Susie Ibarra, Will Calhoun, and Milford Graves
In Conversation, moderated by Jake Nussbaum
Thursday, January 28, 2021
6:30 PM
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Program Info

All Ages


Major support for Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Joseph Robert Foundation.


Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal, organized and presented by Ars Nova Workshop and Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (ICA).

Rhythm is literally and figuratively at the heart of Milford Graves’s practice. Using a device known as an electronic stethoscope, Graves was able to hear and record the different patterns produced by each heartbeat, translating these vibrations into audible frequencies that he called heart music. Of course what he is best known for are the rhythms he produced as a percussionist, educator, healer, and spiritual guide — synthesizing lessons and rhythms from all areas into a unique and total philosophy of life.

Join us for this very special conversation as we seek to understand what rhythms do, how they transform people physically, politically, spiritually, and how they can heal.

UPDATE (1/28/2021): We’re pleased to announce that Milford Graves will be joining the conversation online.


Susie Ibarra is a Filipina-American composer, percussionist, and sound artist. Her musical approach is a combination of her Filipina heritage and a flowing jazz drum set style. Ibarra is a 2020 National Geographic Explorer grantee and 2019 United States Artist Fellow. She leads the band DreamTime Ensemble, which recently released a suite of music exploring memory and shifting sensory experiences. From 2012–2020, Ibarra has been a faculty member at Bennington College where she teaches percussion, performance, improvisation, and art intervention.

Will Calhoun is a Graduate of the Berklee College of Music where he received his degree in Recording and Engineering. Calhoun is a two-time Grammy winner with the genre bending Rock band, LIVING COLOUR. For over 25 years, he has conducted research in the Australian Outback, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Belize, and Northern Brazil to study and document the history of drums, rhythm, sonic vibrations, and their impact on modern music. Calhoun often incorporates new forms of technology into his practice. He has lectured extensively at numerous colleges and universities.

Jake Nussbaum is a multidisciplinary artist, drummer, and PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he researches the connections between creative improvisation and political activism. He is affiliated with the Center for Experimental Ethnography and a member of the band 7 Count.

Cover: Sunlight plays across a handpainted drum set (Cosmic), from Milford Graves Full Mantis, 2018, dir. Jake Meginsky and Neil Young.