Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2018 Films: Silhouette of a Storm-Bent Tree

Silhouette of a Storm-Bent Tree by Nick Zoulek
Milwaukee (Milwaukee Premiere)
Running Time: 5 minutes
Screening Time: Saturday September 8th 4:30pm

In Silhouette of a Storm-Bent Tree, saxophonist and multimedia artist Nick Zoulek fuses all of his creative endeavors, serving as performer (bass saxophone), composer, producer, director, cine- matographer, and engineer, in order to fulfill his artistic vision. 

Silhouette of a Storm-Bent Tree begins broken and torn, seek- ing redemption. The piece derives its title from the quote, “why is it that the silhouette of a storm-bent leafless tree against an evening sky in winter is perceived as beautiful... the answer seems to follow from new insights into dynamical systems.

Our feeling for beauty is inspired by the harmonious arrangement of order and disorder as it occors in natural objects.” Dancer and choreographer Nicole Spence navigates this order and disorder as she embodies the raw, meditative nature of the work.




Director's Bio:

Nick Zoulek’s (b. 1988) influence on the fields of modern music and avant-garde performance has added color, sound, energy, and light to the delightfully enigmatic world of contemporary saxophone: The Wall Street Journal writes, “...Mr. Zoulek’s performance, on saxophones in every range, is stunningly virtuosic, whatever the genre… None of that would matter much (except to saxophonists) if Mr. Zoulek were a less imaginative composer.”
Full of “pure mindfulness and talent” (PopMatters), Nick’s artistry has taken his Midwestern
roots across France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Serbia, India, Italy, Uganda, and the United States. Passport in hand, he remains equally engaged in solo performance, multimedia collaboration, improvisation, and commissioning new works. Nick’s craft on the horn has been lauded as “a no-holds- barred engine of avant-garde exploration,” (Portland Press Herald) with the capacity to “[take] you to other worlds” (Milwaukee Magazine); his “[b]eautiful harmonies [sing] in contrast to mysterious knockings and hums, and finally to ungodly, soul-shattering blasts” (Shepherd Express). 

The importance Nick has placed on mixed media performance cannot be overstated.
Experimenting with the emotional potential of real-time collaboration as a performance artist, he has scored and performed dance works with Wild Space Dance Company, the Madison Ballet, HYPERlocal, and with members of the Zenon and Like You Mean It dance companies. Bringing digital production to the mix with immersive storylines, splashes of vibrant color, and advanced cinematography, Zoulek’s film works center around his own self-composed scores: rhythmic, primal, and intelligible. They have garnered international awards, including Best Experimental Film from the London Modcon International Film Festival and Largo Film Festival. Off screen, Nick’s music can be heard on his 2016 album Rushing Past Willow (INNOVA Records), which fuses all of facets of his work through pieces for alto, tenor, and – less commonly heard by the greater public – the towering bass saxophone. 

Always mindful of the saxophone’s importance to the wider public, Nick maintains an active
profile researching the saxophone’s role in contemporary classical music, routinely presenting on contemporary aesthetics and saxophone performance. In addition to having presented over a dozen clinics and masterclasses, he has taught both saxophone and jazz studies courses as a member of the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Contemporary Music Performance at Bowling Green State University with the guidance of Distinguished Artist Professor Dr. John Sampen. Nick holds a Master of Music Performance from BGSU, a Certificat des Études Musicales from the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régionale de Boulogne-Billancourt, and a Bachelor of Music Performance with Magna Cum Laude honors from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He has previously learned with Jean-Michel Goury, Dr. Matthew Sintchak, and Dr. Jon Amon. To experience Nick in action and shop his online store, please visit

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