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New England Conservatory’s Pioneering Jazz Studies And Contemporary Improvisation Departments Present Fall 2021 Season

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Highlights include programs and performances with artists including Arturo O’Farrill, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Mary Halvorson, Dave Holland.
New England Conservatory’s internationally renowned Jazz Studies and Contemporary Improvisation (CI) Departments announce their 2021 fall season with an array of concerts featuring NEC students performing with faculty and guest artists. Highlights include the NEC Jazz Orchestra with special guest composer/pianist Arturo O’Farrill ; Grow Your Art, a music business residency and concert with composer/vocalist and MacArthur fellow Cecile McLorin Salvant; groundbreaking guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson in a residency and concert; NEC’s visiting artist-in-residence, bassist/composer and NEA Jazz Master Dave Holland in a concert with students; as well as CI Salon Nights and Jazz Ensemble Concerts featuring rising star students from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments.

The concerts are free and open to the public and are scheduled to take place in person as well as be streamed. For information, visit necmusic.edu.

Fall 2021

Thursday, September 9
Opening Night
7:30 p.m., Jordan Hall
NEC kicks off the year with a live concert featuring faculty of the Contemporary Improvisation Department, with music from Persian, Appalachian, Middle Eastern, and Jewish traditions as well as jazz, Avant-Garde, new works, and more. The concert will feature Department Chairs Eden MacAdam-Somer and Hankus Netsky, founding Chair Ran Blake, as well as Nima Janmohammadi, Dominique Eade, Liz Knowles, Greg Liszt, Mal Barsamian and many others.

Sunday, September 12
CI Open Mic
3-6 p.m., Eben Jordan Ensemble Room
Students from the Contemporary Improvisation Department share their music in live solo and small ensemble performances.

Thursday, September 23
Bassist/composer and NEA Jazz Master Dave Holland
7:30 p.m., Burnes Hall
NEC’s visiting artist in residence Dave Holland performs with NEC students.

Thursday, October 7
Music of Mary Halvorson
7:30 p.m., Jordan Hall
The concert, the pinnacle of a three-day residency, features the music of guitarist/composer/improviser Mary Halvorson, as she collaborates with CI students in performances and reinterpretations of her work.

Thursday, October 21
Panel Discussion with Arturo O’Farrill and Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, moderated by Ken Schaphorst
1 – 3 p.m., Brown Hall

Thursday, October 21
NEC Jazz Orchestra featuring Arturo O’Farrill 7:30 p.m., Jordan Hall
In collaboration with NEC’s Intercultural Institute, the NEC Jazz Orchestra will present a performance of Chico O’Farrill’s legendary “Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite” along with guest Arturo O’Farrill’s “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite.” NEC faculty member Mehmet Ali Sanlikol will also join the NEC Jazz Orchestra in a performance of his “Abraham Suite.”

Monday – Thursday, November 1– 4
CI Salon Nights and Jazz Ensemble Concerts featuring students from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments.
7 p.m., Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Sunday, November 7
Linda Chase: “For Our Common Home,” An Oratorio for Ecojustice
7:30 p.m., Brown Hall

Monday – Thursday, November 8 – 11
CI Salon Nights and Jazz Ensemble Concerts featuring students from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments.
7 p.m., Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Monday, November 15 | Tradition
7:30 p.m., Jordan Hall
For almost 50 years NEC's department of Contemporary Improvisation has fostered a community of artists interested in studying music from different cultures and the interactions between them. This concert presents musical traditions from different corners of the world, drawing on their customs, histories, and stories, honoring their roots and re-examining them from new perspectives. Audiences may hear traditional works from the Mandé West African, Irish, and Persian music ensembles, along with new student and faculty pieces exploring tradition, and what it means to us as we move through our daily lives. The purpose of this concert is not only to contemplate and celebrate tradition, but to consider its impact and role in our world today.

Monday – Wednesday, November 15 – 17
CI Salon Nights and Jazz Ensemble Concerts featuring students from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments.
7 p.m., Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Monday & Tuesday, November 22-23
CI Salon Nights and Jazz Ensemble Concerts featuring students from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments.
7 p.m., Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Monday – Wednesday, November 29-December 1
CI Salon Nights and Jazz Ensemble Concerts featuring students from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments.
7 p.m., Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Monday – Wednesday, December 6 – 8
CI Salon Nights and Jazz Ensemble Concerts featuring students from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments.
7 p.m., Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, December 13, 15, 16
CI Salon Nights and Jazz Ensemble Concerts featuring students from the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments.
7 p.m., Eben Jordan Ensemble Room

Monday – Thursday, November 29- December 2
Cécile McLorin Salvant, Grow Your Art Residency
In a week-long collaborative residency with NEC’s Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department, pioneering artist McLorin Salvant will discuss lessons learned in the music business, work closely with NEC students and present a concert in which she performs with small NEC student ensembles.

Wednesday, December 1
Grow Your Art – Pitch Night
Black Box Theater, SLPC
NEC Students & Alumni compete for $5,000 to help develop the business side of their musicianship. A competitive application process modeled on real-world grants, finalists present at this live pitch.

Thursday, December 2
Concert – McLorin Salvant performs with NEC student ensembles
7:30 p.m., Jordan Hall

Thursday, December 9
NEC Jazz Orchestra plays the music of Mary Lou Williams
7:30 p.m., Jordan Hall

Tuesday, December 14
NEC Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra
7:30 p.m., Jordan Hall
The Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra is devoted to rehearsing and performing works by NEC Jazz Composition students. Coached by 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.

About NEC’s Jazz Studies Department

The first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory, NEC’s Jazz Studies Department was the brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became president of the Conservatory in 1967. Schuller hired Carl Atkins to head the department, as well as George Russell, Jaki Byard and Ran Blake. Among the “most acclaimed and successful in the world” (JazzTimes), the program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers and has an alumni list that reads like a who's who of jazz, while the faculty has included six MacArthur “genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters. The foundation of its teaching and success begins with the mentor relationship developed in lessons between students and the prominent faculty artists. In addition to its two jazz orchestras, faculty-coached small ensembles reflect NEC’s inclusive approach to music making, with groups focused on free jazz, early jazz, gospel music, Brazilian music, and songwriting, as well as more traditional approaches to jazz performance. Each jazz student is encouraged to find their own musical voice while making connections and collaborating with a vibrant community of creative musicians, and ultimately to transform the world through the power of music.

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.

This story appears courtesy of Braithwaite & Katz Communications.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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