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March 13, 2011, 2:30 PM

Asking the East

Music Performance & Discussion
Participants: Jane Ira Bloom, Samir Chatterjee, Jin Hi Kim, Min Xiao-Fen

Jazz musicians have often looked abroad for inspiration to invigorate their music. John Coltrane's interest in Indian music and Dizzy Gillespie's early exploration of Afro-Cuban rhythm are well known examples in jazz history. How does contemporary cross-cultural collaboration influence worldwide musical cultures? How do musicians from different cultures perceive the passage of time or the role of improvisation, and how does this affect the way they interact with one another? What are the variations in the expression of emotional depth, rhythmic vitality, and melodic narrative? Three renowned world music artists—Chinese pipa virtuoso Min Xiao Fen, Korean komungo player and composer Jin Hi Kim, and Indian tabla legend Samir Chatterjee—join jazz saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom to perform and discuss their process of creation.

Jane Ira Bloom is a soprano saxophonist, composer, and a pioneer in the use of live electronics and movement in jazz. She is the winner of the 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship in music composition, the 2007 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award for lifetime service to jazz, the Jazz Journalists Association Award, the Downbeat International Critics Poll for soprano saxophone, and the Charlie Parker Fellowship for jazz innovation. Bloom was the first musician commissioned by the NASA Art Program and has an asteroid named in her honor by the International Astronomical Union. She has recorded and produced 14 albums of her music and has composed for the American Composers Orchestra, the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, and the Pilobolus Dance Theater, integrating jazz performers in new settings. Bloom is currently on the faculty of the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in NYC. Her latest release is the critically acclaimed CD, Wingwalker.

Samir Chatterjee specializes in tabla and can be heard on numerous recordings. He holds several faculty positions and is the Founder-Director of Chhandayan, an organization that promotes and preserves Indian music and culture. Since June 2008 Chatterjee has been doing pioneering work in Afghanistan towards the country's musical revival.

Jin Hi Kim is known for her work on the komungo virtuoso (Korean fourth century fretted board zither) and for her cross-cultural compositions. She received a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for Music Composition and is Music Alive Composer in Residence with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra for 2009-2011. Kim has performed her own compositions and improvisations as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art, Royal Festival Hall (London), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), and elsewhere throughout the world.

Min Xiao-Fen is a composer and pipa player for both orchestral and underground projects. She plays traditional and modern Chinese music, interpretations of American Jazz and bluegrass, and her own compositions. She was featured soloist with the New York City Opera, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the vocal ensemble Chanticleer, the San Diego Symphony, and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, among others. Her solo concerts include the Vienna Music Festival, the Utrecht International Lute Festival, the Geneva Music Festival, the Berlin Chinese Music Festival, and the New York Guitar Festival.

This program is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties.


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