March 2009

Settlement Music School416 Queen Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $15 General Admission
Friday, January 9, 2009 - 8:00pm

Rites Quartet II performs the music of Julius Hemphill

Composer Portrait: Julius Hemphill

Marty Ehrlich, alto saxophone
Andy Laster, tenor saxophone
J.D. Parran, tenor saxophone
Alex Harding, baritone saxophone
Ursula Oppens, piano

Please join Ars Nova Workshop for part one in celebrating Julius Hemphill's unique body of work - music for piano, string quartet, saxophone quartet and mixed ensemble.

The program will feature One Atmosphere (1992), originally composed for Ursula Oppens and the Arditti Quartet, Parchment (1983), also written for Ms. Oppens, Mingus Gold (1988), which first performed in 1988 at Lincoln Center by the Kronos Quartet, and a variety of material composed for saxophone choir. In addition, Marty Ehrlich's Rites Quartet I will feature music from Hemphill's 1972 recording Dogon A.D., considered one of the seminal works of its generation. This very rare performance will also feature trumpeter Baikida Carroll, who appears on the original recording, as well as two of Hemphill's closest collaborators, Marty Ehrlich and Pheeroan AkLaff. This is an event not to be missed.

Julius Hemphill (1938-1995) was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in the same musical community as his cousin Ornette Coleman and Dewey Redman. He gained experience as a saxophonist performing with groups such as Ike Turner and Richard Kill's Boogie-Chillin Blues Boys Band. He moved to St. Louis in 1966 and became a founding member of the Black Artists Group (BAG), an interdisciplinary collective that also included Oliver Lake and Hamiet Bluiett. Moving to New York City in 1973, Hemphill founded the acclaimed World Saxophone Quartet with Lake, Bluiett and David Murray, composing prolifically for the ensemble over the next twelve years. A key member of New York's loft scene, he organized many events at Ornette Coleman's Prince Street Loft and led numerous small ensembles, many with the remarkable cellist Abdul Wadud. A prodigious composer whose work is marked by a sharp, edgy melodicism steeped in the blues, contrapuntal complexity and a striking formal logic, Julius Hemphill was as comfortable writing for full orchestra as he was for his sextet or big band.

As a high school student, Marty Ehrlich (b.1955) was actively involved with the community of musicians and poets influenced by the innovations of St. Louis' Black Artist Group (BAG). In 1977, he graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with George Russell, Jaki Byard, Joe Maneri, Gunther Schuller, and the legendary woodwind teacher Joseph Allard. Since moving to New York in 1978, Ehrlich has been at the center of the jazz and new music scene. He has performed in ensembles led by Muhal Richard Abrams, Fontella Bass, Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Jaki Byard, John Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Hill, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, Roscoe Mitchell, John Zorn, and others. He appears on nearly 100 albums with these composers. He has premiered compositions written for him by David Lang and David Schiff. He has also toured with the Jose Limon and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane dance companies. Since 1997, Ehrlich has been actively conducting and performing the music of the late Julius Hemphill. An original member of Mr. Hemphill's Sextet, he has continued the group as its musical director, touring with the ensemble. He continues to lead his own quartet as well as his Dark Woods Ensemble.

Ursula Oppens, one of the very first artists to grasp the importance of programming traditional and contemporary works in equal measure, has won a singular place in the hearts of her public, critics, and colleagues alike. Her sterling musicianship, uncanny understanding of the composer's artistic argument, and lifelong study of the keyboard's resources, have placed her among the elect of performing musicians. In 2008, Ms. Oppens celebrated the 100th birthday of her friend and colleague, Elliott Carter, with critically acclaimed performances of his complete works for solo piano. Recent highlights include a featured appearance at the Los Angeles Philharmonic's renowned Green Umbrella Festival, Lou Harrison's Piano Concerto at the Pacific Symphony Orchestra's American Composers Festival, Carter's Dialogues at the Tanglewood Festival, her world premiere performance of William Bolcolm's Ballade, and Frederic Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated at Berkeley's EdgeFest. Her enduring commitment to integrating new music into regular concert life has led her to commission and premiere many compositions, including works by Anthony Braxton, Elliott Carter, Anthony Davis, John Harbison, Julius Hemphill, Tania Leon, György Ligeti, Witold Lutoslawski, Conlon Nancarrow, Lois V Vierk, Christian Wolff, Amnon Wolman and Charles Wuorinen.

This concert has been funded by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, through the Philadelphia Music Project. This presentation of the Rites Quartet I has been made possible with support from Chamber Music America's Presenting Jazz Program, funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Rites Quartet I
Marty Ehrlich, alto saxophone + flute
Baikida Carrol, trumpet
Erik Friedlander, cello
Pheeroan AkLaff, drums

Baikida Carroll (composer, trumpet) is a highly pivotal figure in the music world. He has written scores that have distinguished theater, dance, TV, film and concerts for three decades. His music has been heard at major forums throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Walker Arts Center, New York Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre, Asolo Theatre, Le Grande Palais (Paris), the Belgium Opera, La Mama Theatre, The Corcoran Gallery, Crossroads Theater, the Berlin Opera, the Chicago Art Museum, the Mark Taper Forum, the Market Theater in South Africa, and the JVC, Heritage, Kool, Texaco and Montreux Jazz Festivals.  As a musician, he has performed and recorded with such artists as Dewey Redman, Oliver Nelson, Albert King, David Murray, Jay McShann, Amiri Baraka, Patti Labelle, Little Milton, Michael Gregory, David Sancious, Sam Rivers, Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, Roscoe Mitchell, Dr. John, Anthony Davis, Anthony Braxton, June Jordan and Reggie Workman. He was a featured soloist on Julius Hemphill's Dogon A.D. and Coon Bid'ness, Oliver Lake's premier album NTU, John Carter's classic Castles of Ghana, Muhal Richard Abrams' 1983 Down Beat Record of the Year Blues Forever, Jack DeJohnettes' acclaimed Inflation Blues and Sam River's 2000 Grammy nominated Inspiration . His own recordings include Orange Fish Tears, The Spoken Word, Shadows and Reflections, Door of the Cage and the 2001 release Marionettes on a High Wire.

"Rostropovich one second and Rottweiler the next." Cellist Erik Friedlander, a virtuosic veteran of NYC's downtown scene, has backed John Zorn, Laurie Anderson and Courtney Love. New York's Erik Friedlander is a composer and an improviser, a classical musician and a jazzbo. He has recorded 8 CDs as a leader and has always worked to stake out new ground for the cello in both his compositional choices and his dynamic improvising style. Whether its solo playing or performing with one of his bands Friedlander' blends his vision of what the cello can be pushed to do, while maintaining a firm grasp on traditions, both improvising and classical.

Pheeroan akLaff has great memories of his childhood in Detroit, Michigan where he enjoyed the sounds of his elder brother Eric practicing to be a concert pianist, the Jazz legends in concerts halls, and the spectacular shows of Motown. After studying with Randall Hicks and Jimmy Pistol Allen he performed with Travis Biggs Ars Nova, and other Detroit area local bands. He relocated to New Haven, Connecticut and performed with his band Deja Vu and several musicians of the area. His move to New York, encouraged by mentor Rashied Ali, and his international work with Wadada Leo Smith, set things in motion. In 1981 he performed and briefly resided in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire, with the Marie Rose Guiraud Dance Company and explored urban music with Frank T. Fairfax, and Fela Anikulapo Kuti in Lagos, Nigeria. He also performed on Nigeria's Steve Rhodes Television Show as a surprise guest drummer. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Pheeraon has performed and recorded his compositions for quartet, quintet, power trio, and solo oratorio. He has been profiled by international publications and is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow. He is a co-founder of Seed Artists Inc. for Artists and Communities.

Daedalus Quartet
Kyu-Young Kim, violin
Min-Young Kim, violin
Raman Ramakrishnan, cello
Jessica Thompson, viola

The Daedalus Quartet was founded in the summer of 2000, and one year later captured the Grand Prize of the 2001 Banff International String Quartet Competition, quickly establishing itself as among America's outstanding string quartets. The Daedalus Quartet has won wide acclaim for their performances of contemporary music, including works by Elliott Carter, George Perle, György Kurtág, and György Ligeti. Among the works they have premiered is David Horne's Flight from the Labyrinth, commissioned for the quartet by the Caramoor Festival.