(the) co-incidence festival

an experimental music gathering in Somerville, MA

the co-incidence festival is a gathering of experimental composer-performers for six days hosted by Non-Event at Washington Street Gallery in Somerville, MA.

This project is based on an expanded view of what constitutes art, music, and the traditional concert. Following the example of the revolutionary arts community Black Mountain College, it will bring together a group of radical artists operating in the boundary-zones of their practice to take part in a festival curated as ‘social sculpture.’ Reflecting the values of experimental music, co-incidence will be allowed to grow organically, strongly influenced by the artists who attend: the directors simply provide a time, space, and loose framework. There will be encouraged but not required peer-to-peer meetings between artists in lieu of official lessons, the people attending will not be labeled as student or faculty.

The festival is tuition free. Housing and food are not provided (besides a welcome dinner, and all meals on Sunday the 29th). To offset this cost, we are giving a $400 stipend to each guest artist. We estimate housing and food costs to be between $500 and $600. Upon acceptance, we will assist as possible in finding accommodations and providing recommendation letters for grants.

We are accepting both domestic and international applications, and will consider applicants at any point in their career.

Please see a description of our collaborators, the application, and further details below.

If you have any questions, please email us at: coincidence.festival@gmail.com.


  • Six Guest Artists, (to be) determined via application

  • One Resident Artist, determined via Directors' invitation: TBA

  • Two Co-Directors: Aaron Foster Bresley and Luke Martin

  • The Community: this festival is entirely open-door. Members of the community are welcome to join us for meals, workshops, discussions, performances, rehearsals, etc.


Hosted by


Washington St. is home to 20 artists who work in a broad range of media. From sculpture to paper cutting, painting to book binding and everything in between - the collaborative houses a cornucopia of creatives from many different backgrounds. With its own photo lab, Washington St. also hosts photography members who share the darkroom and photo studio.​ Additionally, Washington St. has served for many years as an experimental music venue, directed by composer/performers Michael Rosenstein, Jesse Collins, and Morgan Evans-Weiler.​


Pictures of the space.

In Partnership with

Non event

Non-Event is a Boston-based concert series devoted to the presentation of the finest in experimental, abstract, improvised, and new music from New England and around the world. Founded in 2001, Non-Event has presented over 260 concerts in and around Boston in a wide variety of venues from coffee shops, galleries, and loft spaces to former movie palaces, university lecture halls, museums, night clubs, 19th-century ballrooms, a Victorian-era pumping station, and inside Boston's iconic City Hall. In addition to working with numerous venues and organizations over the past 15 years, Non-Event organizes a longstanding series of informal monthly coffee house concerts featuring local musicians and sound artists, held at Café Fixe in Brookline and made possible in part by the Brookline Commission for the Arts.


With cocoa

Born in Buffalo in 1961, Michael Pisaro is a composer and guitarist, a member of the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble and founder and director of the Experimental Music Workshop, Calarts.

His work is frequently performed in the U.S. and in Europe, in music festivals and in many smaller venues.

It has been selected twice by the ISCM jury for performance at World Music Days festivals (Copenhagen,1996; Manchester, 1998) and has also been part of festivals in Hong Kong (ICMC, 1998), Vienna (Wien Modern,1997), Aspen (1991), London (Cutting Edge, 2007), Glasgow (INSTAL 2009), Huddersfield (2009), Chicago (New Music Chicago, 1990, 1991) and elsewhere.

He has had extended composer residencies in Germany (Künstlerhof Schreyahn, Dortmund University), Switzerland (Forumclaque/Baden), Israel (Miskenot Sha'ananmim), Greece (EarTalk) and in the U.S. (Birch Creek Music Festival, Wisconsin).

Concert length portraits of his music have been given in Munich, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, Vienna, Merano (Italy), Brussels, New York, Curitiba (Brazil), Amsterdam, London, Tokyo, Austin, Berlin, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Zürich, Cologne, Aarau (Switzerland), and elsewhere.

He is a Foundation for Contemporary Arts, 2005 and 2006 Grant Recipient.

Most of his music of the last several years is published by Edition Wandelweiser (Germany).


Ben Levinson is a musician and writer based in Los Angeles. His primary musical project is California's Bellow through which he uses the world of pop music to explore composition, performance, personality, and brand. He regularly contributes reviews and features to the online magazine Tiny Mix Tapes and has self-released three chapbooks of poetry including his latest little collisions. He has never had a broken bone.


Carolyn Chen has made music for supermarket, demolition district, and the dark. Her work reconfigures the everyday to retune habits of our ears through sound, text, light, image, and movement. For a decade she has studied the guqin, the Chinese 7-string zither traditionally played for private meditation in nature, which has inspired her thinking on listening and social space. Recent projects include a a story for ASL interpreter strung to chimes at a distance and commissions for Wild Rumpus and Klangforum Wien. The work has been presented in 22 countries and described by The New York Times as “the evening’s most consistently alluring … a quiet but lush meditation.” It has been supported and commissioned by impuls, MATA, Fulbright Foundation, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, Stanford University Sudler Prize, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, American Composers Forum, ASCAP, Emory Planetarium, Composers Conference at Wellesley, and Machine Project at the Hammer Museum. Recordings are available on Perishable, the wulf., Quakebasket, and Play It Forward. She earned a PhD in music from UC San Diego, and an MA in Modern Thought and Literature and BA in music from Stanford University, with an honors thesis on free improvisation and radical politics. 


Chris Williams’ music is elemental and monolithic, work as ‘elegant in the making as in the made’. Ideas of growth and form, emergence, drift and self-similarity, appropriated from biology, in addition to precepts which have resonance across art-forms, science, and nature like colour, line, shape, pattern and process inform and permeate his music. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently called Chris Williams’ music a “a lovely shade of wistful”, while the Daily Review noted it as “brilliantly unsettling music”.

Chris is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and completed a Master of Philosophy in composition, with Robert Saxton, at the University of Oxford. In 2012 Chris was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, where his work ‘San-Shih-Fan’ was premiered.


Boston native Cindy Giron is a composer, pianist, educator and contemporary performer currently based in the Netherlands.  She began her musical studies at New England Conservatory's Preparatory School, holds a Bachelors of Music from Manhattan School of Music, a masters in Music Theory & Composition from NYU Steinhardt, and is currently pursuing her second masters degree in Music Composition and Practice-Based Research with a minor in Contemporary Piano Performance at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Intrigued by quiet spaces, nature, breath, holistic practices and collaborations, Cindy’s artistic expressions encompass a variety of forms be it solo, chamber and orchestral works, along with installation environments.


Celebrated for her “terrifying dynamic range,” cleanliness of sound, as well as unique sensitivity and ability to sculpt her performance for the acoustics of a space, Elizabeth A. Baker is a dramatic performer with an honest, near psychic connection to music, which resounds with audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds. As a creator, her understanding of sonic space from organic intuition and studies in music production, pair with a unique eclectic voice, making for a spatial and auditory experience of music. Eschewing the collection of traditional titles that describe single elements of her body of work, Elizabeth refers to herself as a “New Renaissance Artist” that embraces a constant stream of change and rebirth in practice, which expands into a variety of media, chiefly an exploration of how the sonic world can be manipulated to personify a variety of philosophies and principles both tangible as well as intangible


Mike Bullock is a composer, intermedia artist, and writer based in Brooklyn and Philadelphia. His work encompasses improvisation, electroacoustic composition, modular synthesis, intermedia installation, contrabass and bass guitar, porcelain making, illustration, and critical writing.

Bullock has been performing electroacoustic improvised music since the mid 90s and has performed across the US and in Europe, at venues such as Fylkingen in Stockholm, Sweden; Instants Chavirés in Paris; Café OTO in London; Experimental Intermedia and ISSUE Project Room in New York City; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; and EMPAC in Troy, NY. In June 2015, Bullock received a Performance Grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

A graduate of Princeton University and The New England Conservatory of Music, Mike received his PhD in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In his dissertation he coined the term Self-idiomatic to describe music born at the nexus of material contingency and the practitioner’s management of unpredictability within a range of practical control. Self-idiomatic music framescontemporary movements in improvised music not simply as a contradiction of received musical structures, but as a continuous creative interchange between the individual and their community. During his time at RPI, Bullock studied and recorded with pioneering electronic composer Pauline Oliveros. As an undergraduate at Princeton, Bullock studied composition and computer music with Paul Lansky and Steve Mackey. His Masters work at New England Conservatory gave him the opportunity to learn from legendary musicians and improvisers such as Ran Blake, Paul Bley, Joe Maneri, and master bassist Cecil McBee.  Bullock is a lecturer in sound in the arts at The New School in New York City.

Mike has taught and lectured on field recording and improvisation at Hautes Écoles des Arts du Rhîn (Mulhouse, France), The Pratt Institute, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Hello. My name is Sarah. I'm black. I'm a girl, too. I steal objects and make use of them. I like to think too hard about: failure, temporal perception, memory, noise, statistics, sports, sameness, difference, territorialization, measurements, and violence—being black, being a girl, too.


Over coffee in Maine in the Summer of 2015, Luke and Aaron had a far too grandiose idea: "let's do our own music festival!" (Un)fortunately, they don't know when to stop. And here we are, with the co-incidence festival which kicked off it's first season in January 2017. We wanted to fill a perceived gap in support for experimental composer/performers in the U.S. with a music festival focused on experimental music and built as an experimental composer might build a piece.

You can check out our article in the Boston Globe here .

Please feel free to reach out: coincidence.festival@gmail.com

With generous support from: