Tuesday, April 24, 2018

May 2: NEC presents world premiere of Anthony Coleman's 'Streams'

New England Conservatory presents the world premiere of
Streams by faculty member and CI alum Anthony Coleman
Wednesday, May 2 at NEC’s Jordan Hall

Coleman, who often skipped high school to ride on Duke Ellington’s tour bus, cites Ellington’s strong influence on his approach to creating music

Streams commissioned for NEC’s 150th anniversary

As part of the landmark celebration of its 150th anniversary, New England Conservatory (NEC) commissioned Contemporary Improvisation (CI) Department faculty member, Composition Department alumnus, and maverick composer Anthony Coleman to create a new work showcasing the school’s CI Department. Streams – a boundary-blurring musical celebration of diversity and the individuality that creates it – will receive its world premiere on Wednesday, May 2, 7:30 p.m. at NEC’s Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Ave., Boston. Admission is free. For information call 617-585-1122 or visit https://necmusic.edu/event/7246.

Coleman, who graduated from NEC in 1977 and has taught there since 2006, cites Duke Ellington’s influence in creating this piece and indeed in creating all of his music.  While a high school student in Brooklyn, Coleman skipped classes to ride on Ellington’s tour bus, soaking up Ellington’s genius.  That seminal experience has influenced Coleman’s art ever since, and Streams incorporates these early lessons.  Like Ellington, Coleman has written music for the individual players – Ellington famously spoke of writing for trumpet player Rex Stewart’s “seven good notes” and, similarly, Coleman promises, “I’m going to take each student and find their seven good notes,” referencing Ellington – while creating overarching musical unity and blurring the lines between composer and performer, composition and improvisation.

In Streams, Coleman draws from the tools, events, and issues of the world around him in unique and effective ways. The use of predictive text on cell phones as an improvisational device is just one example. The movement Pinye (Yiddish for "froth") focuses on the Parkland massacre's anti-Semitic overtones. Other movements include one based on student improvisations; one composed in honor of  recently deceased NEC faculty member, former dean and provost, and Hindustani music scholar and performer Peter Row; one composed for the CI department's rock ensemble that explores automatism, or the digital reprogramming of sensibility; one inspired by Coleman's encounter with the 1980s "haunted" landscapes of Eastern Europe; a movement exploring "open forms" concepts introduced by composers Christian Wolff and Cornelius Cardew, a composed piano solo movement drawing on Coleman's own improvisational piano techniques, and a final movement in memory of NEC alum Cecil Taylor, who died on April 5.

“One of Anthony’s great gifts is his ability to bring people together, blur boundaries and create cohesive music from each musician’s individual strengths and with people who have very diverse ways of playing,” says Contemporary Improvisation department co-chair Hankus Netsky. “Streams features at least six different ensembles – from Coleman’s CI Ensemble, Survivors Breakfast, to NEC’s CI Chamber Ensemble, Jewish Music Ensemble, Contemporary Rock ensemble, The Ted Reichman Ensemble and carefully selected duos and trios. In today’s world, this creation of musical diversity through a democratic and collaborative process should be celebrated.”

Collaborations with the CI department’s faculty, students, and programming become the musical vehicles for a groundbreaking work that is at once unique and personal, going beyond genre to achieve an overarching unity of compositional approaches.

Anthony Coleman

Pianist/composer Anthony Coleman has been one of the key figures of New York music for nearly four decades. His work bridges the gap between composition and improvisation, Uptown and Downtown, and spans a wide range of genres and practices including free improvisation, jazz, Jewish music (of various types), and contemporary chamber music.

At the dawn of the 1980s, after earning a bachelor’s degree from New England Conservatory and a master’s degree in composition from the Yale University School of Music, Coleman immersed himself in New York City’s forward-thinking circle of genre-confounding composers and improvisers that would come to be known as the Downtown Scene. The first two records Coleman played on, Glenn Branca’s Lesson No. 1 and John Zorn’s Archery, are classics of a then-emerging avant garde.

Balancing a powerful sense of structural logic and expressionistic color, Coleman has had a prolific career as a composer. His works have been commissioned by the Concert Artist Guild, the Jerome Foundation, the Ruhrtriennale, the Festival Banlieues Blues, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars, among others. He has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer and more.

He has presented his own work at the Sarajevo Jazz Festival (Bosnia), North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), Saalfelden Festival (Austria), and the Krakow and Vienna Jewish Culture Festivals. Ensembles led by Coleman have recorded extensively for Tzadik and include the trio Sephardic Tinge and Selfhaters Orchestra. He has also toured and recorded with John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Marc Ribot, Shelley Hirsch, Roy Nathanson, and many others.

Coleman has recorded 15 CDs under his own name, and has played on more than 150. His most recent recordings are You (New World) and The End of Summer (Tzadik). His Damaged by Sunlight (2010) was issued on DVD by the French label La Huit.

He has been a member of the faculty of New England Conservatory since 2006 and has also taught at Bennington College, the Bard MFA program, and the Mannes College of Music.

About New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Program

Founded in 1972 by musical visionaries Gunther Schuller and Ran Blake, New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation  (CI) program is “one of the most versatile in all of music education” (JazzEd). CI trains composers, performers, and 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 thirty-three years, the program grew considerably and has expanded its offerings under current co-chairs Hankus Netsky and 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 more than 50 undergrad and graduate students from 14 countries.

About New England Conservatory

Celebrating its 150th anniversary, New England Conservatory (NEC) is recognized internationally as a leader among music schools, educating and training musicians of all ages from around the world. With music students representing more than 40 countries, NEC cultivates a diverse, dynamic community for students, providing them with performance opportunities and high-caliber training by 225 internationally-esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. NEC pushes the boundaries of making and teaching music through college-level musical training in classical, jazz and Contemporary Improvisation. It offers unique interdisciplinary programs such as Entrepreneurial Musicianship and Community Performances & Partnerships that empower students to create their own musical opportunities. As part of NEC's mission to make lifelong music education available to everyone, the Preparatory School and School of Continuing Education delivers training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students and adults.

Founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1867 by Eben Tourjée, NEC created a new model of conservatory that combined the best of European tradition with American innovation. NEC is at the center of Boston’s rich cultural history and musical life offering concerts performed in NEC’s renowned venue Jordan Hall. Alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios and arts management positions worldwide.

Program for Streams by Anthony Coleman

Alap for Peter Row
            Hankus Netsky, oboe
            Eden MacAdam-Somer, viola
            Anthony Coleman, piano

            Jewish Music Ensemble (directed by Hankus Netsky)
            Elise Leavy, voice
            Caroline Kuhn, voice
            Julia Cohen, voice/uke
            Matthew Shifrin, voice/accordion
            Sophie Wang, fiddle
            Daniel Cetlin, violin
            Daniel Hirsch, trumpet
            Daniel Ackermann, tenor sax
            Jon Dewitt, banjo/guitar
            Alexandra Greenwald, melodica
            Utsav Lal, piano
            Grace Ward, bass
            Bulut Gulen, trombone
            Chenchu Rong, marimba
            Peiying Li, drums

To Tell, Amputationally
Survivors Breakfast (directed by Anthony Coleman)
Isaiah Johnson, Barrett Ham - bass clarinets
Daniel Bitran, clarinet
Gabriel Garcia, alto sax
Luke Fieweger, bassoon
Rubin Hohlbein, trumpet
Alexander Whiting, mandolin
Magdalena Abrego, guitar
Cole Blouin, guitar
Steven Long, piano
Ross Wightman, bass
Taichiro Ei, drums

For C.C. and C.W.
            Ted Reichman Ensemble (directed by Ted Reichman)
            Will Kubas, voice
            Sara Pajunen, violin
            Gabriel Garcia, alto sax
            Jake Zaslav, trumpet
            Matthew Okun, guitar
            Sunniva Brynnel, accordion
            Thomas Davis, piano/keyboard
            Monic Chen, piano/keyboard
            Taichiro Ei, vibraphone

            Steven Long, piano

            DoYeon Kim, gayageum
            Anthony Coleman, piano

            Rubin Hohlbein, trumpet
            Gabriel Garcia, alto sax

Pretty Pressure
            Sam Jone, voice
            Hope Wilk, harp
            Cole Blouin, guitar
 Ross Wightman, bass
            Robert Murphy,electronics
            Taichiro Ei, percussion
            Priya Carlberg, voice
            Melissa Weikart, voice
            Jeffrey Cox, trumpet

            Tanya Kalmanovitch, viola
            Ted Reichman, accordion
            Anthony Coleman, piano

Cross Currents 1982
            CI Chamber Music Ensemble (directed by Eden MacAdam-Somer)
Ana Lopez, voice
Stuart Ryerse, recorder
Emma Gies, violin/voice
Eden MacAdam-Somer, viola
Jon Dewitt, guitar
Muqi Li, guzheng
Adam Tuch, piano
Taichiro Ei, drums

            Contemporary Rock Ensemble (directed by Lautaro Mantilla)
            Billy Yang, alto sax
            Thomas Abbott, guitar
            Chiwei Lo, keyboard
            Melissa Weikart, piano/ voice
            Magdalena Abrego, guitar
            Matthew Okun, bass
            Taichiro Ei, drums

April 5, 2018
            Unchu Pyon, Eden MacAdam-Somer, voice
            Alexandra Greenwald, melodica
            Daniel Bitran, Dan O'Brien, clarinet
            Isaiah Johnson, bass clarinet
            Hankus Netsky, oboe
            Rubin Hohlbein, trumpet
            Matthew Shifrin, Sunniva Brynnel, accordion
            DoYeon Kim, gayageum
            Gabriel Garcia, Billy Yang, alto sax
            Daniel Ackerman, tenor sax
            Alec Whiting, mandolin
            Magdalena Abrego, Cole Blouin, guitar
            Matthew Okun, electric bass
            Steven Long, harmonium
            Anthony Coleman, piano
            Taichiro Ei, drums

            Eden MacAdam-Somer – conductor