Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Concert Line: (202) 707-5502

September 26, 1996

Muhal Richard Abrams Orchestra To Open Library of Congress Concert Season on October 10

The Library of Congress will present the Muhal Richard Abrams Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10, in the Terrace Theater of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as the opening event of its fall concert season.

Composer-pianist Muhal Richard Abrams will conduct the 19- member jazz ensemble in a program devoted to his compositions, including "Afrala," "Fluclana," "Inside the Inside," "Hearinga," "One Merge," and "Big T."

Joining the big band as guest artists are two distinguished composer-performers, violinist Regina Carter and pianist Anthony Davis. Ms. Carter and Mr. Davis will give the world premiere performance of Mr. Abrams's Duet for violin and piano, commissioned by the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress.

All Library of Congress concerts are free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Ticket distribution will begin at 6 p.m. in the lobby of the Terrace Theater, 90 minutes before the concert. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis, with two general-admission tickets per patron.

Muhal Richard Abrams is considered one of the most influential jazz composers of the past half century. Born in Chicago in 1930, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and began work as a professional musician at age 18. As a pianist and composer, Mr. Abrams is highly respected for his command of a variety of musical styles. Admired as an experimentalist, he is known for stretching the boundaries of jazz improvisation and for his mastery of big band arranging.

Muhal Richard Abrams was the co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and the founder of the AACM School of Music. He has been an important influence for a number of innovative African American musicians, including Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Lester Bowie and George Lewis. The New York Times calls Muhal Richard Abrams "one of the most encompassing composers now working." He has spent a lifetime breaking down stylistic barriers in jazz, with compositions that frequently span the territory between jazz and avant-garde classical music. His recent compositions include works commissioned or performed by the Kronos Quartet, Ursula Oppens, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Tania Leon, the Cassatt String Quartet, and Newband.

The Muhal Richard Abrams Orchestra brings together some of the finest musicians in New York, including many artists who will be familiar to jazz fans: Marty Ehrlich, Patience Higgins, Vincent Herring, Bob DeBellis and J.D. Parran, saxophones; Eddie Allen, Jack Walrath, Valery Ponomarev and Earl Gardner, trumpets; Alfred Patterson, Craig Harris, Art Baron and Andre Atkins, trombone; Bryan Carrott, vibes; Brad Jones, bass; and Reggie Nicholson, drums.

Guest artists violinist Regina Carter and pianist Anthony Davis are both accomplished composers as well as performers. A Detroit native, Ms. Carter studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and at Oakland University in Michigan. She has performed or recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, Max Roach, the Uptown String Quartet and Mark Helias. Since 1991, Ms. Carter has been a member of the chamber jazz ensemble String Trio of New York, which has toured in North America, Europe, East Asia, India, the Middle East, and North Africa. In the United States the trio has appeared at the Mellon and Newport jazz festivals, as well as the Walker Arts Center, Lincoln Center, and the Ravinia Festival, among others. The String Trio of New York has released more than a dozen compact disc recordings; as a soloist, Ms. Carter is receiving critical acclaim for her performance on Daniel Johnson's recently released Atlantic recording, Fun.

Anthony Davis is a well-known figure in both the classical and jazz worlds, recognized internationally for a growing list of challenging and original compositions that include symphonies, choral and chamber music, opera, and musical theater. He has composed three operas: X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, which played to sold-out houses at the world premiere at the New York City Opera in 1986; Under the Double Moon; and Tania, an opera based on the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. He also composed the music for the critically acclaimed Broadway productions of Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (Part 1) and Perestroika (Part 2). In 1995, Mr. Davis premiered his Sounds Without Nouns with the String Trio of New York, a work commissioned by a consortium of arts presenters, including the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State University, the Cerritos Center in California, and the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University. Mr. Davis is a visiting lecturer in the Afro-American Studies program at Harvard University.

For information about the Muhal Richard Abrams Orchestra concert, and future events in the series, call the Library's Concert Line, (202) 707-5502.

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PR 96-127
ISSN 0731-3527

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