Mary Halvorson Residency At New England Conservatory Features Live Public Concert On Thursday, October 7


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New England Conservatory’s internationally renowned Contemporary Improvisation (CI) Department hosts groundbreaking guitarist, composer, and improviser and MacArthur fellow Mary Halvorson for a three-day residency Tuesday, October 5 – Thursday, October 7. Halvorson, “one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz” (Wall Street Journal), will participate in student rehearsals, present an artist discussion about her work, coach NEC student ensembles in a masterclass, and lead a concert featuring student performances of her music.

Public and streaming events include:
  • Wednesday, October 6 – Masterclass: Mary Halvorson Coaches NEC Student Ensembles
    2:30–4:30 p.m. ET Williams Hall Open to NEC students, faculty, staff and alumni (alumni must show proof of vaccination). Livestream available to the public via the NEC website.
  • Thursday, October 7 – The Music of Mary Halvorson Concert
    8:00 p.m. ET The live concert, featuring performances and reinterpretations of Halvorson’s work, takes place in Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston. Admission is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and available here.
  • Friday, October 22, 2021- Concert Broadcast
    7:30 p.m. ET The Music of Mary Halvorson concert will be broadcast via the NEC website Free and open to the public.
The concert program includes performances of Halvorson’s My Mind I Find In Time performed by the Survivors Breakfast Ensemble directed by Anthony Coleman; The Lemon Trees and Heartdrop performed by the Ted Reichman Ensemble; Deformed Weight of Hands (No. 28), Accurate Hit and Trio No. 19: Sea Seizure performed by CI student ensembles; Old King Misfit performed by the CI Chamber Ensemble directed by Eden MacAdam-Somer; and Cold Mirrors (No. 15) performed by the full CI department.

About Mary Halvorson

Guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson has been described as “a singular talent” (Lloyd Sachs, JazzTimes), ”NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts), “one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz—or otherwise” (Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal), and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Francis Davis, Village Voice). In recent DownBeat Critics Polls Halvorson has been celebrated as guitarist, rising star jazz artist, and rising star composer of the year, and in 2019 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

Halvorson has released a series of critically acclaimed albums on the Firehouse 12 label, from Dragon’s Head (2008), her trio debut featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith, expanding to a quintet with trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon on Saturn Sings (2010) and Bending Bridges (2012), a septet with tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trombonist Jacob Garchik on Illusionary Sea (2014), and finally an octet with pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn on Away With You (2016). She also released the solo recording Meltframe (2015), and debuted Code Girl (2018), an ensemble featuring vocalist Amirtha Kidambi (singing Halvorson’s own lyrics), trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, saxophonist and vocalist María Grand, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. Code Girl’s album Artlessly Falling, featuring guest vocalist Robert Wyatt, was voted as one of the best of 2020 in the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll. Searching for the Disappeared Hour, a duo album with Sylvie Courvoisier, will be out this fall on Pyroclastic Records.

One of New York City’s most in-demand guitarists, over the past decade Halvorson has worked with such diverse musicians as Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, John Dieterich, Trevor Dunn, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Jessica Pavone, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot, and John Zorn. She is also part of several collaborative projects, most notably the longstanding trio Thumbscrew with Michael Formanek on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums.

About the NEC Contemporary Improvisation program

NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation program addresses the unique needs of musicians seeking to move beyond traditional boundaries. The department brings together a tremendously diverse group of the world’s finest young artists in a setting where they can grow in a community of composers, performers, and improvisers. With an emphasis on ear training, technique, conceptual ideas, interdisciplinary collaboration, and a wide range of improvisational traditions, the CI program is uniquely positioned to cultivate the complete 21st century global musician. Founded in 1972 by Gunther Schuller and Ran Blake, the department is “a thriving hub of musical exploration.” (Jeremy Goodwin, Boston Globe).

About New England Conservatory

New England Conservatory (NEC) is recognized internationally as a leader among music schools, educating and training musicians of all ages from around the world for over 150 years. With 800 music students representing more than 40 countries in the College, and 2,000 youth and adults who study in the Preparatory and Continuing Education divisions, NEC cultivates a diverse, dynamic community for students, providing them with performance opportunities and high-caliber training with internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. NEC’s alumni, faculty and students touch nearly every aspect of musical life in the region; NEC is a major engine of the vital activity that makes Boston a musical and cultural capital.

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