American Composers Orchestra bridges gap between jazz and new music

Posted on: July 28, 2010

Monday (7/26) on National Public Radio’s website, Lara Pellegrinelli writes, “Last week, Columbia University hosted the inaugural [Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute] workshop, the first of its kind and a collaborative effort between its Center for Jazz Studies and the American Composers Orchestra. The idea was to give jazz composers access and exposure to the latest compositional techniques for orchestra. Directed by trombonist and composer George Lewis [pictured], JCOI’s prestigious faculty included those well-versed in jazz and other improvising traditions—composers Derek Bermel, Fabien Levy, Anthony Davis, Tania Leon, Jane Ira Bloom and Alvin Singleton—along with Boston Modern Orchestra Project conductor Gil Rose and members of the Wet Ink ensemble. … The group of participants was as engaging as the seminar leaders: around 30 men and women from across the US and Canada ranging in age from 17 to 66. Some were students in various kinds of educational programs, but others—like guitarist Joel Harrison and bassist Rufus Reid—were professionals with decades of experience under their belts, blurring the lines between teachers and students. … To have such seasoned and sought-after musicians eager to return to the classroom speaks volumes about the need for JCOI. ‘It’s simple,’ Harrison said. ‘There are plenty of us who studied music in college and never had an orchestration class.’ ”

Posted July 28, 2010