This season at New England Conservatory, 30+ concerts demonstrate just how vital music is to human struggle, and what revolution in artistic expression sounds like. Programs range from roots music to Beethoven, fight songs to anti-war anthems. Join our year-long exploration of how music speaks truth to power!
"This mule ain’t from Moscow
This mule ain’t from the South
But this mule has some learnin'
—from "Freedom" by Charles Mingus
Ken Schaphorst leads the NEC Jazz Orchestra in some of the landmark compositions and arrangements associated with the battle against racism and bigotry. These are works from undisputed jazz leaders that use words and music to tell stories of struggle.
Charles Mingus Haitian Fight Song arr. Sy Johnson
Fables of Faubus arr. Sy Johnson
Meditations on Integration arr. Ken Schaphorst
Carla Bley arr. Ken Schaphorst Dream Keeper
Enoch Sontongo arr. Carla Bley Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (God Bless Africa)
Duke Ellington from Black, Brown and Beige
Part i: Work Song
Part II: Come Sunday
WGBH jazz host Eric Jackson will narrate the Charles Mingus works that include texts.
Carla Bley's Dream Keeper also employs vocalists, since it includes a Venezuelan work song; a "Women's Hymn" from the Spanish Civil War, and Bley's own settings of the Langston Hughes poem As I Grow Older and verses telling the story of José Feliciano Ama, a martyred Indian leader in El Salvador.
Implied vocals occur through instrumental solos in the movements of Duke Ellington's Black, Brown and Beige that explicitly reference work songs and spirituals.
Finally, Sontongo's Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was the official anthem for the African National Congress during South Africa's apartheid era, becoming the official national anthem following the fall of apartheid in 1994. Carla Bley arranged it for Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra.
NEC Jazz Orchestra
Richard Garcia, alto and soprano saxophones, flute
Lihi Haruvi, alto and soprano saxophones
Wyatt Palmer, tenor saxophone
Jacob Sieckman, tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet
Austin Yancey, baritone saxophone
Nikolaos Anadolis, piano
Xiongguan Zhang, guitar
Daniel Raney, bass
Carl Pillot, drums
Corinne Cahill, Sam Jones, Robert Pate, Akenya Seymour, vocals
Harrison Honor, timpani and chimes
Are you an NEC faculty member or student who is giving a school concert? Submit your artist and repertoire information now!
NEC's FREE concerts do not require a ticket, unless stated in concert listing.
Unreserved seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Doors open 30 minutes prior to the concert's start time.