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Featured Concert

share Friday, February 27, 2009 8:00 pm   Concert Hall

Legendary Composer and Improviser Muhal Richard Abrams
A concert of improvised duets with special guest Roscoe Mitchell

Muhal Richard Abrams, piano
Roscoe Mitchell, saxophone

"As bandleader, composer, mentor, organizer, and life-long experimenter, there are few, if any, living jazz musicians who can compare with Abrams' level and degree of import."
—Matthew Sumera, One Final Note

Muhal Richard Abrams is widely recognized as one of the most influential artists in the area of contemporary improvised music. A renowned and much respected teacher, Abrams has been the guiding spirit behind the legendary Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since its formation in Chicago more than 40 years ago. AACM has inexorably become the source of some of the most innovative musical approaches of the last half-century, spreading its influence into every musical corner of America and beyond, and nurturing the international careers not only of legendary pioneers like the Art Ensemble of Chicago, but also of such musical innovators as Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, George Lewis, Amina Claudine Myers, Wadada Leo Smith, and Henry Threadgill, among many others.

Beyond his signature work with associates from AACM, Abrams' music has been performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, and the distinguished piano duo of Ursula Oppens and Frederic Rzewski. He has received commissions from the McKim Fund of the Library of Congress; New Music America; and the Kitchen Center and Bang on a Can Festival, both in New York. In 1990, Abrams was the first recipient of the prestigious international jazz award, the JAZZPAR Prize, presented by the Danish Jazz Center in Copenhagen. His catalogue of recordings is extensive, and his musical affiliations are a "who's who" of the jazz world, including Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, and Sonny Stitt.

Abrams has taught privately for many years, as well as led jazz composition and improvisation classes at the Banff Centre in Canada, Columbia University in New York City, the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. In addition to being the co-founder of the AACM, he is the founder of the AACM School of Music and president of the AACM New York Chapter. Abrams is currently the Jean Macduff Vaux Composer-in-Residence at Mills College.

"I always felt that you need to be about the work you need to do, and that's to find out about yourself. That's pretty much a full-time job. You pay close attention to others, but the work that you have to do for yourself is the most difficult. I seem to move forward every time I reflect on the fact that I don't know enough. If you feel you have something, it's very important to get that out and develop it." —Muhal Richard Abrams

This is a concert of improvised duets. There are no titled pieces.

View Program Notes

Muhal Richard Abrams Sample Performance

Roscoe Mitchell Sample Performance


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Keywords: Mills Festival

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Audio Clips
Muhal Richard Abrams (0:28)
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