Chris Heenan (Washington D.C., 1969) lives in Berlin and is an active composer/performer and organizer of experimental music. He performs on alto saxophone, contrabass clarinet and analog synthesizer in contexts ranging from solo to large groups and in various ongoing projects.
He uses these instruments to investigate new musical forms, noise, and improvisation both in his solo work and in collaboration with composers and performers such as musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Heenan has developed a formidable solo voice on his wind instruments, particularly with the contrabass clarinet where he uses extended techniques, often incorporating multiphonics with surprising results, to reveal the subtleties inherent to the instrument.
He performs regularly in the U.S. and Europe, featured on such festivals as Stuttgarter Saxofonfestival, Projektgruppe Neue Musik Festival, Bremen; Improvised and Otherwise, Brooklyn, NY; Experimental Intermedia, New York; and at venues such as Artist Space, New York, Sendesaal Radio Bremen, The Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL and The Santa Monica Museum of Art. He is the recipient of grants from American Composers Forum, Arts International and The Durfee Foundation. Heenan received his MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2004 and from 2004 to 2006 was a fellow-in-residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany.
Some of his main collaborators and projects include Flamingo, Nordzucker, Trigger, PIVOT (with Liz Allbee), Michael Vorfeld, Sven Åke Johansson, Alessandro Bosetti, Ute Wassermann, Birgit Ulher, and Splitter Orchester.
Heenan has been active as a curator of musical events and concerts since 2001. In 2004 he founded REIFY, a record label specializing in documenting experimental and improvised music, in addition to co-founding line space line (2002 – 2005), a new and improvised music series in Los Angeles that produced over 120 concerts and two yearly festivals. In 2007 he was invited to curate a concert at The J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles: An Evening of Works by Ichiyanagi, Kosugi, Ono and Shiomi as part of the exhibition (Rajikaru!): Experimentations in Japanese Art, 1950-1975.
As of January 2017