Music Education Monday: A master class with Pulitzer Prize winner Henry Threadgill


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Since saxophonist and composer Henry Threadgill recently won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for music for his composition “In for a Penny, In for a Pound," this seems like an opportune Music Education Monday to share with StLJN readers a video master class with him.

Threadgill, 72, is a Chicago native who's been creating innovative music since the 1970s with a variety of ensembles, notably the trio Air with bassist Fred Hopkins and drummer Steve McCall; Very Very Circus; the seven-member Sextett; the Society Situation Dance Band; his current group, Zooid; and several others.

An original member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Threadgill (pictured) also has written music for orchestra, solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and theatre, and has released more than 30 albums as a leader or co-leader.

You can see the master class, recorded in June 2014 at the Creative Music Studio Workshop in Big Indian, NY, in the embedded video window below.

For more about Threadgill and his approach to music, read “A Door to Other Doors,” an extended interview with him originally published in 2011 in the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation; and “The Improvisational Techniques of Henry Threadgill," a analysis with notated examples by saxophonist Richard Savery.

Also, just below the embed of the master class, there's a bonus video featuring an hour-long interview with Threadgill conducted a couple of years ago for the Library Of Congress, in which he discusses his upbringing in Chicago, the AACM, his experience in Vietnam, the music of his groups Air and Zooid, and his approach to composition and improvisation.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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