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Experimental Sound Studio

Chicago, IL

Experimental Sound Studio is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization dedicated to artistic evolution and the creative exploration of sound. As an international hub for sonic experimentation, ESS nurtures artists, heralds new works, and builds a broad, supportive community of makers, enthusiasts, and creative partners through production, presentation, education, and preservation.

Founded in 1986 by Dawn and Lou Mallozzi, Eric Leonardson, and Perry Venson, Experimental Sound Studio (ESS) has occupied its Edgewater location since 2006. The facility is home to a full-service recording, mixing, and mastering studio for hire; Audible Gallery, a small public space for exhibitions, meetings, workshops, performances, and artists' projects; and the Creative Audio Archive—an invaluable collection of recordings, print, and visual ephemera related to avant-garde and exploratory sound and music of the last five decades. ESS presents eclectic performance and installation programming, workshops, and artist talks year round—both in the various spaces around the studio (including its beautiful garden) and at various partner venues around Chicago.

Core Values

-The artist is at the center of the creative process

-The past informs and inspires invention and innovation

-Experimentation requires both artistic rigor and risk

-Sonic-based expression has no boundaries and requires an inclusive environment that welcomes and values diverse perspectives and voices

-Collaboration activates growth