Brando Noir, Multi-Media Film Noir Extravaganza; Curated By Ran Blake And Aaron Hartley - Dedicated To The Work Of Actor Marlon Brando


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Monday, October 29 at NEC

Part of Yearlong 40th Anniversary Celebration for NEC’s Groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation Department

Blake Also To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award from NEC on Saturday

Join pianist/composer/improviser Ran Blake and co-producer Aaron Hartley as they anticipate Halloween with specimens of that most haunting genre, film noir. Now an annual tradition, this year's concert switches from a director focus to the work of an actor who brought the word “brooding" into everyday speech: Marlon Brando. The event takes place at 8 p.m. on Monday, October 29 at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston. http://www.necmusic.edu/brando-noir

The evening include a selection of scenes highlighting the depth and breadth of Brando’s career in classic American genres, including teen drama in The Wild One (1953), war saga in The Young Lions (1958), horse opera in The Appaloosa (1966), and crime thriller in The Night of the Following Day (1968).

These films were originally scored by some of Hollywood's unsung veterans: Leith Stevens, Hugo Friedhofer, Frank Skinner, Stanley Myers. Tonight, students and faculty of NEC's Contemporary Improvisation department perform along with scenes from the films, creating a real-time original score as they respond to the drama through improvisations, recompositions, and reinterpretations of the original orchestrations.

Members of Aaron Hartley’s Storyboard Noir Ensemble play a key role in this annual Film Noir concert. Each fall, ensemble members engage in a rich exploration of creating music for film, through aural study of original scores, development of student compositions in tandem with traditional repertoire, and collective improvisation. Other performers include Anthony Coleman’s Survivor’s Breakfast ensemble, CI department chair and multi-instrumentalist Hankus Netsky, Ken Schaphorst conducting the NEC Jazz Orchestra, the CI String Quartet, Full Tang, renowned vocalist Sara Serpa, The Sail Away Ladies with Sarah Jarosz, Eden MacAdam-Somer, Ari Friedman and Mia Friedman and other special guests.

This event is part of a yearlong 40th anniversary celebration for NEC’s groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation Department. Two days before this concert Blake will be honored for his work at NEC with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Former WGBH radio announcer Steve Schwartz will lead a conversation with Blake on his life in music. The presentation will also include video from two 1991 films—the French television documentary Ricky Ford Encore! featuring Ricky Ford '83, and Streaming by Christine Sandvik—as well as musical tributes by David “Knife” Fabris '90, Daryl Lowery '81, Vanessa Morris '96 G.D., Hankus Netsky, Eleni Odoni, Scott Sandvik '87, '89 M.M., and Sara Serpa '08 M.M. The tribute takes place on Saturday, October 27 at 10 a.m. in NEC’s Williams Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston.

In a career that’s spanned nearly six decades, pianist Ran Blake has created a unique niche in improvised music as an artist and educator. With a characteristic mix of spontaneous solos, modern classical tonalities, the great American blues and gospel traditions, and themes from classic Film Noir, Blake’s singular sound has earned a dedicated following all over the world. His dual musical legacy includes more than 40 albums on some of the world’s finest jazz labels, as well 40 years as a groundbreaking educator at Boston’s New England Conservatory.

Blake’s teaching approach emphasizes what he calls “the primacy of the ear,” as he believes music is traditionally taught by the wrong sense. His innovative ear and style development process elevates the listening process to the same status as the written score. This approach compliments the stylistic synthesis of the original Third Stream concept, while also providing an open, broad based learning environment that promotes the development of innovation and individuality. Musicians of note who studied with Blake at NEC include Don Byron, Matthew Shipp, and John Medeski.

This event is part of the yearlong 40th anniversary celebration for New England Conservatory’s groundbreaking Contemporary Improvisation department in Boston and New York City. Featuring many of NEC’s distinguished alumni, faculty and students, and special guests, the Boston festivities include performances by Randy Weston, Carla Kihlstedt, Gunther Schuller, Anthony Coleman, Peter Row, Judy Bressler, Bert Seager, Linda Chase (with renowned poet Jane Hirshfield), The Sail Away Ladies (featuring Sarah Jarosz, Eden MacAdam-Somer and the Friedman Sisters), Dominique Eade, Manga Rosa, The Sol Y Canto Trio, Juanito Pascual, Lissa Schneckenburger, Dave Fiuscynski, CB Calloway Brooks, Ken Schaphorst, current department chair Hankus Netsky, founding department chair Ran Blake, and much more. New York events in March 2013 include a Contemporary Improvisation Showcase featuring renowned faculty and alumni; an all-day Contemporary Improvisation Festival in Brooklyn curated by Anthony Coleman; and a panel discussion and performance highlighting NEC’s pivotal role in the revitalization of Jewish music.

Other Upcoming Contemporary Improvisation 40th Boston Events

Friday, October 26 — Contemporary Improvisation Workshop with Hankus Netsky and Eden MacAdam-Somer, from 4-6 p.m. in NEC’s Pierce Hall.

Friday, October 26 — Contemporary Improvisation Alumni Showcase featuring Manga Rosa, Sol Y Canto, Juanito Pascual, Lissa Schneckenburger, Dave Fiuscynski, and CB Calloway Brooks with Ken Schaphorst and the NEC Jazz Orchestra, co-hosted by Hankus Netsky and Judy Bressler in Jordan Hall at 8 p.m.

Saturday, October 27 — Ran Blake, A Life in Music (curated by Aaron Hartley). Featuring musical and video tributes and a live interview conducted by Hankus Netsky, as well as a book signing for Blake’s book “The Primacy of the Ear,” from 10 – 11:45 a.m. at NEC’s Williams Hall. Blake will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from NEC.

Saturday, October 27 — A “World Barn Dance” featuring the Contemporary Improvisation Department’s American Roots, Jewish Music, and World Music Ensembles, in Brown Hall at 8 p.m.

Monday, October 29 — Brando Noir, this year’s multi-media Film Noir extravaganza, curated by Ran Blake and Aaron Hartley, in Jordan Hall at NEC at 8 p.m. Now an annual Halloween tradition, this year's concert switches from a director focus to the work of the actor who brought the word “brooding" into everyday speech: Marlon Brando.

Wednesday, October 31 — Contemporary Improvisation Department Singer/Songwriter and Vocal Showcase hosted by Dominique Eade at Scullers Jazz Club at 8 p.m. *Tickets required.

Thursday November 1 — Contemporary Improvisation Night, hosted by Joe Morris at 8 p.m. at the Lily Pad. *Tickets required.

Wednesday, November 7 — The Sail Away Ladies is a groundbreaking contemporary acoustic quartet that originated as an NEC honors ensemble featuring Eden MacAdam-Somer and Mia Friedman on violin and vocals, Sarah Jarosz on mandolin, banjo and vocals, and Ariel Friedman on cello and vocals. At Club Passim, at 8 p.m. *Tickets required.

Thursday, November 29 — Rebirth of the Third Stream featuring the NEC Jazz Orchestra, directed by Ken Schaphorst in Jordan Hall at 8 p.m.

Monday, January 28, 2013 — Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation Faculty Spotlight Concert at 8 p.m. in Jordan Hall.

Tuesday, February 19 — From Third Stream to Contemporary Improvisation Co-curated by Gunther Schuller and Tanya Kalmanovitch, with a 6:15 p.m. pre-concert panel discussion in the Keller Room moderated by Tanya Kalmanovitch, featuring Gunther Schuller, Ran Blake, Allan Chase, and Hankus Netsky. 8 p.m. concert in Jordan Hall at NEC.

Wednesday, February 27 — Dominique Eade and Ran Blake at Scullers Jazz Club.

Sunday, March 3 — Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul at 7 p.m. at Boston’s Symphony Hall featuring violinist Itzhak Perlman, vocal soloist Chazan Yitzchok Meir Helfgot and musical director Hankus Netsky, Chair of NEC’s Contemporary Improvisation Department and Maestro Russell Ger with members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band and Chamber Orchestra. Presented by the Celebrity Series.

Sunday, March 10 — Violist/improviser Tanya Kalmanovitch Faculty Recital in Jordan Hall.

Monday, April 8 — Monk/Webern, a concert celebrating two 20th-century compositional masters, curated by Anthony Coleman, at 8 p.m. in Jordan Hall.

Monday, April 15 — Contemporary Improvisation Honors Ensembles: Jazz/Wild Card at 8 p.m. in Jordan Hall.

April 16 – 18 — A residency featuring pianist/composer Randy Weston, culminating in a concert with the NEC Jazz Orchestra directed by Ken Schaphorst in Jordan Hall Thursday, April 18th at 8 p.m. Weston is renowned as one of the world's foremost improvising pianists and is widely credited for his pioneering work in bringing African and Middle Eastern roots music to the world of American improvisation.

Contemporary Improvisation 40th New York Events will take place March 20 – 23rd and include CI at 40 Today's Jewish Music: From New England Conservatory to the Downtown Scene; An evening at Barbes curated by Anthony Coleman; and an all-star CI at 40 concert featuring Ran Blake, Dominique Eade, The Claudia Quintet, Christine Correa, John Medeski, Anthony Coleman and Eden MacAdam-Somer.

This story appears courtesy of Braithwaite & Katz Communications.
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