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Elliott Sharp: Music in the Key of E-sharp

Elliot Sharp

One of the godfathers of the Downtown New York music scene, guitarist-composer Elliott Sharp has been conceiving experimental works for a variety of small and large ensembles over the past 30 years. His output during that time has been prolific. Since moving to New York in 1979, Sharp has performed frequently at cutting-edge clubs like Tonic, Roulette, Location One and the Knitting Factory while also premiering commissioned works at prestigious venues like the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at major concert halls throughout Europe. From dense duets with drummer Samm Bennett and free-improv harpist Zeena Parkins to severe, postpunk playing with his atonal trio Bootstrappers or his rock-tinged power trio Raw Meat to more heady, algorithmically structured pieces for his sprawling Orchestra Carbon, Sharp has maintained a chameleonlike presence on the New York underground. And in spite of being a first-time father at age 56 (with 18-month-old twins), he remains as restlessly creative as ever, continuing to churn out provocative new projects with remarkable regularity.

“All of these different projects come out of what I do when I’m not changing diapers,” he laughs. “I could tour all the time if I wanted to. In fact, I used to tour seven months out of the year. But with the birth of the babies I’m more interested in staying home more because they’re great to hang out with. So you find different solutions.”

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