OPTION is a weekly music salon on Monday nights at Experimental Sound Studio. Its programming explores contemporary perspectives on improvisation and composition in a 'salon' format, enabling local, national, and international artists to publicly discuss their practice and ideas as well as perform—all in the intimate environment of ESS's Studio A. Organized by Chicago musicians Andrew Clinkman, Tim Daisy, and Ken Vandermark, the schedule of concerts represents an insider's view of what is currently most exciting in music and the arts. Shows are professionally recorded by ESS staff, and are nearly always streamed live on youtube. You can view the live stream on this page in the video window below. We are continuing the process of assembling a library of archived streams that subscribers to the series may access at any time.
The OPTION season runs from March-October each year.
OPTION AUDIO is a digital album series that highlights key performances from the ongoing Option program of improvised and experimental music. Every Thursday starting September 6, 2018 a completely unique recording from the most significant members of the contemporary music community will be made available to listeners, culled from a catalog of weekly concerts that have been taking place at ESS throughout the majority of each year since June of 2015.
Become a member of ESS to support the series and get cool oPTION related benefits.
If you'd prefer, make a one-time tax-deductible donation to OPTION in the amount of your choice here:
In celebration of the 2018 OPTION season, ESS has released a special, limited edition mixtape CD that highlights some of the best improvisers working today from around the world. This compilation showcases the breadth and diversity of improvised and creative music with rising starts like Lea Bertucci, Katinka Kleijn, Ben LaMar Gay, Matchess, The Few and Charmaine Lee as well as veterans of free jazz (Mats Gustafsson, Antonio Borghini, Tim Daisy, Jeremiah Cymerman, Curt Newton, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten). These live sets from the 2017 OPTION season were beautifully mixed and mastered by our head engineer, Alex Inglizian. By purchasing a mixtape, you are supporting Experimental Sound Studio, the OPTION programming, and keeping creative music alive and thriving in Chicago.
Featuring: Lea Bertucci, Matchess, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Curt Newton, Ben LaMar Gay, Charmaine Lee, The Few, Jeremiah Cymerman, Katinka Kleijn, Mats Gustafsson, Antonio Borghini, Tim Daisy
About the programmers
Andrew Clinkman (guitarist, improviser and composer, active member of the creative music communities in both Chicago and Boston)
Tim Daisy (percussionist, improviser, composer and teacher, active participant on the international music scene since the late 1990s)
Ken Vandermark (multi-instrumentalist, improviser and composer, MacArthur Fellow, organizer of weekly concerts in Chicago at a diverse range of venues for 15 years starting in the early 1990s)