Active Listening Workshop with Thollem McDonas

Active Listening Workshop with Thollem McDonas at Gold Lion Arts

2733 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95818 916 281-0400

Sunday, July 20th 1:00 P.M.

Sliding 20$ – 40$ No one turned away please RSVP to

Thollem often leads large ensemble and collaboration clinics which explore group collaboration, large ensemble improvisation (structured, conducted and free), egalitarian group dynamics, consensus decision-making, and communication skills. Discussions can include the implications of improvisation, collaboration and active listening from everyday life to global political dynamics. It is open to anyone with these genuine interests regardless of age, language skills, perceived artistic abilities.

As well as traditional musical instruments and voices, the workshop may also incorporate found objects and objects that already naturally exist in the space, the acoustical properties of the space and everything possible that we discover as an ensemble throughout the process.

Overall, the emphasis is not necessarily on individual creativity but on collaboration with others. This workshop encourages participation by anyone regardless of their musical experience, age, or language. Most importantly, the workshop develops organically from the input of the participants, a natural progression, a structured improvisation of its own.Participants will leave the workshop with a greater ability to work collaboratively with others and to see their own ideas and projects through to their full realization. This practicum is specifically designed to empower individuals long after it has finished and is beneficial for interdisciplinary artists and educators across the board.

Bio: Thollem has been touring perpetually for 7 years, and has released 35 albums of his own and in collaboration with others on 15 different vanguard labels. A brief cross-section of his many collaborations include members of The Stooges, The Minutemen, Deerhoof, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wilco, Can, Unwound and many more. Some of his many projects include Tsigoti, The Hand To Man Band, Bad News From Houston. He is the founding member of the Estamos Ensemble, a Mexican-American cross-border ensemble for musical exchange. As a writer, his essay, “ Deep listening and the Peripatetic Life of an Improvising Musician” was written specifically for An Anthology of Essays on Deep Listening (Deep Listening Institute, 2012) in honor of Pauline Oliveros’ 80th birthday and he is a regular columnist in Full Moon Magazine (Prague), a print publication dedicated to independent music. His music is diverse, with each album and every concert exploring a variety of approaches and paths, resulting in dramatically new and different outcomes. He recently performed in Mathew Barney and Jonathan Beppler’s newest film, “River of Fundament.”

“Thollem’s ability to focus on and orchestrate the range of each participant’s abilities into a creative work that raises the quality of the whole, is the result of his years of tireless, rigorous international experimentation.” – Dr. Hafez Modirzadeh, SFSU


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