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Los Angeles Philharmonic Presents World Premiere Of New Work By Iconic Composer And Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith on March 8


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A new work by groundbreaking composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic will be premiered on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. The new work, part of Smith’s Earth series, is titled “Gondwana: Earth, a Blue Sanctuary, Oceans, Seas, Lakes, Rivers, Springs and Lagoons; Paradise Gardens and Skies.” Members of the LA Phil New Music Group as well as cellist and co-curator Jay Campbell will be featured on the performance, which will be conducted by Vimbayi Kaziboni. Also on the program are works by co-curator inti iggis-vizueta, as well as Liza Lim and Thomas Meadowcroft. The event, which includes a pre-concert talk, takes place at Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 South Grand Ave, Los Angeles. Tickets are $20 – $63. For more information, go here.

This event is part of Smith’s celebration of his 80th birthday, December 18, 2021. Included are six major projects on TUM Records comprising 22 CDs, numerous world premieres, inclusion in a film and concerts and residencies at Harvard, The New School, Other Minds Festival, CSO Sessions of the Chicago Symphony and more. In addition to the LA Phil premiere, upcoming albums, events and honors include:

  • Friday, May 20, 2022 – Wadada Leo Smith: String Quartets No. 1 – 12 – TUM Records
    A landmark achievement, this major box set featuring seven CDs presents 12 of Smith’s String Quartets, the first written beginning in 1965. Performing are the RedKoral Quartet – Shalini Vijayan, Mona Tian, Andrew McIntosh and Ashley Walter – plus featured soloists including Smith, Anthony Davis, Alison Bjorkedal, Thomas Buckner, Lynn Vartan, Stuart Fox and more.

  • Friday, May 20, 2022 – Wadada Leo Smith: Emerald Duets – TUM Records
    Box set with four CDs, one each featuring Smith in duets with Pheeroan AkLaff, Han Bennink, Andrew Cyrille and Jack DeJohnette. This set adds to Smith’s long history of duo recordings with some of the greatest drummers in the history of creative music.

  • Mon-Tues, May 23 & 24 – Wadada Leo Smith – RedKoral Quartet LAXArt, Los Angeles, CA
    The RedKoral Quartet–Shalini Vijayan, Mona Tian, Andrew McIntosh and Ashley Walter–in the world premiere performances of Smith’s String Quartets No. 11,12 and 13. Vocalist Karen Parks, a soprano, joins the quartet on String Quartet No. 13.

  • Tuesday, June 21 – Wadada Leo Smith to receive The Vision Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award
    On this special occasion, Smith will present new work for the opening of the festival. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY

  • About Wadada Leo Smith

    Trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist and composer Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most boldly original and influential artists of his time. Transcending the bounds of genre or idiom, he distinctly defines his music, tirelessly inventive in both sound and approach, as “Creative Music."

    For the last five decades, Smith has been a member of the legendary AACM collective, pivotal in its wide-open perspectives on music and art in general. He has carried those all-embracing concepts into his own work, expanding upon them in myriad ways.

    Throughout his career, Smith has been recognized for his groundbreaking work. A finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, he received the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and earned an honorary doctorate from CalArts, where he was also celebrated as Faculty Emeritus. In addition, he received the Hammer Museum's 2016 Mohn Award for Career Achievement “honoring brilliance and resilience." In 2018 he received the Religion and The Arts Award from the American Academy of Religion.

    Smith regularly earns multiple spots on the DownBeat International Critics Poll and has won poll in the categories of Best Jazz Artist, Trumpeter and Jazz Album of the Year. The Jazz Journalists Association has also honored Smith as their Musician of the Year, Trumpeter of the Year, Composer of the Year, and Duo of the Year for his work with Vijay Iyer. He has also earned top billing as Artist of the Year and Composer of the Year in the JazzTimes Critics Poll as well as top spots on the NPR Jazz Critics Poll.

    In October 2015 The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago presented the first comprehensive exhibition of Smith's Ankhrasmation scores, which use non- standard visual directions, making them works of art in themselves as well as igniting creative sparks in the musicians who perform them. In 2016, these scores were also featured in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and Kadist in San Francisco.

    Born December 18, 1941 in Leland, Mississippi, Smith's early musical life began at age thirteen when he became involved with the Delta blues and jazz traditions performing with his stepfather, bluesman Alex Wallace. He received his formal musical education from the U.S. Military band program (1963), the Sherwood School of Music (1967-69), and Wesleyan University (1975-76).

    Smith has released more than 60 albums as a leader on labels including ECM, Moers, Black Saint, Tzadik, Pi Recordings, TUM, Leo and Cuneiform. His diverse discography reveals a recorded history centered around important issues that have impacted his world, exploring the social, natural and political environment of his times with passion and fierce intelligence. His 2016 recording, America’s National Parks earned a place on numerous best of the year lists including the New York Times, NPR Music and many others. Smith’s landmark 2012 civil rights opus Ten Freedom Summers was called “A staggering achievement [that] merits comparison to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme in sobriety and reach.” His most recent recordings include 2021’s Sacred Ceremonies, a 3 CD set featuring Smith, Bill Laswell & Milford Graves; Trumpet, a 3 CD solo trumpet set; The Chicago Symphonies a 4-album set celebrating the Midwest with his Great Lakes Quartet; and A Love Sonnet for Billie Holiday. In May 2022 TUM will release two major box sets of Smith’s work. They include Wadada Leo Smith: String Quartets No. 1- 12, a 7-CD box set featuring RedKoral Quartet plus featured soloists including Smith, Anthony Davis, Alison Bjorkedal, Thomas Buckner and more; and Wadada Leo Smith: Emerald Duets a set with 4 CDs, one each with Pheeroan akLaff, Han Bennink, Andrew Cyrille and Jack DeJohnette, adding to Smith’s long history of duo recordings with some of the greatest drummers in the history of creative music. Writing about Smith in the New York Review of Books, Adam Shatz notes: “For all the minimalism of his sound, Smith has turned out to be a maximalist in his ambitions, evolving into one of our most powerful storytellers, an heir to American chroniclers like Charles Ives and Ornette Coleman.”

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