Ars Nova Workshop is proud to announce the British Contemporary Music Festival, a two-day celebration of Britain’s extraordinary contributions to jazz and contemporary music.
 
Presented in conjunction with the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the UK’s largest international festival of new and experimental music, the festival presents compositions and performances by some of the leading pioneers of free improvisation and avant-garde composition in the UK. Renowned saxophonist/composer John Butcher will present a scintillating evening-length composition inspired in part by classical Arabic and Sufi music, while the compositional achievements of ground-breaking free improvisers Derek Bailey and Paul Rutherford, many of them world or US premieres, will be realized by a remarkable ensemble of creative musicians from the UK and Philadelphia.
 
On Friday, June 24 at FringeArts, the festival kicks off with an evening of compositions by guitarist/composer Derek Bailey and trombonist/composer Paul Rutherford, two of the artists who helped lay the foundation for European free improvisation beginning in the 1960s. The program includes the US premiere of Bailey’s realization of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Plus-Minus;” the world premiere of “Ping,” Bailey’s transliteration of the titular Samuel Beckett play, and a trio of solo guitar compositions; and the world premiere of a new version of Rutherford’s piece “Quasi-Mode” for 12 players.

Bailey co-founded Incus, the first musician-owned independent record label in the UK, with Evan Parker, Tony Oxley and Michael Walters, while his long-running Company Week festival convened a wide range of improvisers annually for nearly 20 years. Rutherford met drummer John Stevens and saxophonist Trevor Watts in 1958, laying the foundation for European free improvisation through the trio’s experiments with American jazz. He was a member of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Barry Guy’s London Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, Globe Unity Orchestra and Keith Tippett’s Centipede, and founded the group Iskra 1903, originally with Barry Guy and Derek Bailey.
 
On Saturday, June 25 at the Phialdelphia Art Alliance, the festival concludes with saxophonist/composer John Butcher and percussionist Mark Sanders performing Butcher’s hour-long composition Tarab Cuts, which was shortlisted as one of the Best Contemporary Jazz Compositions of the Year in the 2014 British Composer Awards. The concept of “tarab” stems from Arabic classical music and refers to a state of musical ecstasy, a melding of music and emotional transformation.
 
Butcher earned his PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Surrey in England before turning his full attention to music. He’s since become a vital and prolific contributor to the British contemporary music scene, both as a renowned improviser and composer. He’s well known for his solo work, often employing multitrack effects, extended techniques, and acoustic explorations of his environs. A regular duo partner with Butcher, percussionist Mark Sanders has played with many renowned musicians including Wadada Leo Smith, Derek Bailey, Henry Grimes, Roswell Rudd, Peter Brotzmann, Otomo Yoshihide and William Parker.

 

Ars Nova Workshop is proud to present its spring 2016 season, a thrillingly eclectic mix of American innovators and European masters.

MacArthur Fellow saxophonist-composer Steve Coleman and his ensemble, Five Elements, are in Philadelphia for a  two-week residency. Activities include multi-level workshops, performances, outreach, masterclasses, and more. Events and activities will happen in a variety of locations throughout the city.

Upcoming performances include:

Friday, October 9, 6-9pm
STEVE COLEMAN & FIVE ELEMENTS
Rigby Mansion, 523 East Church Lane
Free Admission, Rain or shine, BYOB, BYOBlankets

Sunday, October 11, 11pm
STEVE COLEMAN & FIVE ELEMENTS
Ortlieb’s, 847 North 3rd Street
$10 Admission

Attention Students! ADVANCED INTENSIVE WORKSHOP
Monday, October 12, 4-7pm
Tuesday, October 13, 4-7pm
Wednesday, October 14, 4-7pm
Thursday, October 15, 4-7pm
Friday, October 16, 4-7pm

The five 3-hour workshops will focus on merging intuitive and logical faculties. Sessions led by Coleman will develop individual work, demonstration, theoretical skills, and listening. Sessions led by the band will focus on ensemble demonstrations, communication, and instrumentation. Includes some public rehearsals and performances. All workshops will be held at the Rigby Mansion in Germantown. Tickets are extremely limited.

For up to date details please click here.

 

The AACM at 50

“The AACM intends to show how the disadvantaged and disenfranchised can come together and determine their own strategies for political and economic freedom, thereby determining their own destinies.” –Muhal Richard Abrams and John Shenoy Jackson

The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is without question one of the most influential music collectives of the 20th and 21st century. As individuals, its members have created singular visions and musical languages that draw on evolving traditions of Jazz, European classical music, and other world music traditions. They have created distinct music that elevates and advances what Robin D.G. Kelley refers to as “the black radical imagination.” As a collective, the AACM has been at the forefront since its inception of community-based, grassroots music education. Its musicians have long recognized the liberatory power of improvisational music to lift up communities and imagine new possibilities when there seems little hope. Historically, the AACM’s members have been active in some of the most revered moments in the development of jazz and experimental music: Chicago in the late-‘50s and ‘60s, the American ex-patriot scene in Paris in the ‘70s, the ‘70s Loft scene in New York, and New York’s Downtown scene of the ‘80s. Today, AACM members teach at some of the most esteemed, progressive music schools in the country, including Columbia, Wesleyan, University of California Irvine, and CalArts.

So much of the music that Ars Nova presents would not exist were it not for the tremendous living legacy of the AACM’s individuals. In 2005, Ars Nova celebrated the AACM’s 40th anniversary of “Great Black Music – Ancient to Future.” Over the past decade, Ars Nova has regularly presented AACM members and their students. To name a few: Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Joseph Jarman, Henry Threadgill, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, George Lewis, Leroy Jenkins, and Matana Roberts.

This year, we help celebrate the AACM’s 50th anniversary with two very special concerts. On Friday, June 5, we welcome back Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet, featuring Anthony Davis (piano), John Lindberg (bass), and Pheeron akLaff (drums). On June 12, Nicole Mitchell (flute), Tomeka Reid (cello), and Mike Reed (drums) make their Philadelphia debut. In addition to their tremendous musical outputs and critical accolades, this trio served on the AACM's executive board from 2009-11, holding the positions of Chairperson, Treasurer and Vice Chairperson respectively. These very special performances are not to be missed.  

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December 1969

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Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization.  ANW informs, inspires, and challenges listeners to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation, and experimental music in contemporary culture. ANW events provide a forum for discourse, emergent trends in contemporary music, and unique forms of cultural exchange, while nurturing a diverse community for innovative music.

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