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Tyshawn Sorey's For Kathy Change
Composer Portrait: Fieldwork
“I see my instrument as being an extension of me. There are so many colors I can get out of the snare drum, or any one component of the drum set. For me it’s more about awareness of my instrument. I always know there’s so much more.” - Tyshawn Sorey
Join Ars Nova Workshop for the opening night of Composer Portrait: Fieldwork for which drummer Tyshawn Sorey will lead an ensemble featuring Ben Gerstein, Kris Davis, Okkyung Lee, and Terrence McManus in a performance of his work "For Kathy Change." This piece runs approximately three and a half hours with no intermission.
One of the newest stars of New York's creative music scene, multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey (b. Newark, N.J., 1980) is an active composer, performer, educator, and scholar who works across an extensive range of musical idioms. As a percussionist, trombonist, and pianist, Sorey has worked nationally and internationally with his own ensembles and with those led by Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Coleman, Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, Michele Rosewoman, Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Douglas, and Billy Bang, among many others. Sorey‘s work has been favorably reviewed in Traps, The Village Voice, The Wire, The New York Times, Modern Drummer, JazzTimes, The Star-Ledger, and Downbeat Magazine, and on WKCR-FM. Both of Sorey's releases, That/Not (2007) and Koan (2009), received critical acclaim in recent years, landing on several year-end lists.
Tonight, Sorey will be leading an ensemble in a performance of his piece “For Kathy Change,” inspired by and named after Kathy Change, an American performance artist and political activist who killed herself in an act of self-immolation on the University of Pennsylvania campus in 1996. For 20 years she gave colorful, one-woman street performances on Penn's campus and around Philadelphia to protest the government, during which she danced, sang, played the guitar, waved handmade flags, and made speeches. In a packet of her writings that she delivered to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily Pennsylvanian, and several of her friends and acquaintances on the morning of her death, she explained the rationale behind her suicide:
"I want to protest the present government and economic system and the cynicism and passivity of the people as emphatically as I can. But primarily, I want to get publicity in order to draw attention to my proposal for immediate social transformation. To do this I plan to end my own life. The attention of the media is only caught by acts of violence. My moral principles prevent me from doing harm to anyone else or their property, so I must perform this act of violence against myself. It is a waste of energy to get angry and gripe at the government. The government must be replaced with a truly democratic self-government of, for and by the people. Those working in industries essential to maintaining life should democratically take over their workplaces and organize an emergency economy to supply the needs of the people. The rest of the people should meet in their communities to organize a new directly democratic community-based self-government."
**Ticket Options: A $30 3-day pass for the entire Composer Portrait: Fieldwork series is purchasable here.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. As a facilitator between artists and their audiences, Ars Nova Workshop works to inform, inspire and challenge listeners in order to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation and experimental music in contemporary culture.