Brett Sroka is a composer, sound artist and musician working across the spheres of improvisations, technology and contemporary art. He has released six records of original music, with his electro-acoustic jazz trio, Ergo, and experimental duo Cherubim. His installations and collaborations have been presented at the New Museum in downtown Manhattan, the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice, Italy and the Sonic Circuits Festival in Washington D.C. He presently lives in Brooklyn, NY and is the Cultural Program Curator at Lévy Gorvy Gallery in New York City.
His first record, Hearsay (from Fresh Sound - New Talent Records 2001) featured then newcomers Jason Moran, Avishai Cohen and Eric Harland. Beginning as a jazz trombonist engendered an outsider's perspective on the idiom, leading to an interest in electronic sound. He formed the electro-acoustic jazz trio Ergo in 2004, evolving over several years, their performances connected these two lines, seeking an organic, improvisational approach to computer music. Ergo's fourth release on Cuneiform Records, As subtle as tomorrow (2016), was a suite of acoustic compositions digitally transformed in real-time into electronic reflections of themselves.
This liminality of electro-acoustic sound-the transition between acoustic and electronic sonic phenomena-is a recurring theme.
In a collaboration with Japanese experimental guitarist Yuko Pepe Shimizu, they processed each others instruments into a hazy style they named melodronoise. In 2012, the duo released, "The Joyful Shrieks of the Cherubim" on Zeromoon Records.
Sine Qua Non is a sound installation that folds live samples back into an improvisation, storing them to build a generative abstraction of the performance that continues to evolve as an installation. It was premiered at Roulette in Brooklyn in 2014, and then later recreated in 2015 at Alfred University's Institute of Electronic Arts, and Fridman Gallery in lower Manhattan.
During an Arteles Centre residency in Finland in 2015, Sroka began a collaboration with Rauno Nieminen, a renowned luthier and virtuoso of medieval instruments, that traverses ancient and digital technologies. They recently reprised this at the Galway Jazz Festival in 2017.
Sroka initiated the role of Cultural Program Curator at Lévy Gorvy Gallery in New York City in 2015, where he programs music and dance, historically or conceptually related to the gallery's exhibitions; such as Jason Moran reprising his collaboration with conceptual artist Adrian Piper, Sandbox Percussion reflecting the minimalist forms of sculptor Joel Shapiro, or Peter Evans leading an expansive ensemble to musically portray the unlikely meeting of Edgard Varese and Charlie Parker, who respectively had important influence on the lives of abstract expressionist painters Zao Wou-Ki and Willem De Kooning.
This immersion in modern and contemporary art has lead to a multidisciplinary direction in his practice, leading to a project investigating the history, science and politics of equal temperament in western music. Drawing on the natural forms of the harmonic series, the invention of the piano, Glenn Gould and Rosalyn Tureck's intense devotion to Bach, Sol Lewitt's inspiration in the variations of Bach, and the number thirteen as a symbol of transcendence, Sroka is working on a broader conceptual body of work bridging his interests in music, sound, video and sculpture.