New England Conservatory’s jazz faculty distinguish themselves in a lot of ways but most of all because they maintain full time live performance schedules." — Lucid Culture Blog
Members of New England Conservatory's Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation faculty come together for a rare opportunity to catch them in the act—working in combinations that may never occur outside NEC’s walls. The free concert takes place at 8 p.m. on Monday, January 28 in NEC’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston.
The concert includes solo performances by Ran Blake, Eden MacAdam-Somer, Nedelka Prescod and Norm Zocher. In addition, there will be a rare trio performance by guest saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman along with faculty members Cecil McBee and Bob Moses, and performances by Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi
, Amir Milstein, Linda Chase, Jerry Leake, Ben Schwendener and Bert Seager.
Founded in 1972 by musical visionaries Gunther Schuller and Ran Blake, New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program celebrates its 40th anniversary in the 2012-2013 season with a series of events in Boston and New York City. NEC’s CI Program trains creative musicians to broaden their musical palettes and develop unique voices as composer/performer/ improvisers and is unparalleled for its structured approach to ear training and its emphasis on singing, memorization, harmonic sophistication, aesthetic integrity, and stylistic openness. . Under Blake's guidance for its first twenty-six years, the program expanded its offerings under subsequent chairs Allan Chase and Hankus Netsky. Alumni include clarinetist/composer Don Byron, keyboardist John Medeski, pianist Jacqueline Schwab, and vocalist Aoife O'Donovan; faculty include violinist Carla Kihlstedt, iconic improvisational pianist Blake, vocalist Dominique Eade, and pianist/composer/ improviser Anthony Coleman. Appearing at a departmental event in the fall of 2011 that included world music, chamber music and free improvisation, Gunther Schuller, who coined the term Third Stream" in the 1950s and articulated the idea of the Complete Musician" during his presidency at NEC remarked: I feel that my vision for this department has now been realized." The program currently has 43 undergrad and graduate students from 15 countries.
NEC’s Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. With a faculty that has included six MacArthur genius" grant recipients (3 now teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters, and alumni that reads like a who’s who of jazz, NEC’s Jazz Studies Program, now in its 43rd year, has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: “NEC’s jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni.” The program currently has 61 undergraduate and 45 graduate students from 12 countries.