Every term, the Hopkins Center Outreach department partners with organizations in Collis to put on unique “Collis Cabaret” events in Collis Commonground. In the past, these events have included faculty showcases and visiting artists coming together with students groups to perform new works. Of course, wine, cheese and pies are also a must!
This term, the Del Sol Quartet will be collaborating with out very own Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble. on Thursday, October 12, 8:30 pm. The two groups will perform separately as a preview for each of their upcoming concerts this fall, but will also come together for a piece. This performance will follow an hour and a half long workshop between the two groups, where the Coast will be learning a new improvisational composition technique which they will put to use for this showcase.
The Barbary Coast this year has a new director, Taylor Ho Bynum, and taking on such an ambitious event during his first term is no small feat. We reached out to him to learn more about this concert.
Tell us about Del Sol! How do you know them and why did you know you wanted to work with them?
Del Sol is one of the country’s leading string quartets dedicated to new and contemporary music. I’ve long admired their work and their commitment to new repertoire, but first got to know them through their work with composer Chris Jonas, who’s an old friend of mine. We’ve been talking for a few years about collaborating on a project around the music of my mentor, composer Anthony Braxton, and we’re delighted we’ll finally get the chance to mix it up here at Dartmouth.
What kind of work will you be doing with Del Sol during the rehearsal before the show? How do a string quartet and jazz ensemble come together?
Braxton describes his music as “trans-idiomatic” – that is, equally drawing from and respecting both jazz and classical traditions (among other global musics), but not tethered to the genre restrictions of either. As such, it creates a fantastic platform to bring together a string quartet and a big band! We’ll be looking as his system of “Language Music” improvised conducting – which is a means for musicians to create music spontaneously in the moment, yet still work together as an ensemble. This becomes a means of expanding and deconstructing existing repertoire, as well as juxtaposing different compositions and styles – so the Coast will be playing a Charles Mingus tune, Del Sol will be playing a piece by Terry Riley, and we’ll see what happens when we put them on top of each other.
Why should students be excited about coming to see this show?
I think this will be a pretty special and unusual collaboration – there will definitely be something there for folks who like jazz or classical music, there will also be something there for folks who like to try something new. Listeners will really be able to hear how musicians can combine improvisation and composition to create something wholly of the moment – working across instrumentation, across genre, just human beings playing together to make a new sound, which is why I love doing this.
Check out this event in Collis Commonground on October 12, 8:30-9:30.