From March 11 to March 13, Ars Nova Workshop will showcase the work of widely celebrated and critically acclaimed trio Fieldwork. The three-night concert series, Composer Portrait: Fieldwork, offers a rare opportunity to experience both the collective and individual work of pianist Vijay Iyer, saxophonist Steve Lehman, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, making the series a truly unique event in the 2011 creative music calendar.
A jazz power trio for the new century" (NPR's Fresh Air), Fieldwork exemplify the new generation of forward-thinking jazz artists who are pushing the boundaries of creative music in unparalleled directions. The Composer Portrait: Fieldwork series will include a performance and pre-show discussion by the trio, as well as works composed by each group member presented by small ensembles of their choosing, including the renowned JACK Quartet.
The series will take place at Philadelphia's historic Christ Church Neighborhood House (20 North American Street, Philadelphia) in Old City. Tickets are available now online at www.arsnovaworkshop.com. Admission is $12 for a single event or $30 for a 3-Concert Pass.
The idea behind our Composer Portrait series is to elevate the composer and showcase the depth of an artist's work," says Ars Nova Workshop Director, Mark Christman. We wanted to present a series highlighting Fieldwork as an important collective, but also showing that each member of the ensemble has a lot to offer individually."
The Ars Nova presentation offers these inspiring composers a welcome platform to present the breadth of their work. Young composers are almost never provided the opportunity to showcase so many different sides of their creative output," says saxophonist and composer Steve Lehman. It's a big deal when Ornette Coleman or Wynton Marsalis get to have their chamber music performed by an internationally recognized new music ensemble. But for a young composer it's just unheard of. And to have this kind of first-class showcase for a collective of young musicians is even more rare and unique."
THE CONCERTS Tyshawn Sorey's For Kathy Change" Friday, March 11 at 8:00pm Opening night of the series will showcase the work of Fieldwork percussionist Tyshawn Sorey, who will lead an ensemble with Ben Gerstein, Kris Davis, Okkyung Lee, and Terrence McManus in a performance of For Kathy Change." The new work is named after and inspired by Kathy Change, an American performance artist and political activist who committed suicide in an act of self-immolation in 1996 on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. For 20 years she gave colorful, one-woman street performances on Penn's campus and around Philadelphia to protest the government, during which she danced, sang, played the guitar, waved handmade flags, and made speeches. Sorey's piece examines the political hope and outrage that motivated Change's struggle for social justice. Sorey has developed a unique compositional language that expresses both his robust understanding of tradition and his ability to create new musical possibilities.
Fieldwork: Steve Lehman (saxophones), Vijay Iyer (piano), Tyshawn Sorey (drums) Saturday, March 12 at 8:00pm | Pre-concert Public Discussion at 6:00pm Night two will include a rare trio performance by Fieldwork's Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey and Steve Lehman, as well as a pre-concert discussion with the trio and journalist Nate Chinen (The New York Times, JazzTimes). Celebrated for their most recent recording, 2008's critically lauded Door (Pi Recordings), Fieldwork has performed for audiences around the world. While each musician is a vibrant and singular composer with individual acclaim, the collective power of Iyer, Sorey and Lehman together as Fieldwork is unrivalled and unquestionably exhilarating. Fieldwork's music reflects each member's ties to the American jazz tradition, modern composition, African and South Asian music, underground hip-hop and electronica, and the influential music of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.
An evening of chamber works by Steve Lehman and Vijay Iyer with the JACK Quartet Sunday, March 13 at 8:00pm In the third and final showcase, Steve Lehman and Vijay Iyer present pieces written for string quartet. For this very special evening, Lehman's Nos Revi Nella" and Iyer's Mutations I-X" will be performed by the world renowned JACK Quartet (Christopher Otto, violin; Ari Streisfeld, violin; John Pickford Richards, viola; Kevin McFarland, cello). Lehman's Nos Revi Nella" debuted April, 2010 in NYC, and Mutations I-X" has been performed twice in NYC and once in Antwerp.
The JACK Quartet is breaking new ground with viscerally exciting performances" (The New York Times) of explosive virtuosity" (Boston Globe). JACK's recording of Xenakis' complete string quartets appeared on Best Of" lists from the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, New Yorker, NPR, and Time Out New York as one of 2009's most impressive recordings."
THE ARTISTS Vijay Iyer: Described by the The Village Voice as the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years," Vijay Iyer consistently earns critical praise from top music critics and is the recipient of the coveted Musician of the Year Award presented at the 2010 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards. His twelve acclaimed recordings include the trio record Historicity, which was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award, highlighted on countless best-of-year lists, and selected as the #1 Jazz Album of the Year by The New York Times, The Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio and many others. Iyer has composed orchestral and chamber works; scored for film, theater, radio and television; collaborated with poets and choreographers; and joined forces with artists in hip-hop, rock, experimental, electronic, and Indian classical music.
A polymath who holds advanced degrees from UC Berkley in Physics and a self-designed degree in Technology and the Arts, Iyer, whose writing has appeared in publications ranging from Music Perception and Journal of Consciousness Studies to Wire and The Guardian, is currently on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music, New York University and The New School.
Steve Lehman: Steve Lehman is a composer, performer, educator, and scholar who works across a broad spectrum of experimental musical idioms. Lehman's pieces for large orchestra and chamber ensembles have been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), So Percussion, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, The JACK Quartet, and by the pianist Marilyn Nonken. An alto and soprano saxophonist, Lehman has performed and recorded nationally and internationally with his own ensembles and with those led by Anthony Braxton, Dave Burrell, Mark Dresser, Vijay Iyer, Oliver Lake, Meshell Ndegeocello, David Wessel, and High Priest of Anti-Pop Consortium. His recent electro-acoustic music has focused on the development of computer-driven models for improvisation, based in the Max/MSP programming environment.
Lehman has taught undergraduate courses at Wesleyan University, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, New School University, and Columbia University, and has presented lectures at Amherst College, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, CalArts, Berklee College of Music, Cornish College of the Arts, and The Royal Academy of Music in London. His most recent recording, Travail, Transformation & Flow (Pi 2009), was chosen as the #1 Jazz Album of the year by The New York Times.
Tyshawn Sorey: One of the newest stars of New York's creative music scene, multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey is an active composer, performer, educator, and scholar. As a percussionist, trombonist, and pianist, Sorey has worked nationally and internationally with his own ensembles and with those led by Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Coleman, Lawrence D. Butch" Morris, Michele Rosewoman, Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Douglas, and Billy Bang, among many others. Both of Sorey's releases, That/Not (2007) and Koan (2009), received critical acclaim in recent years, landing on several year-end lists, and his work has been favorably reviewed in Traps, The Village Voice, The Wire, The New York Times, Modern Drummer, JazzTimes, and Downbeat Magazine, among others.
Whether playing solo or in one of his many ensembles, teaching at New York City's School of Improvisational Music, or publishing articles where critical theory probes the relationship between improvisation and composition, Sorey is perpetually engaged in the study and practice of creative music.
About Ars Nova Workshop Ars Nova Workshop (ANW) is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. ANW acts as a facilitator between artists and their audiences, while working to inform, inspire and challenge listeners in order to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation and experimental music.
Founded in 2000, ANW has programmed nearly 500 unique events in diverse settings, many located in the underserved area of West Philadelphia. Performances have included some of the most significant contributors to jazz and experimental music over the past 50 years such as Cecil Taylor, Pauline Oliveros, Tony Conrad, Merzbow, Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Bill Dixon, Fennesz and Anthony Braxton, in addition to exceptional Philadelphia-based ensembles and emerging artists from around the world.
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Composer Portrait: Fieldwork has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Music Project with support from Chamber Music America's Presenting Jazz Program, funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.