September, 2015


Aaron Quinn, gtr with Ran Blake at 2014 Atlas Masterclass
Aaron Quinn, gtr with Ran Blake at 2014 Atlas Masterclass

Ran Plays ATLAS

Washington, D.C. 
Ran is very excited to return to Washington, D.C. to play a solo concert at the ATLAS Performing Arts Center on Friday Oct 23rd at 8pm and give a masterclass on Saturday Oct 24th at noon.

The concert will include new film noir segments and tributes to Chris Connor, Aretha Franklin, Bud Powell, Gunther Schuller, and Stevie Wonder.

Tickets can be purchased HERE.


Ricky Ford, tenor sax
Ricky Ford, tenor sax

Ran Blake’s 80th Birthday

w/ Ricky Ford & Friends

We’re thrilled to announce that tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford will be one of the very special guests included at Realization of a Dream: An 80th Birthday Tribute to Ran Blake at Jordan Hall on Friday November 13th at 7:30pm.

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 “The Knife” Fabris, as well as performances by current students, faculty and departmental ensembles in original interpretations of Blake’s music and repertoire.

There will also be a Panel Discussion on Ran’s music Sunday November 15th at 11am in Pierce Hall. Panelists include Dave “Knife” Fabris, Art Lange, Hankus Netsky, and others TBA.


World Premiere of Gunther Schuller's Singing Poems (2015) by Collage New Music
World Premiere of Gunther Schuller’s Singing Poems (2015) by Collage New Music

Ran Recommends…

Ran was delighted to hear the New England Conservatory’s Philharmonia with Hugh Wolff  perform Gunther Schuller’s Dreamscape last week. He particularly loves what Gunther accomplished in the second movement, “Nocturne.”

This was the first of many concerts taking place this fall honoring the legacy Gunther Schuller.

This month, there are two Gunther premieres that Ran highly recommends attending. The first is the world premiere of Singing Poems (2015) performed by Collage New Music on Sunday November 1st at 8pm (Longy School of Music; pre-talk at 7pm), and the second is New England Philharmonic’s Boston premiere of The Past is in the Present on Sunday October 25th at 3pm (Tsai Performance Center).

November has a number of major Gunther tributes that Ran will include in his October newsletter. Two other important concerts this month are:

Too Marvelous for Words: Music of Frank Sinatra on Thursday October 15th at 7:30pm with the NEC Jazz Orchestra and Ken Schaphorst, a number of student vocalists, and the NEC Philharmonia string section.

Fred Hersch has a 60th birthday at NEC on Thursday October 29th at 7:30pm.

Please see Ran’s complete recommendations HERE.


The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Summer Book Review

Ran postponed his summer book review due to several unexpected deaths of friends and colleagues. Ran says, “I found great comfort in reading and re-reading these wonderful books, and I thank my friends for their recommendations.”

This review includes: Isabel Wilkerson’s marvelous “The Warmth of Other Suns,” Renee Knight’s “Disclaimer,” “Bradstreet Gate” by Robin Kirman, SJ Watson’s “Second Life,” and Leah Stewart’s “The New Neighbor.”


Happy Birthday SelfiesRequest for Happy Birthday
Selfie Videos for Ran Blake’s 80th! 
For part of Ran Blake’s 80th birthday celebration on Friday November 13th, 2015 8pm at the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, we invite you to record a short 5-10 second selfie film wishing Ran a Happy Birthday. Photos and recordings are great too. We will compile these for a special segment during the concert.Films/ photos can be submitted to Please submit materials before November 1st. If you experience technical issues please feel free to ask for help at the same email address.