October, 2015

  Starting Tonight!!!
Ran Blake’s

80th Birthday Week at NEC 


The New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department pays tribute to one of its most definitive individuals on the occasion of his 80th Birthday. Ran Blake joined the NEC faculty in 1968 just as the Third Stream Program was founded. In 1973 he became chair of the Third Stream Department and held that post until 2005. Now known as our Contemporary Improvisation Department, Ran Blake maintains an active classroom and private instruction schedule.

Blake’s musical and educational approaches are defining factors in the CI Department and this concert seeks to pay tribute to the unique character of that approach. With harmonic and melodic concepts informed by a multitude of modalities, perhaps most notably Jazz and Film Noir, this concert will attempt to evoke, and be informed and inspired by, the individual conception of Ran Blake.  

Ricky Ford Masterclass
Thursday, Nov 12th 1-3pm
Tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford returns to his hometown of Boston in

celebration Ran Blake’s 80th birthday festivities. Ricky Ford was one of the first students in NEC’s Community Services Department created by Gunther Schuller in 1968. The CSD transitioned into the Third Stream Department, and of course, now it’s known as the Contemporary Improvisation Department.

After his student years at NEC, Ricky Ford went on to tour with Duke
Ellington, Mercer Ellington, Charles Mingus, Dannie Richmond, Lionel
Hampton, Adbullah Ibrahim, and countless others. He has also recorded with Jaki Byard, Ran Blake, Milt Hinton, Christian McBride, Danilo Perez, Yusef Lateef, Cecil McBee, George Cables, and Roy Hargrove.

Ricky Ford is also the founder of the Toucy International Jazz Festival in France where he has presented Rhoda Scott, Ravi Coltrane, Ran Blake, the Ze Big Band and dozens of others.


Woodcarving Print by Zoe Christiansen

The Feature Presentation…

NEC’s CI Dept. Presents
Realization of a Dream
Friday the 13th 8pm
Jordan Hall

Realization of a Dream celebrates the artistic vision of NEC’s founding  Contemporary Improvisation Department chair, Ran Blake, and the evolution of his music. Produced and directed by Eden MacAdam-Somer and Aaron Hartley, the concert features Blake, along with special guests and NEC alums Ricky Ford (originally from Roxbury), Leon “Boots” Maleson (originally from Brookline), Jonah Kraut, and Dave “Knife” Fabris, as well as performances by current students, faculty and departmental ensembles in original interpretations of Blake’s music and repertoire. (A full list of NEC Students and Ensembles can be found HERE)

The Music of Ran Blake 
Sunday, Nov 15 11am 
Pierce Hall 

There will also be a Panel Discussion on Ran’s music on Sunday, November 15th at 11am in Pierce Hall.In this panel discussion, moderated by current Contemporary Improvisation chair Hankus Netsky, a hand-picked group of well-known musicians and writers including Blake’s guitarist Dave “Knife” Fabris, producer Art Lange, composer/pianist Donal Fox, and jazz journalist Bob Blumenthal will discuss Blake’s still-evolving musical legacy and its place in musical history.

November is
Gunther Schuller Month
in Boston

A complete list of Gunther Schuller memorial concerts with links for more info can be found at NEC’s website (CLICK HERE). There will be a second newsletter this month in honor of Gunther Schuller.

11-15 Grand Concerto for Percussion and Keyboards at NEC
11-16 Gunther Schuller on NPR’s “From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley” rebroadcast, check local listings
11-17 Composition for Carillon world premiere of new version at The Boston Conservatory
11-19 Gunther Schuller: A Musical Celebration at NEC
11-19 Symphony for Brass and Percussion at Boston University
11-20 Organ Symphony world premiere at Church of the Advent, Boston
11-21 Americans We: Celebrating the Influence of Gunther Schuller at MIT
11-21 Horn quintet at The Boston Conservatory
11-22 Gunther Schuller Memorial Service (Reminiscences & Reflections) at NEC
11-22 Gunther Schuller Memorial Concert at Boston Modern Orchestra Project in collaboration with Odyssey Opera
11-22 A Tribute to Gunther Schuller: Celebrating a Life in Pursuit of Beauty at MIT
11-23 Sonata for Oboe and Piano at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brookline

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