barry (BG) - Double-bass (From 1992)

Casserley, Lawrence (LC) - Live Electronics, Sound Processing, Signal Processing Instrument, Percussion, Voice (From 1998)

Edwards, John (JE) - Double-bass (in place of BG, London, 2006)

Fernández, Agustí (AF) - Piano, Prepared Piano (From 2002)

Ko Ishikawa (KI) - Sho (From 2007)

Kolkowski, Aleks (AK) - Stroh Viola, Wax Cylinders, Musical Saw, etc. (from 2010)

Lee, Okkyung (OL) - Cello (Huddersfield, 2011)

Linson, Adam (AL) - Double-bass (in place of BG - Glasgow, 2004; Köln, 2007; ECM 1924)

Lytton, Paul (PL) - Percussion, (Live) Electronics (From 1992)

Mori, Ikue (IM) - Live Electronics (from 2010)

Obermayer, Paul (PO) - Sampling Keyboard, Live Electronics (From 2004)

Parker, Evan (EP) - Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Khene, Tapes and Samples, Voice (From 1992)

Prati, Walter (WP) - (Live) Electronics, Sound Processing, Computer Processing (From 1992)

Rothenberg, Ned (NR) - Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Shakuhachi (From 2007)

Russell, John (JR) - Guitar, Electric Guitar (from 2010)

Ryan, Joel (JR) - Computer, Sound Processing, Sample and Signal Processing (From 2002)

van Bergen, Peter (PvB) - Ab and Contrabass Clarinets (from 2010)

Vecchi, Marco (MV) - (Live) Electronics, Sound Processing, Sound Projection (From 1992)

Wachsmann, Philipp (PW) - Violin, Viola, (Live) Electronics, Sound Processing (From 1992)

Wheeler, Kenny (KW) - Trumpet, Flugelhorn (Guest Artist - Brighton, 1999)

No discussion of the EAE would be complete without mention of "The Two Steves". Steve Lake has produced all the ECM releases, and his detailed account of the origins of the Ensemble in the liner notes to "Toward the Margins" is almost a manifesto for the group. He also wrote a history of the Ensemble to date in the programme for the 2004 Free RadiCCAls Festival, which may be found here. Steve Lowe has been the recording engineer on all releases except "Memory/Vision" and "Hasselt". The presence of The Two Steves is always a reassuring sign that all the support mechanisms are in place for some serious work to happen.