April, 2008

Ran Blake Newsletter
News From Ran Blake HQ

April 2008



Welcome to the April issue of Ran’s monthly newsletter.

Two Upcoming Courses

on Hitchcock and Schuller

notesRan is presenting two courses in upcoming months at the New England Conservatory: one on Alfred Hitchcock in June and another on Gunther Schuller in July and August.

Film Noir: Alfred Hitchcock, The Director and his Music, is a two-credit course from June 12-22. The class will explore the wide range of music used in Hitchcock’s films, from Poulenc to circus rags to the semi-atonal to English pop. Students will be encouraged to participate by composing and improvising on the plots, themes and characters in the great director’s works.

The full schedule and cost info is available here.

The Musical Worlds of Gunther Schuller: Scratching the Surface of a Compleat Musician is Ran’s annual summer course. Ran, Gunther, and Fred Harris, director of wind and jazz ensembles at MIT, will all lead portions of the course, which runs from July 28 to August 7. The class meets at Ran’s Brookline apartment, except for Tuesday, August 5, which is a special public evening at NEC with interviews and performances. Full course information is available here.

For more information on either course, please contact NEC’s Margaret Ulmer at (617) 585-1135 or sumsch@newenglandconservatory.edu.

Photo #1


About the Photos

The photos in this issue, taken by P.L. Renou, are from Ran’s visit last November to the French village of Tremolat. Le Boucher, one of Ran’s favorite films, was filmed in there. Between tour stops Ran had lunch with a group of locals, who recounted stories of the making of the movie and the village’s role in the French resistance.

MIT Disc Has Two Ran Compositions

“Solo Eclipse” on Albany Records

solo eclipseIf you’ve ever wondered what Ran’s music would sound like when performed by a symphonic ensemble, your wait is over. A new album by the MIT Wind Ensemble, titled Solo Eclipse, includes two of Ran’s compositions: “Impresario of Death” and “Ghosts of Cimetiere de Pere Lachaise.”

The compositions (both of which originally appeared on Something to Live For), were transcribed for chamber wind ensemble by Kenneth Amis, a composer and tuba player for the Empire Brass Quintet. They were commissioned by MIT and first performed by the NEC Wind Ensemble (conducted by Charles Peltz) as a surprise gift for Ran’s 70th birthday concert in Jordan Hall in 2005.

Solo Eclipse also includes compositions by Amis (the three-movement “Concerto for Tuba”) and Argentinean composer and pianist Guillermo Klein (“Solar Return Suite,” featuring tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry).

The album is available from Amazon, Albany Records, Amis Musical Circle and ArkivMusic.

Photo #2


Herb Pomeroy Tribute

May 10 at MIT

Ran will perform at a May 10 tribute concert at MIT for Herb Pomeroy, a renowned trumpeter and influential educator who died in August. Pomeroy taught at Berklee, MIT and NEC.

The MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, directed by Fred Harris, is hosting the event, which will feature the MIT Alumni Jazz Ensemble. Other special guests will include Jamshied Sharifi, Greg Hopkins, Mark Harvey, Magali Souriau and Everett Longstreth. Ran will perform a Duke Ellington composition.

The concert is at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium at 8 p.m. It will be preceded by a 7 p.m. session hosted by Mark Harvey titled “Remembering Herb.”

Tickets are $5. Complimentary tickets are available by contacting Fred Harris at fharris@mit.edu.

Thanks for reading. You can reach Ran directly at ran@ranblake.com, and you can read back issues here.

We’ll see you in May.
Vol. 4, No.4

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