Vijay Iyer Presents Two Concerts And Symposium At Harvard On April 3 + 4 | Shore Fire Media

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6 March, 2020Print

Vijay Iyer Presents Two Concerts And Symposium At Harvard On April 3 + 4

Vijay Iyer Presents Two Concerts And Symposium At Harvard On April 3 + 4 That Shine Bright Light On Radical Sonic Imaginings Of African Diaspora: Black Speculative Musicalities - The Fromm Players Concerts 

Featuring Meshell Ndegeocello, Roscoe Mitchell Quartet, Yvette Janine Jackson’s Radio Opera Workshop, Val Jeanty’s Nitebjuti, And Imani Uzuri's Conjure Woman

Composer-Trumpet player Wadada Leo Smith begins the week with Harvard's Elson Lecture on March 31

On April 3 and 4 at Harvard University, pianist and composer Vijay Iyer will present Black Speculative Musicalities: The Fromm Players Concerts, a festival and symposium created to shine a bright light on the radical sonic imaginings of the African diaspora. The events will honor the artists who, through their powerful imaginations, have challenged and expanded our notions of what music is, what it can be, and what it can do. The performers include Meshell Ndegeocello, Roscoe Mitchell Quartet, Val Jeanty’s NiteBjuti, Imani Uzuri, and Yvette Janine Jackson’s Radio Opera Workshop. Iyer has been a Professor of the Arts at Harvard since 2014, with joint affiliations with the Department of Music and the Department of African and African American Studies. 

Black Speculative Musicalities: The Fromm Players Concerts, curated by Vijay Iyer

Friday, April 3: Visionary singer/songwriter/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello presents her ensemble with Chris Bruce, Jebin Bruni, and Abraham Rounds. Kicking off this evening is Harvard composer and sound artist Yvette Janine Jackson’s Radio Opera Workshop featuring Esperanza SpaldingTia FullerRajna Swaminathan, Davindar Singh, Taiga Ultan, and Judith Hamann. 

Saturday, April 4: NEA 2020 Jazz Master Roscoe Mitchell (founding member of the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago) brings his Quartet (Mitchell, saxophones, flutes, percussion; Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet; Junius Paul, bass; Vincent Davis, drums). Vocalist, composer and librettist Imani Uzuri performs her solo cantata, Conjure Woman. Fusing electronics and African Vodou rhythms, Val Jeanty presents her project NiteBjuti(Jeanty, Candice Hoyes, Mimi Jones).

Doors at 8:30, shows at 9pm. Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge

April 4 Black Speculative Musicalities: A Symposium. In conjunction with the concerts, there will be a public symposium on Black Speculative Musicalities bringing together scholars, artists, and students in a series of talks from 10:30am to 4:00 in the Thompson Room of the Barker Center, 112 Quincy Street, Cambridge. Confirmed speakers include 2019 MacArthur Fellow Saidiya Hartman, scholar and activist Shana Redmond, prolific cultural critic Greg Tate, innovative gospel scholar and practitioner Braxton Shelley, Vijay Iyer, and others. 

The symposium is free and open to the public. Free tickets for the two concerts are required and will available beginning March 6 at noon online or in person at the Loeb Drama Center Box Office, open 12-6 Tuesday through Sunday: 

Tickets are not required for the March 31 event with Wadada Leo Smith.  

More information here:

Earlier in the same week, in a fortuitous thematic confluence, legendary composer-performer Wadada Leo Smith will deliver the Harvard University Department of Music's annual Louis C. Elson Lecture, titled "Create: Its philosophy and practice" at Paine Hall, 3 Oxford Street, on March 31 at 5:15pm. This event will also include a performance by the trio of Smith on trumpet, Vijay Iyer on piano and electronics, and Andrew Cyrilleon drums.

Along with these events and his role as a mentor at Harvard, Vijay Iyer has planned a tremendous year of activity that includes the debut of new compositions in addition to a wide range of collaborations and performances. These include the premiere of Ghosts Everywhere I Go at the University of Chicago on May 15, a newly commissioned piece inspired by the writings of poet, sociologist, comic book author and University of Chicago professor Eve Ewing. The performance will feature Jeff Parker, Tomeka Reid, Joel Ross, Nick Dunston, Jeremy Dutton, Julian Otis and Eden Girma. In June Iyer will perform at London’s Wigmore Hall, where he is the Composer In Residence for the 2019/2020 season. There he will present several of his concert works with Aurora Orchestra, including Crisis ModesSong For FlintMusicalities, Mozart Effects and The Law of Returns. And in August Iyer will return to the Banff International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music as Artistic Director alongside his longtime collaborator and co-Artistic Director Tyshawn Sorey. Since 2013, Iyer has directed this three-week intensive workshop for emerging artists.    

Full schedule is below.  

A 2013 MacArthur Fellow and 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist, Iyer has been voted DownBeat Magazine's Artist of the Year four times in the past 8 years. He has been voted Artist of the Year in Jazz Times' Critics' and Readers' Polls for 2017. His previous Vijay Iyer Trio release, Break Stuff, was issued by ECM in 2015. 


Vijay Iyer’s upcoming performance itinerary

Mar 14 - Fort Worth, TX - Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth - with Jennifer Koh (Violin)

Mar 21 - Cologne, Germany - Kölner Philharmonie - with Craig Taborn

April 3-4 - Cambridge, MA - Harvard University - [curation] Black Speculative Musicalities: THE FROMM PLAYERS CONCERTS 

Apr 17 - New York, NY - Engelman Recital Hall, Baruch Performing Arts Center - with Wadada Leo Smith

April 24 - New Haven, CT - Yale Center for British Art - with The Ritual Ensemble

May 15 - Chicago, IL - Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago - premiere of Iyer's new work Ghosts Everywhere I Go featuring Jeff Parker, Tomeka Reid, Joel Ross, Nick Dunston, Jeremy Dutton, Julian Otis, Eden Girma, and poet Eve Ewing

May 17 - June 5 - New Smyrna Beach, FL - Atlantic Center For The Arts - artist residency

June 10 - London, UK - Wigmore Hall - with Aurora Orchestra

June 12-13 - New York, NY - Jazz Gallery - with Henry Threadgill and Dafnis Prieto

June 16-21 - New York, NY - Village Vanguard: June 16-19 Vijay Iyer Trio with Tyshawn Sorey and Linda May Han Oh; June 20 and 21 Vijay Iyer Trio with Stephan Crump, Jeremy Dutton, and special guest Wadada Leo Smith