Option Series

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 ClinkmanTim 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.

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In 2016 Galerie Gisela Capitain celebrated its 30th anniversary with an exhibition of works by Martin Kippenberger.Together with Günther Förg,Charline von Heyl,Zoe Leonard,Albert Oehlen,Stephen Prina, Franz West and Christopher Wool, Martin Kippenberger belongs to the first generation of artists who have shaped the gallery's program since its founding in 1986. For over 30 years, the gallery's artistic agenda has remained focused on, though not limited to, European and American Contemporary Art from the 1980s until now. In the 2000s Wade Guyton, Seth Price and Kelley Walker, a generation of emerging artists at the time, joined the program, among others. Adding emerging as well as established artists, including Barbara Bloom, Richard Smith or Monika Sosnowska, the gallery continually evolved its program. In recent years, Galerie Gisela Capitain extended its program with Asian artists: Japanese artist Hiroki Tsukuda and Hong Kong based composer, multi media and sound artist Samson Young, joined the gallery, followed by Peruvian artist Ximena Garrido-Lecca and London based painter Jadé Fadojutimi. 

Galerie Gisela Capitain is the exclusive worldwide representative of the Estate of Martin Kippenberger since 1997. 

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Video Subscription

$5/month (recurring)
Great for supporters outside of Chicago!

You get:

Access to the Video Library as it is built

Live Subscription

$20/month (recurring)

You get:

Discounted, pre-paid admission to EVERY OPTION SHOW
Preferred Seating
Access to the Video Library
Occasional Artist Meet-&-Greets

Already, there are hours of performances and discussions by William Parker, Chris Corsano, Dave Bryant, Jaimie Branch, and more available to watch on YouTube.


Donate Another Amount

Or, if you'd prefer, make a one-time donation to OPTION in the amount of your choice here:


For access to the growing archive of full-length OPTION performance and interview videos 2015-present, become a Video Subscriber above.

April 9, 2018: Danish-American saxophonist, vocalist, and composer Louise Dam Eckardt Jensen in duo with Chicago's own Kent Kessler.

Sponsored by Galerie Gisela Capitain.

March 19, 2018: Pianist and composer Kris Davis performed solo on the OPTION stage.

Sponsored by Corbett vs. Dempsey.

April 2, 2018: Saxophonist Gerrit Hatcher and bassist Anton Hatwich perform solo and duo on the OPTION stage.

Sponsored by Galerie Gisela Capitain.

March 12, 2018: New York-based saxophonist and composer Ingrid Laubrock performing a solo set.

Sponsored by Corbett vs. Dempsey.

March 26, 2018: Detroit based composer and performer Molly Jones makes her OPTION debut.

Sponsored by Corbett vs. Dempsey.

March 5, 2018: Chicago based drummer Phillip Sudderberg kicks off the 2018 OPTION season with a solo set followed by an improvised trio with Jason Stein on bass clarinet and Charlie Kirchen on bass.

Sponsored by Corbett vs. Dempsey.

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Keep Your Options Open II Mixtape CD
Add to Cart

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

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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)


Support for Option is generously provided by: