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Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock Blurs the Lines

Where classical, improvisation and composition meet

Ingrid Laubrock

On June 4, Ingrid Laubrock premiered her first large-scale orchestral composition, Vogelfrei, a densely atmospheric piece inspired by the intricate maze of above-ground electrical wires that power the rail network in Moers, Germany. The piece, which was performed by the American Composers Orchestra at the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, was commissioned by trombonist, author and educator George Lewis for the second installment of the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute Readings, a collaborative effort between the ACO and the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia that fosters connections between the classical and jazz avant-gardes. “I’ve always loved having several layers of sound that seem to coexist and not necessarily touch, and then have them eventually touch,” Laubrock says of the piece.

The intersections of jazz and classical music are fruitful territory for the Brooklyn-based saxophonist and composer, who at 42 has released six albums as a leader and collaborated with avant-garde icon Anthony Braxton, pianist Kris Davis, drummer Tyshawn Sorey, guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tom Rainey (also her husband), among many others.

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