This Arts Council-funded Project is entitled Wadada Leo Smith Multi-media Artist in Residence and was proposed by George Sampson, Lecturer out of the McIntire Dept of Art / Arts Administration
This project proposes to host an Artist Residency produced by the Arts Administration program alongside other students, on grounds and in our Charlottesville Community, to augment and coincide with the Music Department’s Spring 2018 Impulse! Improvisational Music Festival. Exact services rendered will be part of the art and improvisation of the Artistic Administration & production of this residency. It will feature a jazz / video sextet: Jazz trumpeter Wadada (a Rastafarian honorific) Leo Smith, who was recently featured on the cover of Downbeat! Magazine, and has created a multi-media, multi-part work called “America’s National Parks.” Wadada has expanded his concept of a National Park beyond the physical such that one movement is a suite entitled “Eileen Jackson Southern, 1920-2002: A Literary National Park,” after the pioneering black musicologist. Accompanying Wadada is his video artist Jesse Gilbert, cellist Ashley Walters, pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg and drummer Pheeroan Aklaff in an all-star ensemble.
This residency will accomplish three different modes of impact: 1) a student production team; 2) student participants in studio art and musical lecture/demonstration; 3) audience members attending concerts and related events. The student production team (est.12 – 15 members) will draw from Arts Administration students as follows: Administrative intern for George Sampson; overall Residency Project Director, a Site/Service Director for each Residency site or service, Publicity Director (poster/flyer; social media), Designer (all materials), Financial Director (budgets), Philanthropy Director (stewardship actions – invitations, credit), Hospitality Director (coordinate meals, local transportation), Stage Manager, House Manager (tickets & seating) and other team members as needed. This hands-on opportunity will challenge and engage students with a real-life example of what it means to prepare, plan and promote for an artist residency, while providing the broader UVA and Charlottesville communities with a unique, musical and cultural experience.
The artists that make up this eclectic sextet are internationally known and each carry numerous accolades, diverse educations and performance backgrounds.
Wadada Leo Smith is, at 75 years old, one of the reigning masters of progressive jazz and one of 3 finalists for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in music for his work “Ten Freedom Summers.” He was an early member of the highly influential artist collective AACM and taught at Cal Arts from 1993 – 2014.
Anthony Davis is a major jazz pianist, composer and gamelan music student whose best-known works may be his operas: X-the Life and Times of Malcolm X (NY City Opera, 1986), Amistad (Chicago Lyric Opera, 1997), Wakonda’s Dream (Opera Omaha, 2007), and Lilith (UCSD 2009). He is a Professor at UCSD.
Jesse Gilbert is an artist working in the intersection of visual art, sound and software design. He studied music for a year in Ghana on a Watson Fellowship. His online music is the subject of an article by UVA’s own Peter Traub and he currently is Chair, Media Technology Dep’t at California’s Woodbury University.
Ashley Walters, a native of Oak Hill VA, is a cellist and a rapidly rising young star with a “brilliance that beckons a major new performer on the new music scene” (Mark Swed, LA Times). Her degrees are from Vanderbilt, Cal Arts and UCSD.
John Lindberg, bass, has an extensive discography in Europe and the US. He co-founded the NY Strong Trio with James Emery and the late Billy Bang (Chapel Jazz concert, 2009 – CD 2011) and retains an impressive professional career in jazz and new music.
Pheeroan Aklaff is a percussionist currently teaching music at Wesleyan University. He has had a notable recording and performing career with progressive musicians including Cecil Taylor, Oliver Lake, Andrew Hill and many more. The promotional impact for the University will depend to some degree on both internal and external press stories, but certainly there are few ensembles in the country of this caliber and standing.
The Arts Council provides advocacy, advice, and support in the Arts at the University of Virginia. It strives to develop and strengthen the bonds of interest and participation among the Arts Departments, their associated programs, and their alumni and friends; to advocate on their behalf; to advise and assist with communications; and to help raise funds in support of academic programs, facilities, and special events. Among its multitude of arts advocacy efforts, the Council awards annual Arts Council Grants. These grants have, and continue to play an instrumental role in a number of residencies, workshops, project and research-based endeavors proposed across Arts Grounds annually. This series of articles will highlight each funded project and serve to inform the UVA community of their unique timelines, progress and outcome reports.See all 2017-2018 Arts Council Grants Awarded