the avant-garden of love


February 13, 2020 - February 14, 2020
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Jan Serr Studio


Love – it isn’t pretty!

Embrace the intertwining facets of love, light and dark, this Valentine’s Day with Present Music! Whether you and your partner are celebrating an intoxicating pas-de-deux of amore, or you’re flying solo, The Avant-Garden of Love is certain to enhance and illuminate your experience.

The Present Music Ensemble – this concert in the unusual form of a string septet – will be joined by an amazing array of special guests: returning local composer Yehuda Yannay and saxophonist Matt Sintchak, acclaimed guest and Swedish singer-songwriter Sophie Dunér, and the quirky, toy-instrument group Little Bang Theory.

Upgrade your Valentine’s Day Affairs!

Present Music continues its strange celebration of love after the concert on February 14 with an interactive cabaret, the Tangled Hearts Soiree, an after-party drag show hosted by Miss Birdee and the triumphant return of local jazz legends We Six.


Concert Program:


  • Invocation by Rev. Howard Finster
  • The Garden of Love by Jacob TV, featuring saxophonist Matt Sintchak
  • Such Different Paths by Dobrinka Tabakova
  • The Love of Zero (1927 silent film commissioned score) by Frank Pahl, featuring the Little Bang Theory
  • Gadji Beri Bimba by Hugo Ball, performed by Yehuda Yannay
  • I Love You by Moondog, featuring Sophie Dunér
  • Water Walk by John Cage, performed by David Bloom
  • Weird Nightmare by Charles Mingus, arranged by Eric Segnitz
  • An arrangement of works by and featuring Sophie Dunér
  • Poetry by Tristan Tzara
  • What Reason Could I Give? by Ornette Coleman, arranged by Eric Segnitz

The program run-time is estimated to be 85 minutes. There will also be a 15 minute intermission.

Options for The Avant-Garden of Love and the Tangled Hearts Soiree:

The Avant-Garden of Love CONCERT ONLY
    • Thursday, February 13th at 7:30pm
      Single Ticket Prices: $55 (Preferred) / $25 (General Admission) / $10 (Artists & Friends)

Online and over-the-phone ticket sales to the Thursday, February 13th are now CLOSED.
You can still purchase tickets at the door beginning at 6:30pm.
All applicable discounts will apply.

Tickets are SOLD OUT to the Friday February 14th concert – we will sell Standing Room Only tickets at the door on Friday beginning at 6:30pm for $5 each. You can still add the after-party event to your Standing Room Only ticket for a total of $35 a person!

The Tangled Hearts Soiree AFTER-EVENT ONLY
    • February 14th from 9:30pm-midnight
      Single Ticket Price: $40/person

Single Tickets to the Tangled Hearts Soiree are available HERE:


All events are held in the:

Jan Serr Studio

2155 N Prospect Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Enter through pedestrian alley on Kenilworth.

The Avant-Garden of Love is generously sponsored by Jan Serr and John Shannon.

Present Music would like to recognize and thank Saz’s Catering and UWM Peck School of the Arts for providing the Jan Serr Studio space for tonight’s event – without their generous support, we would not be performing in this beautiful location.

Saz's Catering LogoUWM Logo

Guest Artist Spotlight:


Sophie Dunér
“It’s not fusion – it’s Dúneresque – a newly created genre!”  — Grammy Award winning producer Michael Haas

Headshot of Sophie Duner

Photograph by: Petra Björstad

Sophie Dunér is a singer, composer (& painter) with her roots in jazz. Originally from Sweden, she travels and performs internationally as her blend of jazz, world and contemporary classical writing receives demand worldwide – from the infamous CBGB´s in NYC to Buenos Aires Festival de Música Contemporánea de La Plata to Festival O/Modernt in Sweden. Her music for vocals & string quartet as well as for cello is exemplified in her two most recent albums: The City of My Soul, produced by Michael Haas (PARMA Recordings 2013) and biggest selling disc for download sales in February 2015. David Balakrishnan (founder of Turtle Island String Quartet) said about her “…a seriously talented singer, and nicely set in string quartet, really beautiful original material.”  The City of Dizzy (CD Baby 2016) received reviews such as “….improvising like a jazz horn. Many such singers have claimed this distinction, but only a handful, Dunér, Mark Murphy and Anita O’Day among them, have ever really achieved this.” – The Art Music Lounge. Jazz da Gama wrote “Both stretching vocal and instrumental technique so that she not only fits the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, but seemingly all of the desperate fear and unbridled joy of human existence into every the extraordinary lyric.”

In 2019, The CD Eclectic Songs was recorded together with the ingenious multi-musician Gene Pritsker in NYC, for release on Composers Concordance Records in 2020. Her (separate) collabs with G.Pritsker & J.Harman led to two videos of her jazz/metal tune “The Express Train” at Grand Central Station in NYC in 2019. Previous CDs include The Rain in Spain featuring renown jazz musicians Rory Stuart, Matt Penmann & Kahlil Qwame Bell. (CIMP). Sophie also recorded a CD of standards together with the late jazz bassist Dominic Duval (former member of Cecil Taylor´s band).

Her music may be described as a blend of the romantic and the spiritually elevated with a dissonant, bold and satirical edge, playing with tense colours resolving into romantic harmony or vice versa. With musical roots in jazz, Sophie personally draws heavily on a variety of composers such as Weill, Monk, Mingus, Henze, Gillespie & Stravinsky.

Other festivals include Bimbache Open Art Festival, PARMA Music Festival, Jazz en La Costa, Getxo Jazz Festival, Stockholm Jazz Festival, Baltic Jazz Festival, Festival de Jazz de Lugo, Sapporo Snow Festival, Stockholm New Music Festival etc. Tours include dates in Europe & USA at venues such as The ShapeShifter Lab, Cornelia St Cafe, Symphony Space, The LilyPad, Smalls, Kostabi World, SOWIESO, Moods, The Pizza Express, Circulo de Bellas Artes etc. Her style has evolved through collaborations with musicians from around the world, apart from the ones mentioned, she worked with Jürg Wickihalder, Steve Hamilton, Paul Clarvis, Martin France, Matt Pennmann, Sébastien Dubé, Hugo Ticciati, Torsten de Winkel, Gere Gerenu, & Francis Schwartz etc.

At the recommendation of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sophie studied vocal interpretation at the Stockhausen summer Courses in Kuerten, Germany for two years, supported by a grant from The Swedish Arts Council. She also studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, earning a degree in Performance, studying improvisation with Hal Crook, George Garzone & Ed Tomassi. While in Boston, she performed & recorded with jazz groups such as The Herb Pomeroy’s Big Band, Guillermo Klein & The Big Van (feat. Seamus Blake, Mark Turner & Aaron Goldberg). In N.Y, with Fernando Tarrés (feat. Dan Rieser, Fernando Huergo & Don McCaslin). She also founded The Sophie Dunér Orchestra, touring in the Boston area, Scandinavia & Japan.The Swedish Arts Council awarded Sophie grants on 4 occasions.

In 2018, she was featured in “DONNE” – a video series about women composers created by “BBC 100 Women” award winner & London based soprano Gabriella DiLaccio. She also participated in the US based “Nevertheless She Composed”, for upcoming release in 2020. Her piece  “Pey Vav Yud” was premiered in the multi-media concert by Composers Concordance – Chorus 72 – with projected art by Rainer Gross & Mark Kostabi – for The New Music Series at William Paterson University Shea Center for Performing Arts, Shea Auditorium (N.J, US). She also recorded  “Checkmate My Love” composed for her by the Madrid based J.L Greco. During winter 2018/19, Sophie toured NYC & Berlin, including appearances together with Gene Pritsker, EMX, Mark Kostabi, Seth Boustead, Charles Coleman and Guy Livingston etc. at Symphony Space and Cornelia St Café in NYC, with EMX at SOWIESO in Berlin and the video “Making Money Money in Berlin” with pianist Guy Livingston. In NYC, she gave an interview & performed at BOLD TV together with percussionist Noah Lehrmann.

Coming up in 2020, she is featured Artist in Residency for the annual chamber concerts event “In The Avant Garden of Love” with Present Music, led by co-artistic directors violinist Eric Segnitz (Kepler Quartet) & conductor David Bloom (Contemporaneous) in Milwaukee. She will be featured on NPR Wisconsin “Lake Effect” prior to her concerts. Her residency is followed by a jazz performance with the (ex Beach Boys pianist) “Carli Munoz Trio” at Carli’s Bistro in San Juan, P.R. Sophie is a part of Composers Concordance 2019/2020 season, premiering a new composition for the event “Conga Mania” at Kostabi World Uptown in NYC in June 2020. She continues her US 2020 engagements with a gig at the iconic “The Bop Shop” in N.Y together with bassist Dominic Duval Jr (dedicated to her CD with late legendary bass player Dominic Duval Sr.) She will also be collaborating with drummer & Berklee faculty Bertram Lehmann at The LilyPad in Boston. 

Being a painter as well, she had her 45 minute long Art Film Noir edited by award winning Juan de Graaf. To be featured during her Artist in Residency with Present Music.

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