Tag Archive for Braxton

The New Yorker Profiles New Wes Faculty Member Sorey MA ’11

Tyshawn Sorey MA ’11 will join the Wesleyan faculty this fall. (Photo by John Rogers)

“Tyshawn Sorey Defeats Preconceptions,” proclaims the The New Yorker headline on a profile of Wesleyan’s newest assistant professor of music, Tyshawn Sorey MA ’11, who will join the Wesleyan faculty this fall. “The prodigious multi-instrumentalist and composer transcends the borders of jazz, classical, and experimental music.”

Braxton Receives the Nation’s Highest Honor in Jazz

Anthony Braxton (Photo by Carolyn Wachnicki)

Anthony Braxton (Photo by Carolyn Wachnicki)

Composer, saxophonist, clarinetist, flutist, pianist and music educator Anthony Braxton was named a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master for his unique approaches to jazz. The award is considered the nation’s highest honor in the field.

Braxton, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, will receive a $25,000 award along with the honor.

According to the NEA, Braxton’s compositions “almost defy categorization through his use of the improvised and rhythmic nature of jazz but moving it in a more avant-garde direction, such as in his Ghost Trance Music compositions.”

Braxton, who was born in Chicago, Ill. has redefined the boundaries of American music for more than 40 years. Drawing on such lifelong influences as jazz saxophonists Wayne Marsh and Albert Ayler, innovative American composers John Cage and Charles Ives and pioneering European Avant-Garde figures Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis, he created a unique musical system, with its own classifications and graphics-based language that embraces a variety of traditions and genres while defying categorization of its own.

In 2010, Braxton revived the Tri-Centric Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that supports his ongoing work and inspires the next generation of creative artists to pursue their own visions with the kind of idealism and integrity Braxton has demonstrated throughout his distinguished career. The foundation also documents, archives, preserves and disseminates Braxton’s scores, writings, performances and recordings and advocates for a broader audience, appreciation, funding and support base for Braxton’s work.

Braxton, who taught “The Music Of Coltrane, Mingus and Cole” and “Materials and Principals of Jazz Improvisation” this year at Wesleyan, has received many awards including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2009 honorary doctorate from the Université de Liège, Belgium, a 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a 2013 New Music USA Letter of Distinction. His next four-act opera, Trillium J, will be premiered in April 2014 at Brooklyn’s Roulette.

Jason Moran, jazz pianist, composer, and artistic advisor for jazz at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, noted, “Anthony Braxton’s expansive catalog has always been an inspiration. [He is] a beautiful artist in every sense of the word: performer, composer, educator, co-conspirator. Braxton is a supreme improviser and composer who searches with sounds.”

Braxton and fellow award recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony and concert on Jan. 13, 2014, at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Read Braxton’s full bio on the NEA website here.

Read coverage of Braxton’s award in the Los Angeles Times here, and in the Chicago Tribune here.

Braxton Honored with Prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award

Anthony Braxton. (Photo by Jason Guthartz)

Anthony Braxton. (Photo by Jason Guthartz)

Anthony Braxton, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, has been honored with the 2013 Doris Duke Artist Award, one of the country’s most prestigious awards for individual artists. It comes with a $225,000 honorarium.

Braxton is a composer, saxophonist, teacher and philosopher with a career spanning half a century. He is also the founder of The Tri-Centric Foundation, a nonprofit that cultivates and inspires the next generation of creative artists to pursue their own visions with the kind of idealism and integrity Braxton has demonstrated throughout his long and distinguished career. The foundation also documents, archives, preserves and disseminates Braxton’s scores, writings, performances and recordings.

According to Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, the Doris Duke Artist Award “complements Prof. Braxton’s earlier ‘genius grant’ from the MacArthur Foundation [in 1994], and serves as an ongoing recognition of his unique and long-lasting contribution to the performing arts in America and internationally.” At Wesleyan, Braxton is known for his close mentoring of students, many who have gone on to become prominent figures in the New York music world and abroad, said Slobin.

“As Braxton has signaled that he will retire in December, it seems a particularly timely moment to salute both his current standing and his more than two decades of University service,” he added.

The Doris Duke Artist Awards “invest in exemplary individual artists in contemporary dance, jazz, theatre and related interdisciplinary work who have proven their artistic vitality and commitment to their field,” according to the award website. In addition to an unrestricted monetary award, recipients are also given access to special goal assessment tools, financial and legal counseling, and conferences with peer-to-peer learning opportunities

Artists may not apply for the award. Candidates are selected from a pool of artists who have won at least three national grants, awards, accolades or fellowships in the past 10 years. An anonymous panel of performing arts professionals then review eligible candidates, assessing “the quality of the artist’s work, the maturity of the artistic voice, the value of a grant at this moment in their careers, and the dedication of the artist to continue to move forward with creativity and curiosity.

Braxton Honored by New Music USA for Contribution to Contemporary Music

Anthony Braxton

Anthony Braxton

Anthony Braxton, the John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, received a New Music USA award in the Letters of Distinction category for 2013. This honor has been awarded annually since 1964 and recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the field of contemporary American music.

Braxton is the founder of The Tri-Centric Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that cultivates and inspires the next generation of creative artists to pursue their own visions with the kind of idealism and integrity Braxton has demonstrated throughout his long and distinguished career. The foundation also documents, archives, preserves and disseminates Braxton’s scores, writings, performances and recordings and advocates for a broader audience, appreciation, funding and support base for Braxton’s work.

Other 2013 Letters of Distinction recipients include John Kander, John Luther Adams, William Kraft and Pacific Serenades. Previous recipients include Leonard Bernstein, Joan Tower, Dizzy Gillespie, Michael Tilson Thomas, Virgil Thomson, the Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can, Dawn Upshaw and John Cage, who was affiliated with Wesleyan from the 1950s until his death in 1992.

 

6 Faculty to be Appointed to Endowed Professorships

Rob Rosenthal, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, announced that six faculty members are being appointed to endowed professorships, effective July 1. They include:

Anthony Braxton and Neely Bruce, professors of music, are being jointly awarded the John Spencer Camp Professorship of Music, established by a Wesleyan Trustee in 1929.

Jill Morawski, professor of psychology, professor of science in society, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, will become the Wilbur Fisk Osborne Professor. The Osborne Professorship was established with a gift from Wesleyan’s 1861 class valedictorian.

Laurie Nussdorfer, professor of history, professor of letters, is appointed to the William F. Armstrong Professorship, established in 1921 with a gift from Armstrong’s estate.

Joel Pfister, professor of English, professor of American studies, formerly Kenan Professor of the Humanities, is being recognized with the Olin Professorship, established in 1863 to fund a professorship of “rhetoric and English literature.”

Joe Siry, chair and professor of art history, will become the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the Humanities (a position also held by Clark Maines). These professorships were established in 1976, with an endowment from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.

Brief biographical sketches of all six recipients follow:

Braxton Honored at Tri-Centric Foundation Benefit Show

Anthony Braxton, professor of music was honored at the “Tri-Centric Modeling: Past, Present and Future” benefit concerts June 18-19 in Greenwich Village and Brooklyn, N.Y. Braxton joined the performance at points, playing with his former students Taylor Ho Bynum ’98, James Fei ’99, Mary Halvorson ’02, and Chris Jonas ’99. Proceeds from the concerts benefited the nonprofit Tri-Centric Foundation, set up to archive Braxton’s work and perpetuate his exuberant legacy.

Braxton performed excerpts from his new opera, “Trillium E,” which featured a cross-section of past and present collaborators, including pianist Marilyn Crispell, drummer Gerry Hemingway and cornetist Ho Bynum.

In a June 10 New York Times article, Braxton was described as “the indefatigably ambitious multireedist and composer (who) has exerted a powerful influence on the American avant-garde of the last 35 years.”

Braxton to Teach Drummer/Composer Tyshawn Sorey

Drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey will take an extended break to study composition with “avant-garde avatar” Anthony Braxton, professor of music, in a master’s program at Wesleyan.

According to a July 2009 article in Time Out New York, Sorey shares an earnest, seeking quality with Braxton, who also has upset convention, particularly in terms of what kind of music African-Americans schooled in jazz are supposed to make.

“Quiet as it’s been kept,” Sorey says, “people would tell me to my face that this is not like ‘real’ black music. To me, it’s a very serious problem.”

Sorey has had stints with headstrong leaders like Dave Douglas and Steve Coleman, saxophonist Steve Lehman and pianist Vijay Iyer.