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The Paul Dresher Ensemble Presents SOUND MAZE FOR MAX Installation, Now thru 5/3

The Paul Dresher Ensemble, in co-production with Fort Mason Center Presents and Behavioral Intervention for Autism, proudly announces the World Premiere of Sound Maze for Max, a new sound installation that features ten newly invented musical instruments that have been collaboratively designed and built by Paul Dresher, Alex Vittum and Daniel Schmidt. Sound Maze for Max will be open daily in the Firehouse at Fort Mason Center now through May 3rd, 2015.

This remarkable hands-on interactive installation has been designed for audiences of all ages - regardless of musical experience - as well as for people on the autism spectrum. Sound Maze for Max consists of ten rooms that each house one or more large-scale invented musical instruments or sound sculptures. Audience-participants are fully encouraged to engage, experiment with and play these extraordinary inventions, to improvise on them and to discover new ways of creating sound and music. To accommodate any sensitivities audiences might have to strong sensory stimuli, each invention has an adjustable level for sound and light that can be lowered as needed.

The Sound Maze for Max installation is designed to unleash the musical creativity of all our audience/performers. Because of the unique features of these inventions, Sound Maze for Max will reward curious but musically inexperienced people as well as those who have a lifelong engagement with sound and music.

Special Preview Reception, April 2nd, 4:30-7pm for the press and invited guests.
Maze For Max will have a special preview on April 2 - World Autism Awareness Day from 4:30 - 7PM.
Opening Day: Sound Maze for Max will open to the public on Saturday April 4, 11 am.

Co-production support is provided by Fort Mason Center Presents and Behavioral Intervention for Autism, a leading provider of services to the Autism community across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sound Maze for Max will be open to the general public before and after performances of Max Understood as well as on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Admission is by donation. The Installation will be open two hours prior to all performances of the musical drama, Max Understood, being presented April 16 - 26 at Fort Mason Center's Cowell Theater.

Hours available for group reservations: Groups from the Autism community, including children and adults accompanied by members of their family, caregivers, and teachers can reserve the Maze for one-hour sessions on Tuesday andThursday afternoons between 2:30 and 4:30 pm. We intend for this installation will be a memorable destination where individuals, families and groups from the Autism community can come to celebrate World Autism Awareness Month in April. For reservations, please contact

Student groups from public and private schools are invited to reserve Sound Maze for Max on Tuesday through Friday, 10:30 to 2:30. Please allow 1 hour per classroom. For reservations, contact

Sound Maze for Max - In tandem with the new musical MAX UNDERSTOOD production: Sound Maze for Max is premiering in tandem with the Paul Dresher Ensemble's world premiere performance of Nancy Carlin and Michael Rasbury's new musical MAX UNDERSTOOD for a two-week limited engagement, April 16 - 26, 2015 in the Cowell Theater.MAX UNDERSTOOD, a heartwarming musical drama that invites audiences into the life of a young boy with autism as he escapes the safety of his parents' apartment and begins to explore the beauty and mysteries of the world around him.Directed by David Schweizer the cast for MAX UNDERSTOOD features Elise Youssef*, Teddy Spencer*, Jonah Broscow as Max, with Jeremy Kahn*, Alyssa Rhoney, Jackson Davis* and Hayley Lovgren.. (*Member of Actors' Equity Association). Tickets available at City Box Office ( For more information visit

Background: Artistic Team

Lead artist Paul Dresher is a composer, performer, producer and instrument inventor and builder. He has been a leader in the contemporary music and new opera/musical theater community in the Bay Area and nationally since the early 1980s. He has been building both acoustic, electronic and large-scale invented musical instruments since high school. His organization, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, regularly commissions, produces, and internationally tours contemporary music concerts and new opera/music theater, working with many of today's leading composers and theater artists. Dresher will lead a collaborative team that includes instrument builders Daniel Schmidt, with whom Dresher has worked for several decades, and Alex Vittum.

Daniel Schmidt is a very experienced teacher and professional musical instrument designer who has taught music, musical acoustics, and instrument building to young people for over 25 years. He has instructed elementary and middle school children at East Bay School of the Arts (Oakland, 10 years), the Aurora School in Oakland (2 years), the East Bay Science and Arts Middle School (2 years), and Cazadero Summer Music Camp (5 years). At the college level, he taught gamelan music at UC Berkeley (5 years), Sonoma State University (6 years), and since 2000, has been teaching at Mills College. Having started designing and building new instruments as a teenager, Dan has collaborated with Paul Dresher over many years, creating the Quadrachord, instruments for Sound Stage and more recently, instruments for Schick Machine. Dan has also designed and built musical instruments for John Cage, the Boston Symphony, John Adams and the San Francisco Symphony, and Lou Harrison, with whom he collaborated on several projects. In 2009, Dan finished a permanent installation of unique instruments at Children's Fairyland in Oakland.

Alex Vittum combines the disciplines of percussion, instrument building and electronic music. He is a member of the percussion duo Tide Tables with Paul Kikuchi, Powerdove, Unbalanced Chain and has his electro-acoustic solo project Prism. Alex has performed and recorded with a diverse group of musicians, composers and choreographers including Roswell Rudd, Kitty Brazleton, Ben Goldberg, Daniel Carter, Stuart Dempster, Gina Gibney Dance and Loop 2.4.3. He holds a BA from Bennington College and an MFA from Mills College and has studied percussion with Milford Graves and William Winant. He is a recording engineer/producer and an educator in both music and woodworking. Alex is an associate instrument builder and designer with the Paul Dresher Ensemble and a technician for synthesizer pioneer Don Buchla. He currently teaches music and instrument building at the Aurora School in Oakland.

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