Caroline Kraabel came to London from Seattle as a teenager, just too late to realise her punk dreams and instead  discovering the saxophone, street performance and busking. There were ideas about freedom in the air, including the punk ideal of music as something anyone could do, which led to music in which one could, with application and inspiration, do anything: improvisation. London’s vibrant improvised music scene and its many great musicians gave Kraabel opportunities to explore extended techniques (especially the use of voice with the sax) and to spend time thinking about acoustics and the interactions of electricity and music: reproduction, synthesis, and their implications.


Caroline Kraabel is committed to improvisation as a way of living and working, making music in unexpected ways and places (Taking a Life for a Walk; Going Outside) but also composing and playing written music (Mass Producers and Saxophone Experiments in Space for large groups, and many pieces for smaller groups). She has worked with Anri Sala, Maggie Nicols, Andrea Zarza Canova, Evan Parker, Annie Lewandowski, John Tchicai, Cleveland Watkiss and Susan Alcorn, among many fine artists, and was a director of the London Musicians Collective, which created Resonance 104.4fm, London’s art radio station.


Caroline Kraabel has been playing with and conducting the
London Improvisers Orchestra for many years, exploring improvisation and conducted improvisation for large groups (up to 50 musicians).


© Giuseppe Tamponi

﷯ life ﷯ some releases ﷯ some work ﷯
In Spring 2016 Caroline Kraabel was invited by Québec’s Grand Groupe Régional d’Improvisation Libre to rehearse and perform her piece Une note n’écoutant qu’elle-même In March/April 2016 Kraabel organised the Calais Music Caravan, which travelled to the La Linière refugee camp in Northern France to play music and bring donations of musical instruments and other necessities for the people living there. A benefit performance of Kraabel’s piece LAST for improvising orchestra plus the pre-recorded voice of Robert Wyatt (singing a song by CK, also called LAST) brought in a lot of funds for this project; a live recording thereof is to be released soon. In 2015/2016 Caroline Kraabel curated and performed in a series of events, The Silver Wire, on William Blake’s home ground in North Lambeth, featuring Blake’s poetry and images alongside improvisation from Kraabel and Charlotte Hug, John Edwards, Tori Handsley, Cleveland Watkiss, Beibei Wang, Evan Parker, Hannah Marshall, Lauren Kinsella, Pat Thomas, Hyelim Kim, Maggie Nicols, Louis Moholo, David Stockard, Daniel Thompson and many more. Caroline Kraabel was part of Evan Parker’s 2015 large improvising orchestra for a tribute to Butch Morris. Since 2013 Kraabel has again been Going Outside, walking and playing the saxophone in London, with documentation: wealth-is-a-disease going-outside-northumberland-park-haringey-thursday going-outside-wednesday-8-january-2014-10-00-am Late in 2013 Kraabel contributed saxophone improvisations to Andrea Zarza’s Sonic Time Capsule for the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid. In autumn 2012 Kraabel’s piece Recording The Other, for voice (French and English text by CK), flute, cello, piano and four recording devices, was selected for performance at the University of Glasgow at a symposium examining the appropriation of women’s voices and experience in Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis and Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses. Kraabel played at the Tate Modern Gallery in May 2012 as part of the HerNoise festival, performing in Pauline Oliveros’s piece To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe. In 2011 Kraabel composed a set of music for two flutes, sax and drums, which was toured by Rowland Sutherland, Neil Metcalfe, Mark Sanders and CK. For two months in Autumn 2011, Caroline Kraabel was one of two live saxophone soloists taking it in turns to improvise as part of Anri Sala’s piece 3-2-1, at the Serpentine Gallery, in London’s Kensington Gardens. Taking a Life for a Walk, a weekly or fortnightly half-hour wander through London streets with her child(ren) while playing the sax, was broadcast live on Resonance 104.4fm for five years. Music In Your Head is a live acoustic performance that takes place (mostly) inside the head of its audience of one. Recording an Impression, a piece of radio and postal art, was broadcast on Resonance 104.4 fm. My Foolish Machine, a half-hour radio art piece broadcast across Europe by the Radia network in 2006. Saxophone Experiments in Space, a site-specific ambulant composition for 55 saxophonists, made for the Queen Elizabeth Hall/foyer/environs, in London. All of this work comes from a desire to make explicit the uniqueness of each way of making and receiving sound in time and space, which also relates to trying to live and work with integrity in the literal sense.