07/21/14 By Jon Muchin
New England Conservatory’s Jazz Studies & Contemporary Improvisation Departments Present Nearly 100 Free Performances for 2014-2015 Season
New England Conservatory’s internationally renowned Jazz Studies and Contemporary Improvisation Departments announce nearly 100 free concerts and masterclasses for the 2014-2015 season.
New England Conservatory’s internationally renowned Jazz Studies and Contemporary Improvisation Departments announce nearly 100 free concerts and masterclasses for the 2014-2015 season. Highlights include the Music of John Zorn: A 35-Year Retrospective including a pre-concert Q & A with Zorn who will receive an honorary degree; The Music of Ken Schaphorst and John Medeski; Order of the Virtues, a re-interpretation of Hildegarde Von Bingen’s 12th century drama Ordo Virtutum; a World Barn Dance; concerts featuring the Music of Dave Holland and The Music of George Russell led by Ben Schwendener, a leading authority on Russell’s music; masterclasses/ workshops by The Claudia Quintet led by John Hollenbeck who’s teaching at NEC in the fall of 2014, Lake Street Dive, Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer, and Evan Parker; and In the Mix, 72 one-hour concerts featuring exceptional student ensembles from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments. All concerts are free and open to the public. For more information, log on to: necmusic.edu/jazz or call 617-585-1122.
Concerts at 8 p.m. except where noted. In the Mix events take place at 7, 8 and 9 p.m., each with a different ensemble.
Tuesday, September 2 - Opening Night - Brown Hall - 7:30 pm Join NEC's groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation Department in kicking off the academic year with a concert featuring CI faculty and teaching fellows, including Hankus Netsky (Chair), Eden MacAdam-Somer (Assistant Chair), Ran Blake (Chair Emeritus), Mal Barsamian, Cristi Catt, Linda Chase, Anthony Coleman, Dominique Eade, Nima Janmohammadi, Tanya Kalmanovitch, Carla Kihlstedt, Jerry Leake, Amir Milstein, Joe Morris, Nedelka Prescod, Ted Reichman, Peter Row, Bert Seager, and David Zoffer.
Saturday, September 6 - Fiddle Workshop & World Barn Dance - Brown Hall 6 pm: Fiddle workshop, open to all instruments and voices, any age, any level. Participants will learn a tune, put together an arrangement, and open up the dance with the band!!
7pm: Bring your friends and come celebrate autumn with a community barn dance in beautiful Brown Hall, with live music by the Contemporary Improvisation department’s American Roots, World Music, and Jewish Music Ensembles. All dances will be taught - no partners or dance experience necessary! Admission is free and open to all. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Monday, September 8 - Songwriting Workshop with Lake Street Dive - Pierce Hall - 1 p.m. After meeting while students at NEC in the early 1990s, Lake Street Dive has catapulted to stardom, appearing on the Colbert Report and drawing large audiences. NPR notes that they blend “jazz, folk, and pop in dangerously charming fashion." In this workshop, the band – vocalist Rachael Price, trumpet/guitarist Mike Olson, stand-up bassist Bridget Kearney and drummer Mike Calabrese – returns to NEC to share its songwriting expertise with students.
Tuesday, September 9 - Old-time Fiddle Workshop with Bruce Molsky -Pierce Hall - 7 – 8:30 p.m. Internationally renowned old-time multi-instrumentalist and folk singer Bruce Molsky comes to NEC to share his vast knowledge of fiddle tunes and techniques from America's Appalachian region. All instruments and voices are welcome. Participants are encouraged to bring a recording device as music will be taught by ear.
Monday, September 15- Eden MacAdam-Somer: One by Two - Jordan Hall - 8 p.m. 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. Tonight’s program features “duos” for one, two, or more musicians, with some of Eden’s newest compositions, inspired by her recent travels to Afghanistan and Italy, as well as works by Charles Ives, Thelonious Monk, and Alan Ridout. She will be joined by special guests, including noir artist extraordinaire Ran Blake and NEC’s President Tony Woodcock.
Thursday, September 18 - Workshop: Evan Parker - Pierce Hall - 3 – 5 p.m. A pioneer of free improvisation, Evan Parker is considered to be one of the most influential saxophonists in the Post-Coltrane era. Since the late 1960s he has remained a dynamic and innovative voice who has expanded the range of his instrument and the expressive possibilities of improvised music.
Tuesday, September 23 - Masterclass: John Hollenbeck and Claudia Quintet - Brown Hall - 6:30 – 8 p.m. Widely acclaimed as a composer, conceptualist, drummer and percussionist, Hollenbeck brings his fresh, eclectic, forward-thinking and vibrant musical ideas to NEC in this masterclass with his Claudia Quintet.
Tuesday, September 30 -Masterclass with Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran - Williams Hall - 4 p.m
Thursday, October 2 - The Music of Dave Holland - Brown Hall Visiting artist-in-residence legendary bassist/composer Holland will lead NEC students in a performance of his music.
Monday, October 6 - Fred Hersch Masterclass - Pierce Hall - 3 p.m. Jazz pianist, composer and NEC faculty member/alum Fred Hersch will present a masterclass for NEC students. Hersch’s most recent CD Floating, a studio recording with his trio, is earning rave reviews.
Thursday, October 16 - The Music of George Russell - Jordan Hall NEC faculty member Schwendener will lead the NEC Jazz Orchestra in a program featuring excerpts from several of George Russell’s most ambitious works: “Listen to the Silence,” “Vertical Form,” and “The African Game.” The concert will include two of Russell’s best-known compositions, “All About Rosie” and “Ezzthetic,” as well as “La Folia,” a piece co-composed by Schwendener and Russell.
Russell taught at NEC for some 35 years and for many of those, students in the NEC Jazz Orchestra worked with Russell to prepare an end-of-semester concert of his music. Through coachings and rehearsals, they were exposed to Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept and his Vertical Form approach to composition, which demanded a high level of alertness and intuition from soloing players.
Wednesday, October 22 - Marriage of Music and Dance Fest: Opening Concert - Jordan Hall - 8pm This performance kicks off NEC’s Marriage of Music and Dance Festival, honoring the life and work of Julia Sutton. Tonight’s concert features dance and instrumental performances illustrating links between the two, over various time periods, social classes, and geographic locations. Performances by the Renaissonics, Eden MacAdam-Somer and Ellie Grace, NEC’s Ragtime Band, and pianist Jacqueline Schwab.
Thursday, October 23 - Renaissance and Folk Dance - Brown Hall - 7:30pm Come join the Renaissonics, Eden MacAdam-Somer, Jacqueline Schwab, and a host of talented dancers and instructors for an evening of historic dancing and fun. You will see demonstrations of period dances, then learn them yourselves. All are welcome, and no dance experience is necessary!
Friday, October 24 - Alumni Jam Session, “All About Rosie” - Brown Hall - 7:30 p.m. As a part of NEC’s Alumni Weekend, current NEC students and alums will pay tribute to George Russell with an open reading of his masterpiece, “All About Rosie.” A jam session will follow.
Tuesday, November 4 - Fred Hersch Masterclass - Pierce Hall - 3 p.m.
Tuesday, November 4 - The Music of John Zorn: A 35-year Retrospective - Jordan Hall 7 pm: Pre-Concert Q & A with John Zorn. 8 pm: Concert. Curated by John Zorn and Anthony Coleman, the concert, sponsored by NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation Department, will include NEC’s faculty, students and ensembles. Repertoire will be drawn from a wide variety of Zorn projects including Masada, Naked City, string trios, recent chamber compositions, madrigals, as well as his iconic game pieces. During the concert, NEC president Tony Woodcock with present Zorn with an Honorary Degree.
November 10, 11, 12 - In the Mix - Pierce Hall - 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
Monday, November 17 - Jazz Composers Ensemble - Brown Hall Jorrit Dijkstra coaches performances by NEC jazz students of their own compositions.
November 18, 19, 20 - In the Mix - Pierce Hall - 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
November 24, 25 - In the Mix - Pierce Hall - 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
December 1, 3, 8, 9 - In the Mix - Pierce Hall - 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
Tuesday, December 2 - Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra - Brown Hall The Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra is devoted to rehearsing and performing works by NEC Jazz Composition students. Coached by pianist/composer and NEC jazz faculty member Frank Carlberg, the ensemble gives its composers the opportunity to learn how to rehearse and conduct a band, as well as have their works heard.
Thursday, December 4 - Music of Bob Nieske and Jimmy Giuffre - Jordan Hall NEC faculty member Bob Nieske will lead the NEC Jazz Orchestra in a program featuring Nieske’s music alongside music composed by longtime NEC faculty member Jimmy Giuffre. Featured Giuffre compositions will include “Dragonfly,” “The Sad Truth” and his most well-known composition, “Four Brothers,” made famous by Woody Herman’s recording with Stan Getz. Nieske will direct the ensemble in several of his own pieces, including “The Half of It,” “Flatline,” “Heart,” “For Jimmy…,” “Simplifying Simple Flying,” and “Broken Lotus, a Concerto Grosso.”
Friday, December 12 - NEC Youth Jazz Orchestra - Brown Hall - 7:30 p.m. Founded in 2008 by NEC Jazz Studies Department chair Ken Schaphorst, the NEC Youth Jazz Orchestra is the only community jazz orchestra of its kind in the Boston area, open by audition to all musicians high school age or younger. The ensemble strives to give young musicians opportunities to learn and perform together in an environment of high expectations and standards.
Concerts at 8 p.m. except where noted. In the Mix events take place at 7, 8 and 9 p.m., each with a different ensemble.
Monday, January 26 - Faculty Spotlight Concert - Jordan Hall NEC’s celebrated Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation faculty showcase their music. Tuesday, February 17 - Order of the Virtues - Jordan Hall Contemporary Improvisation students, faculty, and special guests present a concert of struggle and redemption in true Third Stream style, through a re-interpretation of Hildegarde Von Bingen’s 12th century drama Ordo Virtutum (Order of the Virtues). Drawing on the original score and text, as well as works by Duke Ellington, the Carter Family, and from Sufi zikr and folk traditions from around the world, we tell the story of Anima, lost soul of all humanity, who struggles on the brink of damnation as she is courted by the Devil. In her greatest hour of need, she calls out to the Virtues, who sail in and bind the Devil hand and foot.
Recognized as the earliest extant liturgical morality play, the Ordo Virtutum was originally written for and performed by a chorus of 16 women, all members of the cloister established by Hildegarde near Bingen on the Rhine. Its emotional imagery is vibrant and timeless, connecting poignantly with modern existence and our own battles between good and evil, expressed tonight through the powerful story of the Virtues. Thursday, February 26 - The Music of Ken Schaphorst and John Medeski - Jordan Hall The NEC Jazz Orchestra conducted by Ken Schaphorst performs music by Schaphorst and keyboardist and NEC alum John Medeski.
March 24, 25, 26 - In the Mix - Pierce Hall - 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
Tuesday, March 31 - Honors Jazz / Wild Card - Jordan Hall Each year, an audition committee selects a few exceptional students to represent NEC in the Honors Jazz and Wild Card ensembles.
March 30, April 1 - In the Mix - Pierce Hall - 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
Thursday, April 2 - Jazz, The Next Generation - Brown Hall Freshman and sophomore jazz studies majors are featured in these student-organized ensembles
April 6, 7, 8 - In the Mix - Pierce Hall - 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
Thursday, April 9 - Jazz Composers Ensemble - Brown Hall Ken Schaphorst coaches performances by NEC jazz students of their own compositions.
April 14, 15 - In the Mix - Pierce Hall - 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
Thursday, April 16 - The Music of Gil Evans and Duke Ellington - Jordan Hall Ken Schaphorst conducts the NEC Jazz Orchestra
April 20, 21 - In the Mix - Pierce Hall - 7, 8 and 9 p.m.
Tuesday, April 28 - Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra - Jordan Hall The Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra is devoted to rehearsing and performing works by NEC Jazz Composition students. Coached by pianist/composer and NEC jazz faculty member Frank Carlberg, the ensemble gives its composers the opportunity to learn how to rehearse and conduct a band, as well as have their works heard.
Tuesday, May 19 - NEC Youth Jazz Orchestra - Jordan Hall - 7:30 p.m. Founded in 2008 by NEC Jazz Studies Department chair Ken Schaphorst, the NEC Youth Jazz Orchestra is the only community jazz orchestra of its kind in the Boston area, open by audition to all musicians high school age or younger. The ensemble strives to give young musicians opportunities to learn and perform together in an environment of high expectations and standards.
NEC’s Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur “genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters, and alumni that reads like a who’s who of jazz. Now in its 44th year, the program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC’s jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.” The program currently has 98 students; 54 undergraduate and 44 graduate students from 14 countries.
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 42nd 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 inspired guidance for its first twenty-six years, the program grew considerably and has expanded its offerings under current chair Hankus Netsky and assistant chair Eden MacAdam-Somer. Alumni include Don Byron, John Medeski, Jacqueline Schwab, Aoife O'Donovan and Sarah Jarosz; faculty include Carla Kihlstedt, Blake, Dominique Eade, and Anthony Coleman. “A thriving hub of musical exploration,” (Jeremy Goodwin, Boston Globe), the program currently has 53 undergrad and graduate students from 16 countries.
More Articles in Community Articles
New Concerts Added to the Program of the 36th Edition of the Festival
Hristo Vitchev / Terrence Brewer Quartet LIVE in Concert!
First Orbit Sounds Music
New England Conservatory’s Jazz Studies Department Presents The Music of Dave Holland on Thursday, March 5 at Brown Hall
NEC Alum John Medeski Returns to Campus for Performance on Thursday, February 26
Mardi Gras Celebration with Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
Sat, 21 2015 The Art of Jazz: Fundraiser for Creative Identity