136 Massachusetts Ave
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Jazz pianist Geri Allen to perform the world premiere of her new solo piano work at the Berklee Performance Center on February 26, followed by a live interview conducted by Danilo Peréz.

The show is part of the series Jazz as Culture, Language, Being, and Music presented by Berklee's Africana Studies/ Music and Society initiative.

BOSTON, MA, February 12, 2009—Pianist, composer, and educator Geri Allen will present the world premiere of her solo piano work “Refractions, Flying Toward the Sound” in a concert at Berklee on Thursday, February 26. Allen received a Guggenheim Fellowship to create this composition, which celebrates the humanity and embraces the continuity of innovation in jazz, as personified by three revolutionary pianist-composers—Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Cecil Taylor. The concert begins at 8:15 p.m. in the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for senior citizens. For ticket information, call 617 747-2261 or visit berkleebpc.com.

Two separate recordings of the concert will be made—the first by WGBH for subsequent broadcast on 89.7 FM, and the second for Allen’s upcoming CD release on Motema Records. Piano Department Professor Danilo Peréz will interview Allen after her performance.

About “Refractions,” Allen explains that “jazz is a music of continuity and a direct outgrowth of the spirit of a people who rose, thrived, and innovated in spite of impossible odds. My new music will speak to freedom. Just as light passes through a prism and emerges in a new direction, I will allow the music of Taylor, Tyner, and Hancock to pass through me, in the hope that my new work will emerge at a different angle through the prism of my compositional imagination.”

Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded to those who have demonstrated exceptional creative ability in the arts. Allen’s accomplishments are many and varied: as a composer and pianist, she has appeared in concert at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Village Vanguard to numerous international jazz festivals. She has collaborated with jazz greats including Charlie Haden, Ornette Coleman, Jack DeJohnette, and Wayne Shorter, and has also been sought out by a diverse group of artists such as Marianne Faithful, Me’shell Ndegeocello, and Ravi Coltrane.

As an educator, Allen is presently an associate professor of jazz and contemporary improvisation at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater and Dance. She is a sought-after guest artist who has recently held residencies at Spelman College, Harvard University, and Columbia University.

“As a working mother of three children,” Allen says the Guggenheim Fellowship “encourages me, and will give me the freedom to create what I hope will be my best work...Every artist dreams of the chance to freely create unimpeded.”

Africana Studies provides innovative, substantive, and sustained connective programs in Black music culture at Berklee. Its focus is on the study of Black music practice, history and meaning. This includes the study of traditional West African music, spirituals, ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, r&b, reggae, soul, music in South America, Cuba, and the Caribbean, and contemporary urban music traditions. Africana Studies aids in curriculum and student development by increasing the understanding and appreciation of the music and culture, and the roles artists have had in transforming modern culture and society.

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry "who's who" of alumni, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today — and tomorrow.

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Added by Berklee MR on February 18, 2009

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