iSAW is organized in a three-part structure: 1) Public Presentations: Subtropics Festival, Workshops, and Lectures; 2) Educational Outreach: Internships, Mentoring, Partnerships, and Archive; and 3) Support to Artists: iSAW Studio, Artist Residencies, and Commissions.
Each of these components is designed to actively reinforce the others, such that each has an equal role in defining iSAW as an adaptive dynamical system. The following discussion of each of these components includes their organizational identity, history, and current activities
Over the past 23 years, approximately 700 visiting composers, artists, performers, and scholars have participated in public events sponsored under the auspices of iSAW/SFCA. Well over 2,000 musical compositions and artworks—many by some of the most influential composers and artists of the 20th century—have been presented during this time period, with many regional, national and world premieres. In the last ten years alone, iSAW facilitated more than 1,000 performances of new work. These included concert music, sound installations and radio art, as well as collaborations with video, film, dance, theater and visual arts. And we have commissioned over 100 works. In addition to the yearly Subtropics Festival for Experimental Music, iSAW has presented public workshops, residencies, and exhibitions of various kinds. In 1992, the MIAMI NEW TIMES named the Subtropics Music Festival, Miami’s “Best Public Event” and “Best Festival” of 2001.
Amongst the individuals and performing groups who have been presented by iSAW, or have done creative work and research at its studio facilities, have been many of the most important international figures of contemporary and experimental music. These include such major luminaries as John Cage, David Tudor, Robert Ashley, Earle Brown, Christian Wolff, Merce Cunningham, James Tenney, George Lewis, Pauline Oliveros, Alison Knowles, Bill Viola, David Rosenboom, Chris Mann, Alvin Lucier, Jim Staley, David Behrman, Takehisa Kosugi, Russell Frehling, Richard Teitelbaum, David Dunn, Yasunao Tone, Tania Leon, Steven Schick, Trimpin, Sonny Rollins, Lucas Ligeti, The Glass Orchestra, Jon Gibson, Sam Ashley, Michael Gordon, Derek Bailey, Lou Mallozzi, Meredith Monk, Ned Rothenberg, Chris Cutler, Robert Dick, Shelley Hirsch, David First, Malcolm Goldstein, Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo, Steve Peters, California Ear Unit, Tom Hamilton, Rene Barge, Gino Robair, Jaap Blonk, Orlando J. García, Jan Williams, Salvatore Martirano, Joseph Celli, Yvar Mikhashoff, Robert Black, Joan La Barbara, John King, Margaret Lancaster, and Nicolas Collins, and more.
Throughout its history, iSAW has considered educational outreach a major component of its institutional identity and mission. Virtually all of its activities have been designed to optimize awareness of both the overt and subtle ways that sound/music contributes to our culture and basic sense of what it means to be human. The various ways that public presentations, workshops and artist support are carried out take into consideration this educational responsibility, always striving to heighten public awareness of new creative explorations of sound in society and the environment.
More recently, iSAW has worked to make its educational mission more explicit through direct collaboration with educational institutions in Florida. This has been a response to the recognition of need within the public school system where music and art programs—like most schools in the United States—have seen such extreme financial cutbacks in recent years that their presence remains little more than a memory of the past.
Support to Artists:
iSAW provides support to individuals and groups working in the sound arts through maintaining an active sound and digital media studio. In addition to providing audio production services—such as sound design, studio recording, audio restoration, and digital media development—to the creative arts community and institutional members at subsidized rates, iSAW offers artist residencies where creative research and development, cultural exchange, and new tool development are fostered. iSAW builds partnerships with artists and arts organizations, to produce, present, and secure support funding for the commissioning of, new work. These Professional Interdisciplinary Artist Residencies provide artists with free access to the iSAW studio, commissioning fees, and opportunities to present, lecture and teach. Work by resident artists is presented at concerts and other outreach programs including workshops, lectures, and demonstrations at iSAW facilities and other venues.
The iSAW audio studio consists of professional level facilities and resources for studio and location recording, including multiple computer platforms equipped with a wide variety of recording and editing software. The facility also includes a wide selection of sound reinforcement equipment for concert performances and specialized equipment (such as portable analog/digital recorders and transducers) for installation work and field recording.