Contemporary Musical Arts Dept: Pushing the Limits (Broadcast)

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

This performance, which took place on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, will be rebroadcasted on Thursday, March 30, 2023. You can view the broadcast here.

A retrospective concert directed by CMA co-chair Hankus Netsky celebrating the fifty-year history of the department and showcasing the innovative legacies of CMA faculty and alumni.

The concert will feature CMA students, faculty, alumni, and special guests performing tributes to former faculty members Peter Row and Joe Maneri and current departmental faculty members Ran Blake and Nedelka Prescod, as well as original music by current NEC CMA faculty members Dominique Eade, Carla KihlstedtAnthony ColemanLinda ChaseLautaro Mantilla, and Akram Haddad. The program will also include the premiere of a new solo violin piece by Cambridge native Gordon Beeferman, commissioned by CMA co-chair Eden MacAdam-Somer.  Soloists will include virtuoso Malcolm Barsamian, percussionist Andrew Fordyce, violinist and vocalist Eden MacAdam-Somer, vocalist and violinist Carla Kihlstedt, and saxophonist Stan Strickland.  The concert will also include performances by the department's Contemporary Vocal Ensemble under the direction of CMA alum and faculty member Farayi Malek.  

View the concert program in light mode & dark mode, recommended for in-person audiences.

  1. Ran Blake: Looking Back, Looking Forward

    Recorded medley, selected by Hankus Netsky and edited and compiled by David Shane:

    Good Morning, Heartache

    by Irene Higginbotham, Dan Fisher, Ervin Drake; recorded 1973
    The Death of Edith Piaf 
    by Ran Blake; recorded 1979
    'Round Midnight
    by Thelonious Monk; recorded 1993
    You Stepped Out of a Dream
    by Nacio Herb Brown; recorded 2010
    The Magic Row
    by Ran Blake; recorded 2019

    Thelonious Monk | Pannonica

    Ran Blake, piano
    Emily MItchell, voice

    Ran Blake | Memphis

    Ran Blake, piano

    Program  note

    A tribute to our founding chair, including excerpts from five decades of Jordan Hall solo piano performances, culminating with a live duo performance featuring Blake with current CMA student Emily Mitchell performing Thelonious Monk's tribute to Baroness Nica de Konigswater, Godmother to New York's bebop jazz scene.

  2. Tribute to Peter Row


    Hindustani Song and Raga | Yaman Kalyan, Raaga Sanga Ragini

    Nima Janmohammadi, introduction
    Sahana Priyadarshini Narayanan, vocals
    Tejas Nair, esraj
    Ritvik Yaparpalvi, tablas
    Mattias Kaufmann, Hankus Netsky, accordion


    Program note

    Two current NEC students, Tejas Nair and Sahana Priyadarshini Narayanan, perform a song and improvisations on one of Peter's favorite ragas in honor of the school's longtime Provost and cherished faculty member.

    Raaga Sanga Ragini

    Raag sang Raagini

    Mil mangal gaaye
    Dae dae kartaali
    Nach nach
    Rang rachaaye

    Bajat mrdanga jhanjh
    Sarang sangat kare
    Taan gamak meend dale
    Saras saras sarasaaye

    Raag and Raagini*
    Together auspiciously singing!
    Bring the shakers!Bring, O bring the bells
    Dancing dancing  
    Colors casting—

    Sound the drum and jangles
    Bow and sing together:
    Sing flurries, oscillations, sweeps!
    Sweetness upon sweetness,
    Spreading its atmosphere all around—

    *Raag and Raagini can refer to heavy and light musical modes, or to melody and lyrics.
  3. Carla Kihlstedt | The Lamed Wufnik from "Necessary Monsters"

    Serena Bixby, narrator
    vocals: Sarah Bernadette Matsushima, Kaia Berman-Peters, Agne Giedraityte         
    Lemuel Marc, trumpet, bass harmonica
    Katie Knudsvig, violin
    Carla Kihlstedt, viola
    Karl Henry, cello
    Mattias Kaufmann, accordion
    Emiliano Lopez, guitar
    Avi Randall, Haoyu Zheng, piano
    Moyu Zhang, auxiliary piano
    Jamie Eliot, electric bass
    Henry Wilson, percussion


    Program note

    The Lamed Wufnik(s) (One of Thirty Six) is a part of Necessary Monsters, a nine-movement song cycle after J. Luis Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings.  It's based on the Talmudic concept that the world is only sustained at any time by the work of thirty-five unsuspecting righteous individuals.  You can find the entire album at by Rafael Osés, arranged by Carla Kihlstedt and Mark Orton

  4. Tribute to Nedelka Prescod

    Farayi Malek, introduction

    Ysaye Barnwell (arr. Farayi Malek)| Breaths


    Program note

    Our CMA Contemporary Vocal Ensemble performs Farayi Malek's arrangement of
    Breaths in honor of our founding director of our African Roots, Contemporary Gospel, and Rhythm and Blues Ensembles. 


    Listen more often to things than to beings
    Listen more often to things than to beings
    Tis' the ancestors' breath
    When the fire's voice is heard
    Tis' the ancestor's breath
    In the voice of the waters
    Ah -- wsh Ah – wsh

    Those who have died have never, never left
    The dead are not under the earth
    They are in the rustling trees
    They are in the groaning woods
    They are in the crying grass
    They are in the moaning rocks
    The dead are not under the earth

    Listen more often to things than to beings …

    Those who have died have never, never left
    The dead have a pact with the living
    They are in the woman's breast
    They are in the wailing child
    They are with us in our homes
    They are with us in this crowd
    The dead have a pact with the living

    Listen more often to things than to beings…

    Birago Diop

    CMA Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

    Sarah Bernadette Matsushima, Litha Ashforth, Emily Mitchell
    Hayley Qin, Serena Bixby, Kayden Carter, Emmy Guo, Flora Sun
    Agne Giedraityte, Adrian Chabla, Yannick Yan, Haoyu Zheng
    Avi Randall, Weza Jamison-Neto

  5. Dominique Eade | Before I Go


    Program note

    Dominique originally wrote and arranged Before I Go for a Jazz/CI a cappella group that she initiated at NEC in the 1990s.

    Death, don't crouch in my doorway,
    Please let me be, I've got far to go.
    Just let me slip from your watchful eye,
    I won't squander the time bestowed.

    With each new turn,
    I think I learn,
    but lessons vanish.
    Will distance tell the tale
    My heart's to unfold?

    I won't waste a minute more!
    Won't you at least give me
    the chance to do, just one good turn
    before I go?


    CMA Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

    Sarah Bernadette Matsushima, Litha Ashforth, Emily Mitchell
    Hayley Qin, Serena Bixby, Kayden Carter, Emmy Guo, Flora Sun
    Agne Giedraityte, Adrian Chabla, Yannick Yan, Haoyu Zhang
    Avi Randall, Weza Jamison-Neto

  6. Anthony Coleman | Shoym (Froth)

    Katya Popova, narrator
    Litha Ashforth, Kaia Berman-Peters, Agne Giedraityte, vocals

    Nikita Manin, bass clarinet
    Christopher Ferrari, tenor saxophone
    Miranda Agnew, trumpet
    Aiden Coleman, trombone
    G Rockwell, banjo
    Grant Beale, guitar
    Mattias Kaufmann, accordion
    Avi Randall, piano
    Solomon Caldwell, bass
    Henry Wilson, marimba
    Jeff Guan, drums


    Program note

    This piece was a section of Streams, the work that I wrote in 2018 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of New England Conservatory. In February of that year, writer Natalie Lifson published an article in Haaretz where she spoke about the anti-Semitic nature of the Parkland Massacre, and about the fact that this was not widely reported. One of the sections of Streams was meant for the Jewish Music Ensemble, and I was having some trouble trying to figure out what I wanted to write about. But this triggered everything. I had some very strong ideas about what I wanted to do with the text and, after some searching, I was able to collaborate with Daniel Kahn. Daniel lives in Berlin, so we were collaborating over e-mail which was tricky, especially considering the fact that I wanted most of the text to be in Yiddish. But I knew he would understand what I was trying to say. This piece is a romp through my Jewish Subconscious – lots of references, for those who want to play along…
    – Anthony Coleman

    Shoym (Froth)

    Cry out, children!  Speak out all over the world!  Cry out!
    Cry out, children! A “Jewish school”

    If a known hater of minorities blatantly and frequently spoke about abhorrence for any other minority (other than Jews) and then shot up a school - even one he used to attend - that consisted mostly of members of that ethnic group, people (who care about social justice) would at least be discussing the possibility that it was a hate crime.

    Good and blessed/ Crazy Dog/ Skinhead Moonbat
    Fight for your life!
    Seventeen crosses, fight for your life!
    Oh, my little children, we must all cry out.
    You see what they’re trying to do to us?
    It’s a lie, a dirty lie.  A blatant lie from the old days,
    Oh Jews, rise up, they can go to Hell!
    It’s a tune, a lively tune,a heroic tune from the old days,
    Children, it’s a punishment.
    Cry out, say it, go out and speak the truth!!!
    Rebel against fear and hatred,
    Make a loud noise, fill the streets with your cries against the enemy’s silence.
    Make a loud noise!!!


  8. Linda J. Chase | Sister Cries Out

    Sarah Bernadette Matsushima, Carla Kihlstedt, Yannick Yan, Edward Sun, vocals
    Maggie Zang, Yannick Yan, Edward Sun, Avi Randall, Serena Bixby, Roman Barten-Sherman, whisperers
    Nikita Manin, bass clarinet
    Stan Strickland, soprano saxophone
    Rob Flax, Carson McHaney, Michele Zimmerman, violin
    Karl Henry, Giulia Haible, cello
    Yoona Kim ajaeng
    Solomon Caldwell, bass
    Henry Wilson, percussion
    Emiliano Lopez, electronics
    Yu Qin, conductor


    Program note

    Sister Cries Out is one of 26 movements from the new oratorio, For Our Common Home - Resounding Ecojustice by Linda J. Chase. This new cross-genre oratorio for choir, soloists and chamber orchestra, was inspired by Laudato Si’ an encyclical issued by Pope Francis calling on humanity to acknowledge the urgency of the environmental crisis and work toward building a more just and sustainable world. Chase interprets the text as a call to action through music and draws from contemporary classical, jazz, gospel and klezmer musical traditions. The libretto of this movement is based on this quote from Laudato Si' : "Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her…"


    Listen to the whispers.

    Sister cries out, she has been misused
    Sister cries out, she has been abused
    Destruction, devastation, deforestation
    Pollution, production, injustice, corruption
    Extinction, rebellion, radiation, desecration
    Industry fumes, burning fossil fuels
    Pipelines leak, water we can’t drink
    Species go extinct
    Rhino, cheetah, macaw, whooping crane
    Wildfires burn, Ice does not return
    Butterfly, penguin, monk seal, dolphin
    Pesticides kill bees, plastic in the sea
    Drilling, spilling oil, cutting, clearing trees
    Sister cries out, sister cries out 


    Listen to the whispers.

  9. Tribute to Joe Maneri

    Traditional Greek (arr. Joe Maneri) | Kalamatiano and Zeibekiko

    Itay Dayan, clarinet
    Yoona Kim, ajaeng                                                             

    Adrian Chabla, piano
    Jamie Eliot, bass
    Nadav Friedman, percussion


    Program note

    Joe Maneri, NEC's long-time music Theory, Composition, and Contemporary Improvisation faculty member, introduced the traditional Greek Kalamatiano and Zeibekiko to our department's repertoire.

  10. Gordon Beeferman | The Sway

    Eden MacAdam-Somer, vocals, violin, percussive dance

    Program note

    In writing The Sway for Eden MacAdam-Somer, I wanted to highlight her exceptional abilities as a performer —violinist, improviser, singer, dancer — and weave these strands together in one piece.
            I structured the piece via a series of short original texts, each transitioning into the next without pause. Some texts are either drastically compressed into a minimal number of words, like a tiny prism for the music to project itself through. Others
    spiral out through repetition, variation, and association, and the music sustains them through kinetic momentum and rhythmic counterpoint. In each, I tried to connect with a different aspect of aliveness — sensation, self-awareness, relation to others and the world we live in — and create an individual sound-world and physical relationship to the body, voice, and instrument. Throughout, notated music flows directly into improvisation and back out again. Improvised passages develop and connect the written ones. They bring the performer into the inner workings of my composition, and keep the music fully connected to the moment.
            Some words about this piece’s connection to NEC. I’ve not only been influenced by my early studies with Hankus Netsky and Ran Blake, who helped me develop my ear and my sense of harmony, but also my many close colleagues in improvised music who came through the school and developed their own unique ways of playing. For example, I never studied with the late Joe Maneri, but I learned about his 72-note microtonal system via some of his former students, and The Sway incorporates my take on that world of possibilities. Mostly, I’m grateful that from a young age I was supported in my inclination that — as they said in those days — there was a “third stream” where different worlds of music need no longer be separated.                                                                                           
    – Gordon Beeferman

  11. Lautaro Mantilla | La Maria

    Solomon Caldwell, Carson McHaney, Mattias Kaufmann, Michele Zimmerman, Haoyu Zhang, Yannick Yan, Sarah Bernadette Matsushima, Moyu Zheng, Itay Dayan, Emiliano Lopez, Emily Mitchell, Yu Qin, Nikita Manin, Giulia Haible, Yoona Kim, Jamie Eliot, Avi Randall, vocal sounds
    Grant Beale, Olivia Wilkins-Becker, guitar, voice
    Andrew Fordyce, drums

    Lautaro Mantilla, conductor, voice


    Program note

    This is the fourth piece of an ongoing project entitled Por La Fuerza that presents 10 selected accounts of kidnappings that occurred in Colombia between 1990 and 2010, the years with the highest kidnapping rates in the world.  
            The accounts were the result of collecting data from families, victims, and perpetrators and present different perspectives related to these crimes.
    In 1999, the entire congregation of La Maria church in the southwestern city of Cali (Colombia), was abducted during Sunday Mass by a band of 40 members of the National Liberation Army. The guerrillas entered the church during the homily, shouting that there was a bomb in the building and that they were going to deactivate it, but they needed everyone to get into covered trucks and head for the city’s mountainous outskirts.
            The military later reported that about 144 people were abducted and deprived of their human rights. The NLA mined a road during their escape and used some of the victims as human shields as the military advanced. After several weeks all the victims were released, and no guerrilla members were caught or had to respond for the crime.                                                               
    – Lautaro Mantilla

  12. Akram Haddad | Al-Madina

    Emiliano Lopez, Maggie Zang, Adrian Chabla, Edward Sun, Yannick Yan, vocals
    Itay Dayan, clarinet
    Chris Ferrari, tenor saxophone
    Miranda Agnew, Lemuel Marc, trumpet
    Aiden Coleman, trombone
    Carson McHaney, Rob Flax, Michele Zimmerman, violin
    Avi Randall, viola
    Karl Henry, Giulia Haible, Yu Qin, cello
    Mal Barsamian, Mattias Kaufmann, oud
    Emily Mitchell, G Rockwell, guitar
    Akram Haddad, piano
    Solomon Caldwell, bass
    Nadav Friedman, drums


    Program note

    Al-Madina is an excerpt from Haddad's recent score for the play, The Maestro. Tonight's performance features improvised solos by NEC faculty member Mal Barsamian on the oud, Chris Ferrari on tenor saxophone, Miranda Agnew on trumpet, G Rockwell on guitar, and Akram Haddad on piano.