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Katt Hernandez (born May 16, 1974) is a violinist living in Stockholm, Sweden, with strong connections to Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland. Katt's violin playing employs many virtuosic extended techniques, as well as microtones. Her influences range a vast gamut of music, and her own work is entirely improvised. She has been noted for her unique playing in many publications and on-line review sites, including Cadence Magazine, Signal to Noise, Arthur, and All About Jazz.
As a teenager, Hernandez attended Community High School, an alternative, experimental school in her hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a high school student, she played in the Michigan Youth Symphony and participated in the voluntary Contemporary Improvisation Workshop held by a graduate student for the youth orchestra. She was admitted to the University of Michigan in 1992, and was among the first to graduate from the school with a degree in improvised music. There she worked extensively with the Creative Arts Orchestra with her mentor Ed Sarath. She also studied composition with George Balch Wilson and Evan Chambers, as well as jazz with Donald Walden. She also played in several jazz groups in the area and collaborated with Dr. Arwulf Arwulf and Frank Pahl.
She arrived in Boston in 1997 and quickly became a part of the city's rich landscape of improvised music. She regularly sat in on classes and sessions at the New England Conservatory in her first years in town, where she met her next mentor, Joe Maneri. There she also began her long collaboration with pianist and accordion player Jonathan Vincent. She began working extensively with performance artists, dancers, and video artists as improvisers. In addition to performances in the city's ever-dwindling supply of underground art-spaces, as well as appearances as a guest artist at more prominent venues, she began to participate in flamboyant street theater antics.
In her thirteen years on the east coast, she appeared as a performer throughout the Boston improvised music scene weekly, and in many venues along the east coast. She has also appeared on a number of festivals of improvised and experimental music, including High Zero, Autumn Uprising, Creative Soundspace, Montreaux-Detroit Jazz, Boston CyberArts and Improvised and Otherwise. She has appeared in performance with Joe Maneri, Joe Morris, Steve Norton, Matt Samolis, Hans Rickheit, Jack Wright, Zack Fuller, Oolanda Denosky-Smart, Saul Levine, Nicole Bindler, Andrew Neumann, Eric Rosenthal, Walter Horn, Dave Gross, Allysa Cardone, Tatsuya Nakatani, James Coleman, John Voight, Joe Burgio, Walter Wright, Dan DeChellis, John Berndt, Adam James Wilson, and Marc Bison.
In addition to her extensive work as an improviser, Katt Hernandez has also appeared with the Eurasia Ensemble, Los Bilbilicos, and various Greek and Turkish traditional musicians. She has brought the influence of Arabic and Balkan music to her own work. She has worked on early jazz, old time, and parlor treacle with Matt Samolis, a free improviser – in their duo Lindy's Radio. They played music from before 1937 before the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. She was half of the duo Doktor Selenium and Madame Margo, a performance art project depicting the actions of a frightening cartoon character and his trumpet-fiddling accomplice. She occasionally worked with Beat Circus.
In 1999, Katt became involved in the organization of the Zeitgeist Gallery. She produced and promoted concerts and in other venues for free improvisers. She became an advocate for the right of individuals to make music and run Art Spaces without harassment from city officials and real estate developers in the Boston community, writing letters, appearing at town meetings, and participating in pranks to champion the cause. She spent a year helping to bring forth a weekly Food Not Bombs meal from a kitchen on the gallery's third floor. Katt produced over one hundred concerts of new music at the Gallery, as well as many in the Boston area.
She moved to Philadelphia for three years, where she immediately became a performer on the Bowerbird, Ars Nova, Soundfield andSciFi Philly series of improvised music. She was a performer with the West Philadelphia Orchestra and she was on the board of the Crossroads Music series, which brings performers from many different music cultures to West Philly. She also toured the United States and Canada with Vashti Bunyan and Veitiver, joining the Welcome to Dreamland concert at Carnegie Hall, produced by David Byrne.
In summer of 2008, she traveled to Sweden to play on the Hagenfesten festival, and soon after she returned to Boston to collaborate with Joe Morris, Junko Simons, Luther Gray, Matt Samolis, Steve Norton, Bowed Metal and Glass, Joe Burgio and others. She performed at X-Fest at the 119 Gallery in Lowell, Massachusetts, and at Frantasia in Maine. Finally, in spring of 2010, she moved to Stockholm.
She has quickly become engaged with the improvised and electronic music communities in Stockholm where she is studying for a master's degree in electroacoustic composition at the Royal Music Academy of Sweden, sits on the board of F.R.I.M. (an organization which promotes improvised music) and works as the assistant producer at Fylkingen. In her short time there, she has already joined and participated in a myriad of musical projects and collaborations. She co-founded The Schematics with Ludvig Elblaus, Erik Calälv and Daniel M Karlsson, with whom she also has a multi-media duo. The duo Das Dingbat- with bassist and organizer Joel Grip- toured Germany and France in 2011. She has played for three years with Fredrick Ljungkvists Yun Kan 10, which recently received much acclaim for their new CD "Ten". She has a trio with Sten Sandel and David Stackenäs and has also performed and collaborated with Lisa Ullén, Mats Erlandsson, Joe Williamson, Christer Bothén, Johan Arrias, Magnus Granberg, Kai-En, Erik Carlsson, Irina Anufrieva, Lisa-Lotte Norelius, Johannes Bergmark, Patric Thorman, Emil Strandberg and many others.
- Collaboration with Leo Svirsky (LP/CS) - Slow Fidelity, 2012
- Unlovely solo (LP) - Ehse Records, 2010
- Modern Antique with Steve Norton - Means of Production, 2010
- Psychotic Quartet: Gliomas, with Michael Evans, Daniel Blacksberg, and Evan Lipson - Fire Museum, 2010
- Eddy Dyer: Teardrops made of Melted Crayon, as a supporting artist
- Flight, solo violin and voice in collaboration with artist Erik Ruin - Desperate Commodities, 2009
- Hisswig-duo with Evan Lipson (Mini CD) - self-released, 2008 (available from Evan)
- West Philadelphia Orchestra, as a supporting artist/composer - West Philadelphia Orchestra recordings, 2008
- Damon and Naomi: Within these Walls, as a supporting artist - Damon and Naomi, 2007
- Ex Reverie: The Door into Summer, as a supporting artist - Language of Stone, 2007
- Noa Babayoff: From a Window to a Wall, as a supporting artist - Language of Stone, 2007
- Jaimie Mclaughlin: mrs. hippy - Experimental Records, 2007
- Assif Tsahar: Solitude, with Assif Tshar, Tatsuya Nakatani, Audrey Chen, Ljova and Jean Cook - Hopscotch Records, 2004
- Seven Gingambobs, with Marc Bisson - self-released, 2003
- Dan Dechellis Chamber Quartet: Making the Argument for the Line, with Dan Dechellis, Anita Dechellis, and Gary Fieldman - Sachimay, 2003
- Dan Dechellis: Chamber Music, with Dan Dechellis, Anita Dechellis, James Coleman and Gary Fieldman - Sachimay, 2002
- Paolo Angelli and Friends at High Zero 2003: Mede, sound recording and reproduction - Recorded, 2004
- Jack Wright and Friends at High Zero 2001: Open Wide, sound recording and reproduction - Recorded, 2002
- Katt Hernandez and Friends at High Zero 2001: The Long Awaited Etcetera, sound recording and reproduction - Recorded, 2002
- Darker, with Adam James Wilson and Arto Artinian - Stone Quarry Records, 2001
- Unify, with Adam James Wilson, Jonathan Wood Vincent, Aaron Trant and Arto Artinian - Stone Quarry Records, 2001
- Frank Pahl: In Cahoots, as a supporting artist - Back of Beyond, 1993