Monday, January 01, 1990

A Brief History of Nonsequitur

Nonsequitur is a non-profit organization dedicated to the presentation of experimental music and sound art: contemporary classical and post-classic composition, improvisation, electro-acoustic and computer music, minimalism, sound poetry, radio art, sound installations, field recordings, microtonality, invented instruments, historical avant garde, and other unclassifiable hybrid musics.

Nonsequitur was founded in 1989 by Jonathan Scheuer (in NYC) and Steve Peters (then in Santa Fé, NM), who had met while attending the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, where they had both worked with KAOS-fm and OP Magazine. The organization started out as a CD publishing project, releasing a series of compilations called The Aerial, and also the ¿What Next? label for projects by individual artists and specifically themed compilations. We published over 30 releases (see Discography).

In 1992 Steve moved to Albuquerque, NM and opened the Nonsequitur Music Gallery in a downtown storefront. In addition to providing office and warehouse space for the label, the front half of the space was used to show visual art by composers and sound artists. We also began a long and fruitful relationship with the Outpost Performance Space, producing occasional concerts in their intimate venue.

In 1998 we ceased releasing new CD titles, and sold our existing catalog and inventory to O.O. Discs (O.O. has since gone out of business, and our remaining inventory is now available from Pogus Productions). While CDs had become much cheaper and easier to produce, they had become increasingly difficult to sell. At the same time, suitable venues where artists could get paid decently to present this kind of work were disappearing. So we turned our focus to concerts and installations, intensifying our relationship with Outpost and making use of other venues when appropriate. These events occurred on a more-or-less monthly basis.

In 2004 Steve returned to Washington state, bringing the organization to Seattle and resuming our monthly concert series in various rented spaces, often in collaboration with other like-minded organizations. Recognizing the need for a reasonably priced mid-sized venue dedicated to adventurous music, in 2007 Nonsequitur signed a long-term lease to use the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center ten nights per month. Nonsequitur now presents several concerts each month as part of the Wayward Music Series, making the remaining nights in the series available at a subsidized rate to other artists and organizations in the community that share our interests. This unusual cooperative model has proven to fill a vital need for affordable space to present uncompromising non-commercial music, and the series is consistently booked out far in advance.

In 2008, Nonsequitur was honored with a Mayor's Arts Award for our work at the Chapel. In 2009, our "tremendous contribution to Seattle's creative jazz scene" was recognized by Earshot Jazz, for which we received their Golden Ear Award.

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