The Subtropics Festival is an experimental sound festival that has taken place every two years in Miami since 1989. This year, it offers a nice mix of experimental music concerts, sound installations, mixed media events, and a sound art symposium in collaboration with an assortment of organizations. These include the FIU School of Music, ArtCenter/South Florida, Spectacular Sound, FETA, New Music Miami, SoBe Arts, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, and Miami Beach Cinematheque. It features avant-garde jazz musician, Anthony Braxton, composers Alvin Curran, David Dunn, and Paula Matthusen, as well as local sound artist Rene Barge. It runs through March 17.
There is nothing in existence like this festival in NYC. Gustavo Matamoros, artistic director of the festival, describes it as “a chameleon; adapting to the environment of the local community’s need for sound.” When asked by the Miami New Times on how he sees this festival evolving, he states “Our idea is that maybe this becomes more like a bigger event that involves a larger portion of the community, we’re staging an open community forum, we’d like to discuss what sound art and experimental music is and what it means to have it in the community and what it means for the future of the festival.”
On March 3rd, The F.L.E.A. (FIU Laptop & Electronic Arts) Ensemble, headed by Professor Dr. Jacob Sudol, participated in the Subtropics Symposium entitled, ” Redrawing the accoustical public space”. There, they performed the music of Alvin Lucier, considered one of the most important composers of experimental music and sound of the second half of the twentieth century. Lucier himself visited the festival in 1993. Matamoros, through this festival, hopes to utilize space in Miami in the style of Lucier.
Visit the current installation recreated by F.L.E.A. of Lucier’s Music on a Long Thin Wire up in the 924 Lincoln Road section of the ArtCenter. You might just find something you weren’t looking for.
Read a review from WLRN on “Reasons Why You Should Go to Subtropics Experimental Music Festival”