Western Front’s artists-in-residence program was initiated in 1977 by artist and Western Front co-founder Kate Craig. It remains the heart of our programming today.
The program provides opportunities for local and international artists to pursue new developments in their practices and to produce new work. It focuses on artists working across music, media, time-based visual art, performance, and literature. While in residence, artists are supported with a fee, production budget, and curatorial and technical expertise, and are hosted on-site at Western Front or off-site on location, as required. The number of residencies and their structure and duration are tailored to each individual artist and project.
Many projects produced through our artists-in-residence program are done so in collaboration with partner institutions in Canada and internationally. We also offer audiences opportunities to engage with residents and their work at various stages of a project’s development and presentation.
While our new digital archive is being prepared, you can search past residents at Western Front’s legacy website here.
While in residence at Western Front, Darius Jones will rehearse, perform, and record The Vancouver Suite, a new concert-long composition for strings. Jones began writing The Vancouver Suite during an earlier residency at Western Front in 2019. The work is dedicated to Vancouver’s physical environment, its audiences, and most specifically four of its string players - cellist Peggy Lee, bassist James Meger, and violinists Jesse Zubot and Josh Zubot - who will perform the work alongside the New York-based drummer Gerald Cleaver.
Following this project, Darius Jones will be joined by vocalist Amirtha Kidambi to further develop their duo Angels & Demons. Together Jones and Kidambi perform musical adaptations of cosmological writings by iconic composer and bandleader Sun Ra. The duo formed to honor the intellectual, literary, and spiritual contribution of Sun Ra, as a philosopher and teacher. Dancing between Ra’s prophetic poetic verse, abstract phonemes and syllables, sound, noise, tone, melody and rhythmic interplay, Jones and Kidambi use their unique compositional and improvisatory voices to amplify Ra’s poetry to contemporary audiences.
Darius Jones is a saxophonist and composer based in New York. He embraces individuality and innovation in the tradition of African-American music, and has released a string of diverse recordings featuring music and images evocative of Black Futurism. Jones’ music is a confrontation against apathy and ego, hoping to inspire authenticity that compels us to be better humans. In addition to collaborating with Amirtha Kidambi as the duo Angels and Demons, Jones has collaborated with artists including Gerald Cleaver, Oliver Lake, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, Craig Taborn, Wet Ink Ensemble, Jason Moran, Trevor Dunn, Dave Burrell, Eric Revis, Matthew Shipp, Marshall Allen, Nasheet Waits, Branford Marsalis, Travis Laplante, Fay Victor, Cooper-Moore, Matana Roberts, JD Allen, Matthew Shipp, Nicole Mitchell, Georgia Ann Muldrow, and many more.
Curated by Aram Bajakian. Presented in partnership with Coastal Jazz & Blues Society, and with the support of the Government of Canada and SOCAN Foundation.
While in residence, Amirtha Kidambi will collaborate with Darius Jones to further develop their duo Angels & Demons. Together Jones and Kidambi perform musical adaptations of cosmological writings by iconic composer and bandleader Sun Ra. The duo formed to honor the intellectual, literary, and spiritual contribution of Sun Ra, as a philosopher and teacher. Dancing between Ra’s prophetic poetic verse, abstract phonemes and syllables, sound, noise, tone, melody and rhythmic interplay, Jones and Kidambi use their unique compositional and improvisatory voices to amplify Ra’s poetry to contemporary audiences.
Amirtha Kidambi is a vocalist and composer living in New York. She is invested in the creation and performance of subversive music, from free improvisation and avant-jazz, to experimental bands and new music. Kidambi is also an educator, activist and organizer, informed by anti- racism, decolonization and anti-capitalism, and is co-founder and co-organizer of South Asian Artists in Diaspora and Musicians Against Police Brutality. In addition to collaborating with Darius Jones as the duo Angels & Demons and being the bandleader for Elder One, Kidambi is active in several improvising duos with Luke Stewart, Maria Grand, Matt Evans, and Matteo Liberatore. She is a key collaborator in Mary Halvorson’s sextet Code Girl, in various collaborations with William Parker, and has worked with the late Muhal Richard Abrams and the late Robert Ashley.
Curated by Aram Bajakian. Presented with the support of the Government of Canada and SOCAN Foundation.