09/09/13 By Jon Muchin
New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department Presents Walking Between the Worlds-Stories, Violinist/Singer Eden MacAdam-Somer’s Faculty Recital Thursday, September 12 with Ran Blake, Larry Unger, Batya MacAdam-Somer and CI Studen
Musical Tales of Love and Loss, Death and Immortality, War and Introspection Drawing on Works by Monk, Blake, Vaughan-Williams, Takemitsu and Sufi poet Rumi
“…astonishing virtuosity and raw expression…” — by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times
“… a remarkable musician. Violinist, fiddler (there’s a difference), clogger, and vocalist, she bowed, plucked, and danced up a storm... Singing and fiddling at the same time is her specialty, but her rendition of a Vaughan-Williams piece for soprano and violin was truly extraordinary.” – Michael Huebner, Birmingham News
“Eden is an elfin creature who sets the fiddle on fire, and melts your heart and soul with her honey sweet singing...” – Orlando, FL
New England Conservatory presents Walking Between the Worlds - Stories, violinist and singer Eden MacAdam-Somer’s Faculty Recital on Thursday, September 12. On this program, MacAdam-Somer weaves musical tales of love and loss, death and immortality, war and introspection, through works by Thelonious Monk, Ran Blake, Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Toru Takemitsu, and Sufi poet, Rumi. MacAdam-Somer’s original compositions grew out of her travels as a touring artist from Afghanistan to Appalachia, drawing on folk traditions, classical music, and jazz. In this program, MacAdam-Somer uses her entire body as a sounding board, performing original pieces for solo performer on voice, violin, and percussive dance. She will also be joined by pianist extraordinaire Ran Blake, violinist Batya MacAdam-Somer, folk guitarist/banjoist Larry Unger, and students from NEC's groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation department. The concert takes place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 12 at NEC’s Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston. For more information, log on to necmusic.edu or call 617-585-1260.
Eden MacAdam-Somer is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians performing today. Hailed by the New York Times as reflecting "astonishing virtuosity and raw expression," her music transcends genre through soaring violin, sweet vocals, and percussive dance, weaving in and out of the many cultures that have formed her experience. Her travels have carried her across the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, to India, Iceland, Israel, and the UK. Eden also makes frequent visits to Kabul, Afghanistan, where she works with young Afghan musicians as guest faculty member at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. She is currently composing a piece for chamber ensemble, entitled The Shooting Gallery, reflections on war as seen through the eyes of children, largely inspired by her time spent in Kabul.
In May of 2013, MacAdam-Somer graduated as the first doctoral student of the groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation (CI) department of New England Conservatory. She currently teaches full-time at NEC and coordinates programs for adult learners and children as chair of the CI branches of Continuing Education and Preparatory Studies. Outside of the classroom, she maintains an active international performing and recording career as a soloist and with such bands as NotoriousFolk, the Sail Away Ladies, and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.
Walking Between the Worlds - Stories is just one of more than 100 free events by NEC’s Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation Departments this season. Other 2013-2014 highlights include a Sun Ra Centennial Concert; a public talk by songwriter Elvis Costello after a morning working with CI student songwriters; the Music of John Zorn culminating his NEC residency; the Music of Luciana Souza who performs with NEC students at the end of her 4-day residency; the Music of Dave Holland, who leads NEC students in a performance of his music; Jazz and the Struggle for Freedom and Equality featuring some of the landmark compositions created to combat racism and bigotry; Ran Blake’s annual Film Noir Concert, this year featuring music inspired by Otto Preminger’s Laura and other films; In the Mix, 75 one-hour concerts featuring exceptional student ensembles from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments, and faculty recitals by NEC luminaries including Eden MacAdam-Somer, Frank Carlberg, Tanya Kalmanovitch, David Eure, Vanessa Morris and Robert Labaree.
Founded in 1972 by musical visionaries Gunther Schuller and Ran Blake, New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program is “one of the most versatile in all of music education” (JazzEd). Now in its 41st year, the program trains composer/performer/ improvisers to broaden their musical palettes and develop unique voices. It is unparalleled in its structured approach to ear training and its emphasis on singing, memorization, harmonic sophistication, aesthetic integrity, and stylistic openness. Under Blake's guidance for its first twenty-six years, the program expanded its offerings under subsequent chairs Allan Chase and Hankus Netsky. Alumni include Don Byron, John Medeski, Jacqueline Schwab, and Aoife O'Donovan; faculty include Carla Kihlstedt, Blake, Dominique Eade, and Anthony Coleman. “A thriving hub of musical exploration,” (Jeremy Goodwin, Boston Globe), the program currently has 43 undergrad and graduate students from 14 countries.
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