I am interested in the aesthetics and politics of improvisation broadly, and specifically in the relationship between improvised music and improvised social life. In my work, I argue that tracing improvisation between the musical and the quotidian requires re-evaluating how we understand improvisation in the first place. Using “contingency” as my central theoretical framework, I argue that improvisation is not a creative capacity proper to the acting subject, but is rather coextensive with a contingent encounter between subjects, objects, and multiple environments.

My research currently focuses on three examples of “transatlantic improvised music”: Eric Dolphy, John Cage, and contemporary Norwegian free improvisers, Mr. K.


“Improvisation as Contingent Encounter, Or: The Song of My Toothbrush”, Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation vol. 12, no. 2.

“Improvising What?”: A Review of Georgina Born, Eric Lewis, and Will Straw’s Improvisation and Social Aesthetics, boundary 2 online. 


Epistemology Series–Contingency and Everyday Improvisation“, Sound it Out with Rachel Elliott.