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Metasax feature recitals

Metasax Whitewater
UW Whitewater, Wisconsin

April 4, 2011, 7:30pm
with Matt Sintchak, saxophone

Endprint for nine tenor saxophones
That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies for saxophone and Tibetan bowl
Sxratch for Metasax
(dis)Locations for alto and tenor saxophones, computer sound and video
MindCam for snowboard video and Metasax
Anemoi for wind, voices and saxophone
A'aa for lava, electroacoustics and saxophone

The Tank
New York , NY

October 13, 2007, 8pm
with Luc DuBois, InHale, Brian Osborne

Windsketches for two bass flutes and Metasax
That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies for saxophone and percussion
Delta 2 for Metasax
improvisations for video, percussion and Metasax
Split Voices for saxophone and percussion
Sxueak for squeaky toys and computer
and music by Jane Rigler and Luke Dubois

Coast to Coast Tour
with Think Thank

The Stone

New York, NY

October 11, 2007, 8pm
with Morris Palter, percussion; and Think Thank snowboard video

Seattle, WA

September 16, 2007, 8pm
with Morris Palter, percussion; and Think Thank snowboard video

APA Theater
San Diego , California

May 25 and May 26, 2007, 8pm
with Morris Palter, percussion; and Buffy Swallow dance ensemble

Karnatic Lab
De Badcuyp, Amsterdam, Netherlands

March 13, 2007, 8pm
with bass flute performer Ned McGowan and percussionist,

SXrAtch for metasax
That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies


Delta 3



Logos Foundation
Tetrahedron Concert Hall, Ghent, Belgium

March 8, 2007, 8pm
Selmer Paris Metasax
invitation lecture/demo/recital in Selmer Hall

March 6, 2007, 6:30pm

Metasax&DRUMthings, Paris France
at l'OpA Bastille club

June 6, 2006

with Morris Palter, percussion

Longtime collaborator Morris Palter joins me on drums and percussion
and the metasax is reprogrammed as a rhythmic instrument. During my
"Under the hood of Metasaxophone Colossus" UK tour in April, 2005
(see below), Martin Frey, lead singer of the 80s band ABC, came to one
of my events and during the question/answer session he asked about
combining metasax with percussion. Well, Martin, Metasa&DRUMthings
is for you! Check out the Metasax & DRUMthings website for more

SXrAtch for metasax

Incantation S4
for tenor sax and computer
Split Voices
for saxophones and computer sound
Temazcal, by Alverez
and the premiere of Grid1 and Grid2 for metasax and drum kit

This concert also features the Gli Stop DJ ensemble from Marseilles

UMW: Windsketches, Milwaukee
multichannel computer music for metasaxophone, stones, wind, and singing bowls
University of Milwaukee
, Recital Hall
March 10, 2006

Spectral for 60
That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies.
Spring 2005 UK tour
"Under the Hood of
Metasaxophone Colossus"
Metasax in the U.K. :
concerts and lectures: "under the hood of Metasaxophone Colossus"
University of Hull, School of Arts, Scarborough (solo recital and lecture)
April 19-20, 2005
Doncaster College, School of Intermedia and Performance Arts, Doncaster (lecture)
April 21, 2005
BEAST: Birmingham Electro-Acoustic Sound Theater, Birmingham (lecture)
The Metasax and Broken Drum with Morris Palter, percussion
March 22, 23, 2005

S-Morphe-S, S-Trance-S, Delta 2, Windsketch, Incantation S4

solo recital in Switzerland
at the mysterious Grotte du Pertuis built into the cliffs of Fribourg,

June 11, 2005

music for saxophones, electroacoustics, wind, and stones

Windsketch for metasax/wind
for soprano sax/Tibetan bowl
for stones and noise
Incantation S4
for tenor sax and computer
for computer sound

"the mystical evocation of a magician of sonorous spaces" La Liberte, Switzerland
read review

Metasaxophone Colossus CD Release Party!

Gravity Lounge presented a CD release party/concert for “Metasaxophone Colossus.” with Burtner performing music from the new CD with special guests Tim Summers, Rafe Bell and John D’Earth.

Sunday, September 19, 8pm
Gravity Lounge
103 South First Street, Downtown Mall
(434) 977-5590
Tickets $5 in advance, $10 at the door, available at Plan9, Spencers and Gravity Lounge
free refreshments served,
$10 CDs purchased at the show

Disembodied Forms
UMBC Professional Artist Series

UMBC in Baltimore, 9/25/03
Music by Judith Shatin, Christopher Burns and Matthew Burtner

"S-Morphe-S", Matthew Burtner
"Grito del Corazon", Judith Shatin
"(dis)Appearances", Matthew Burtner
"Questions and Fissures", Chris Burns
"S-Trance-S", Matthew Burtner

"This music goes where no other saxophone has gone before"
Baltimore Sun

Morphological Bodies Recital, Pitea, Sweden
Featuring metasaxophone music by Judith Shatin, Chris Burns and Matthew Burtner
11/23/2 Pitea School of Music, Lulea Technology Institute

Solo performance
A complete list of past performances can be found at
Metasaxophone concerts have been presented in Stanford, CA (metasax debut); Oakland, CA; Berkeley, CA; Santa Cruz, CA; Barcelona, Spain;
Venice, Italy; Florence, Italy; Brattislava, Slovakia; Bergen, Norway; Bodo, Norway; Havana, Cuba; Dublin, Ireland; Richmond, VA Portland, OR; Kansas City, MO; Charlottesville, VA; Alliance, OH; Pitea, Sweden; Baltimore, MD; Paris, France; Wilwawkee, MN; and in the U.K.
For bookings, contact

Click any image for a high-res publish quality version. Photos by Peter Swendsen. The sculpture in the third image is "Study for Solo Saxophone". All other images show the metasax with electric saxophone system mounted.

Group performance
The Metasaxophone Ensemble is a saxophone collective, formed in 2000 and dedicated to the performance of experimental large saxophone ensemble works.
The group had its debut performance on March 19, 2000 in San Francisco on the Other Minds/Opus 415 New Music Marathon at the Theater Artaud, 8:30 pm. The ensemble performed Portals of Distortion for nine tenor saxophones featuring Bay Area saxophonists John Purves, James Garrison, Colin Stetson, Michael Ferriell Zbyszynski, Gary Scavone, Nathan Kline, Jim Ryan, Aaron Bennett, and Matthew Burtner. Claire Schneeberger conducted. A review of the festival by Mark Alburger in 21st Century Music said that Portals of Distortion was "a monumental block of sound that seemed impervious to destruction." It has been reconstructed in various forms for performances of large ensemble works.
Claire Schneeberger conducting the Metasaxophone Ensemble in performance of Portals of Distortion for the Opus 415 New Music Marathon, San Francisco
John Sampen conducting his saxophone ensemble in performance of Portals of Distortion for the BGSU New Music Festival, Bowling Green, OH

Performing S-Trance-S in Old Cabell Hall, UVa with bass ensemble. Click any image for close-up. Photos byJohn Edwin Mason.

Other photos: first two with snow and ice in Alaska, third photo from NIME 2002, Dublin. Click any image for close-up.

Metasaxophone in the Press!

** Interview with OkaySamurai Multimedia **
"Iper-Sassofono" in the Italian Neural Magazine

Saxophone Journal, January/February, 2005
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus by Paul Wagner (this is an interesting and long review so please see the Saxophone Journal for the full text)
"The music on this CD is as mysterious and fascinating as the instrument itself...Matthew Burtner has out done himself with this CD and the Metasaxophone. It is a new instrument with new and exciting textures for the saxophone world. His innovative music will stimulate the listener's imagination. We can almost equate this CD to the mind blowing experience in 2001 Space Odyssey when the hero enters the monolith and the audience was treated to a great light show. Except in this case we are given a sound show that is equally mind blowing. From the singing bowl to the nine acoustic tenor saxophones there is nothing here that is humdrum, routine or expected. This CD will open the window to your imagination. Don't let this CD go by without hearing it at least a few dozen times."
link to the Saxophone Journal website

The Philler , Insound, November 2004
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus by Tom Schulte
The title is a nod to the great saxophonist Sonny Rollins, but Burtner's saxophone gives us whistles and drones more than the round tones and melodies Rollins delivered on that excellent jazz primer Saxophone Colossus. Burtner here treats the ear more to improvisation on the use and shape of the sax perhaps more so than improvisations on a melody. "S-Morphe-S" is landscape-wide palette of tone coloring done with "singing bowl soprano saxophone hybrid computer instrument." The 9-minute piece is disembodied and floating."
link to the Philler's website

Scram Magazine, Issue No20, Hollywood, CA, November 2004
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus by Kim Cooper
"If Burtner’s saxes were flesh, they’d be bionic: wired for feedback loops and computerized programs aping Tibetan prayer bowls and imaginary strings. “Burtner explores the outer edges of live performance potential, and makes some terrifically weird sounds along the way.
link to Scram magazine website

Metamorphic Journeyman Online Magazine, August 2004
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus
"For all the noise that makes up the core of this music, it is not only a thoroughly fascinating listening experience, but a curiously relaxing one - heck! when he's not building sonic monstrosities that could tear down the walls on Skull Island with one fell swoop, there are plenty of long moments here when his sound might blend well with the friction-less glistening glide of VIDNA OBMANA. When it does make the rare journey into rhythmic, full-frontal music, it uses all the power it can muster, creating an all-out barrage of rhythmic drumming spangled with a more traditional sax approach. One long piece here manages to be immensely busy, yet not so complex or abrasive as not to be easy to relax while listening to. Another piece pushes the edges into the discordant extremities of Japanese Noise - a cavorting angry discord which almost rivals ZORN's abrasive powerhouse approach. This is a complex album which ranges from one extreme to the other, yet always manages to be, well, extreme.
link to the text of the complete review

A & S Online,
August, 2004, Charlottesville, VA
Burtner Unites Saxophone, Computer: Latest CD Release Introduces New Instrument, by Ruth Hart
"...mesmerizing, enchanting, and perhaps most importantly, completely original..."
link to the complete article online

Vital Weekly ,
July, 2004, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus
"So my love of the saxophone is virtually non-existent, what would I think of Burtner's CD? Pun intended, but it blew me away. The saxophone is indeed there to be recognized, but there is so much more happening, from the singing bowl like textures of the opening piece 'S-Morphe-S' to the walls of feedback of 'Delta' and the creepy dark textures of 'S-Trance-S'.”
link to the complete review text

Neural, Italian Magazine for Hacktivism, eMusic and Digital Art, 6/24/2004, Milan, Italy
"The Metasaxophone Project by Matthew Burtner ... amplifies the performer’s sensibilities. ... This equipped saxophone mutation becomes an electronic prosthesis allowing the performer to extensively amplify the normal functionalities of the instrument. This kind of mutation is destined to be a model for other instruments in the future. "
read the complete review on line Multimedia, 6/2004,

Interview by Dave Werner
read the complete interview on line

San Francisco Weekly: "Sound and Vision: Without the inventions of Max Matthews, we wouldn't have CDs, MP3s, techno -- or much more" by Darren Keast


The complete metasaxophone music has been recorded and published by INNOVA Records. Two CDs are currently available. Recordings can be purchased from Tower Records and other record stores, the Electronic Music Foundation, or directly from Innova at a discounted price. The albums are available for download at .

Portals of Distortion
Innova Records, #512, 1999
Metasaxophone Colossus
Innova Records, #620, 2004

Other publications related to the metasaxophone

The WIRE Tapper 12, The WIRE:
Delta 2
London, UK, 2004

Computer Music Journal DVD: Noisegate 67
MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2003

Leonardo Music Journal Electronic Almanc
Recursive Audio Systems: Acoustic Feedback in Composition (pdf)
Authors: Chris Burns and Matthew Burtner
MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2004

Organized Sound Journal
The Metasaxophone: Concept, Implementation and Mapping Strategies for a New Computer Music Instrument (pdf)
Author: Matthew Burtner
MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2003

Journal of New Music Research
The Exbow Metasax: Compositional Applications of Bowed String Physical Models Using Instrument Controller Substitution (pdf)
Authors: Matthew Burtner and Stefania Serafin
Swets and Zeitlinger, Netherlands, 2002

International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) 2002 Proceedings
Design of an Extended Saxophone Computer Music Controller
Author: Matthew Burtner
Gottenburg , Sweden, 2002.

New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) 2002 Proceedings
Noisegate 67 for Metasaxophone
Author: Matthew Burtner
Dublin, Ireland, 2002

Digital Audio Effects (DAFX) 2001 Conference Proceedings
Expressive Controllers for String Physical Models
Limerick, Ireland,2001

International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) 2001 Proceedings
Real Time Extended Physical Models for the Composer and Performer

Authors: Matthew Burtner and Stefania Serafin
Havana, Cuba, 2001

International Society for Musical Acoustics (ISMA) Conference Proceedings
Instrument Controller Substitution Using Physical Models

Authors: Matthew Burtner and Stefania Serafin
Perugia, Italy ,2001

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