August-10th-2005, 02:22 PM
Saxophonist and Composer Braxton celebrated at festival
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WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS AND MUSIC DEPARTMENT FÊTE SEMINAL SEXAGENARIAN, SAXOPHONIST, COMPOSER AND THINKER IN ANTHONY BRAXTON AT 60: A CELEBRATION, SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 2005
Middletown, CT, August 9, 2005-Seminal saxophonist, composer, thinker, MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship recipient and Wesleyan University professor Anthony Braxton will celebrate his 60th birthday with an extended series of discussions and performances investigating and celebrating his prolific body of work alongside scholars, students, and professional musicians. Co-sponsored by Wesleyan’s Music Department and Center for the Arts, ANTHONY BRAXTON AT 60: A CELEBRATION spans September, November and December 2005, divided into three parts over the three months. Single tickets to BRAXTON AT 60 are available and some events are free. For more information call 860-685-3355 or visit www.wesleyan.edu/music/events/braxtonat60.
Widely acknowledged as one of the great figures in music of the late 20th century, Braxton’s work as a saxophonist and composer has broken new conceptual and technical ground in the jazz and experimental musical traditions as defined by legends such as John Coltrane, Paul Desmond and Ornette Coleman, by he and his own peers in the historic Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in Chicago, and by composers such as Charles Ives, John Cage, Arnold Schoenberg, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. His recordings and writings have received critical praise and span four decades. His past collaborators include Leo Smith, Dave Holland, Chick Corea, George Lewis, Max Roach, Hank Jones, Marilyn Crispell and Mark Dresser.
Born June 4, 1945, Braxton began to play music in his teens. He attended the Chicago School of Music and Roosevelt University, studying music and philosophy. Upon discharge from the army in 1966, he returned to Chicago and joined the AACM, formed the trio Creative Construction Company and released For Alto, the first full-length solo saxophone album, which has since been acclaimed as one of the greatest saxophone recordings ever made. In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, Braxton lived and performed in both Paris and New York, recording for the Arista label. He began his teaching career at Mills College in the 1980s before joining the Wesleyan University Music Department faculty, where he leads ensembles and teaches music composition and history while continuing to expand his catalog of compositions and performing around the world.
Part I of BRAXTON AT 60 opens with a Music Department Colloquium on Wednesday, September 14 at 4:15pm (Daltry Room), during which scholars and historians will discuss the impact of Braxton’s work. The discussion serves as a prelude to Braxton’s own Solo Saxophone performance of his language music compositions on Thursday, September 15 at 8pm (Crowell Concert Hall, tickets $10 general, $8 non-Wesleyan students and seniors). On Friday, September 16 at 8pm, the Braxton Trumpet Ensemble will premiere Composition 103 for 7 Trumpets, followed by the U.S. premiere of Diamond Curtain / Wall Trio, a piece which includes live electronic music and features Braxton on reeds, Taylor Ho Bynum (MA’04), brass, and Thomas Crean (MA’04), electric guitar (Crowell Concert Hall, tickets $10 general, $8 non-Wesleyan students and seniors). On Saturday, September 17 at 8pm, Braxton’s current core ensemble, the Ghost Trance Twelvetet, will perform some of Braxton’s newest compositions (Crowell Concert Hall, tickets $10 general, $8 non-Wesleyan students and seniors).
Part II opens on November 16 with a series of Braxton’s complete works for solo piano, performed by Belgian pianist Genevieve Foccroulle. Wednesday, November 16 features the 1st Concert of his Complete Piano Works at 8pm, followed by the 2nd Concert on Friday, November 18 at 8pm, a performance of Composition 171 for Piano and Constructed Environment on Saturday, November 19 at 3pm, and the 3rd Concert on Sunday, November 20 at 8pm. All four concerts will be held in the Memorial Chapel (Wesleyan University, 221 High St.), tickets $10 general, $8 non-Wesleyan students and seniors.
Part III, which concludes the BRAXTON AT 60 celebration, presents Braxton’s works for larger ensembles, orchestras, and brings together many of Braxton’s past collaborators together on the stage to play his music. Anthony Braxton’s Large Ensemble will perform on Wednesday, December 7 at 8pm (Crowell Concert Hall, tickets $5), followed by the Anthony Braxton Alumni Concert on Friday, December 9 at 8pm (Crowell Concert Hall, tickets $10 general, $8 non-Wesleyan students and seniors). The concert finale of Braxton at 60 will feature at least two of his works for full orchestra, including Compositions 23 and 27, at his Orchestra Music concert on Saturday, December 10 at 8pm (Crowell Concert Hall, tickets $10 general, $8 non-Wesleyan students and seniors).
Throughout September, November and December, aspects of Braxton’s music system will be performed in public spaces throughout the Wesleyan University campus, bringing his work into direct contact with the community in a series of Syntactical Ghost Trance Duos. BRAXTON AT 60 will also feature pre-concert talks with specialists and notable music scholars Hugo de Craen, Mike Heffley (author of two books on Braxton as well as NORTHERN SUN, SOUTHERN MOON: EUROPE'S REINVENTION OF JAZZ), John Szwed (author of SPACE IS THE PLACE: THE LIVES AND TIMES OF SUN RA) and Kevin Whitehead (author of NEW DUTCH SWING).
More information about these events, which are free to the public, may be found on the BRAXTON AT 60 website as they are announced.
The Center for the Arts (www.wesleyan.edu/cfa) is an 11-building complex on the Wesleyan campus that houses the departments of art and art history, music, theater and dance as well as film studies events and classes. It serves as a cultural center for the region, the state and New England. The CFA includes the 400-seat Theater, the 260-seat Cinema, the World Music Hall (a non-Western performance space), the 414-seat Crowell Concert Hall and the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.
Tickets for ANTHONY BRAXTON AT 60: A CELEBRATION may be purchased via phone or in person at the box office. The University Box Office is located on the first floor of the Davenport Campus Center (222 Church Street). Performers and schedule are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, call 860-685-3355 or visit www.wesleyan.edu/music/events/braxtonat60.
3 Compositions of New Jazz (Delmark, 1968)
For Alto (Delmark, 1968)
Anthony Braxton Live (Bluebird, 1972)
The Montreux/Berlin Concerts (Arista, 1975)
Quartet (Dortmund) 1976 (hatART, 1976)
Composition No. 96 (Leo, 1981)
Victoriaville 1988 (Victo, 1988)
Eight (+3) Tristano Compositions, 1989: For Warne Marsh (hatART 1989)
Quartet (Santa Cruz) 1993 hatART 1993)
Sextet (Istanbul) 1996 (Braxton House, 1996)
Ninetet (Yoshi’s) 1997, Vol. 3 (Leo, 2005)
"One of the greatest sax players and composers in contemporary jazz.”-The Warsaw Voice, 2005
"Braxton's compositions are at once self-consciously cerebral, yet delivered with a gritty roughness.”-The Independent, 2004
"... extraordinary multi-sax virtuoso”-The Guardian, 2004
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