Box | Grown Men Sing @ Oregon Fringe Festival, Ashland OR

Box |Grown Men Sing, composed and performed by flutist Tessa Brinckman, is a 35 minute electro-acoustic tone poem which explores the meta-politics of solitary confinement, with live bass flute, waterphone, recordings of three survivors, found sound + video.


  • Thursday April 25th, 9pm – Marion Ady Painting Studio @ SOU
  • Sunday April 28th, 8pm – Marion Ady Painting Studio @ SOU

The flutist/composer writes that “human rights have always been important to me from an early age, and I felt drawn to the issue of solitary confinement, as an musician and feminist, for a long time. Box |Grown Men Sing is a labor of love that appeared as an idea after a visit to Alcatraz on my birthday in 2012. It officially began in 2014 when I recorded three men – Steven Czifra, Jerry Elster and Danny Murillo – who had endured solitary, and are now out in the world as activists and academics. I asked them questions such as what they heard, smelled, tasted, dreamed, remembered and resisted, who and what music they loved, and who loved them back. My work on the piece continued slowly for the next several years, while simultaneously working on other projects. Finally I started the score for bass flute, waterphone, recordings + video during my artistic residency at Centre Pompadour in France in 2018, and I’m delighted to present the premiere of this piece here at the Oregon Fringe Festival 2019.”

“The incarcerations of these three men represent multiple decades of the US “school-to-prison pipeline”, where the prison industrial complex, growing stronger, richer and more invisible, uses surveillance, policing, and imprisonment in place of society building healthy communities. Solitary confinement in the United States has been described as an “incubator of psychosis”, is considered to be torture by the United Nations, and violates international treaty law and international norms. Solitary is a common practice in the US prison system, especially when prisoners represent the intersections of race, class, gender, age, ability and political activism.”

The Oregon Fringe Festival is also presenting Steven Czifra, one of the solitary confinement survivors recorded for this music, who will be reading from his own work.

ALSO, don’t miss these collaborations with other guest Fringe artists:

  • Saturday, April 27, 9:00pmcollaborative concert with avant-garde percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani