Center For the Arts CFA

World premiere by Noah Baerman Resonance Ensemble concludes 14th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchesta Weekend on Saturday April 25

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - Saturday, April 25, 2015

World premiere by Noah Baerman Resonance Ensemble concludes 14th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchesta Weekend on Saturday April 25

Wesleyan University's Music Department & Center for the Arts present the
Noah Baerman Resonance Ensemble
Saturday April 25 concert to feature world premiere of the extended work "The Rock and the Redemption"
as conclusion of the 14th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend

Middletown, Conn.—Wesleyan University’s Music Department and Center for the Arts present the world premiere of the extended work "The Rock and the Redemption" by the Noah Baerman Resonance Ensemble during the group's Connecticut debut on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall, located at 50 Wyllys Avenue on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. The concert will conclude the 14th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend.

“Noah Baerman is no stranger to aiming high” —David Adler, Village Voice

Jazz pianist and composer Noah Baerman’s tenacity and his cutting edge yet soulful music have made him an inspiring figure to a growing legion of admirers. Over ten years after nearly walking away from the piano due to his struggles with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an incurable connective tissue disorder with which he was born, Mr. Baerman is playing and composing with more authority than ever. These and other challenges have deepened his already fierce commitment to “message music,” a commitment that led to the 2012 founding of Resonant Motion, Inc., a non-profit that deals with the intersection of music and positive change. Mr. Baerman is the Artistic Director of Resonant Motion.

The Noah Baerman Resonance Ensemble is the flagship ensemble of Resonant Motion, and includes vibraphonist Chris Dingman '02, alto saxophonist/flutist Kris Allen, cellist/vocalist Melanie Hsu '13, bassist Henry Lugo,  Private Lessons Teacher and drummer Bill Carbone MA '07, Ph.D. Candidate; and vocalists Latanya Farrell, Claire Randall '12, and Garth Taylor '12. Mr. Baerman will augment his piano work with turns on synthesizer and slide guitar.

The focal point of the concert will be the world premiere of “The Rock and the Redemption,” an extended suite composed by Mr. Baerman. The music is inspired by a reinterpretation of the myth of Sisyphus, in which the tragic figure’s plight of eternally pushing a rock up a mountain is seen as an inevitable and inspiring response to life’s adversity. “As a physically disabled musician and a foster and adoptive parent, my adult life has been spent wholeheartedly pursuing things that seem far-fetched,” explains Mr. Baerman. “Even though I keep failing to get the rock all the way to the top of the mountain, so to speak, I accomplish far more getting part of the way up than if I compromised my goals.” This piece integrates several traditional spirituals amidst the instrumental portions of the composition, and the talented, soulful ensemble features a mixture of longtime colleagues and former students.

Past artists featured as a part of the annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend have included the Oliver Lake Big Band including Josh Evans;  Mixashawn's "Ghostly Trio" featuring Pheeroan Aklaff and Bill Arnold; Hugh Masekela; the Jay Hoggard Quartet with special guests Anthony Braxton, Marty Ehrlich, Kwaku Kwaakye Martin Obeng, and Brandee Younger; Sherrie Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra; the Bennie Maupin trio with Buster Williams; Dr. Lonnie Smith with Jonathan Kreisberg; Cedar Walton; Tina Fabrique; the Boston Jazz Repertory Orchestra directed by Bill Lowe and Carl Atkins; the Phil Woods/Ted Rosenthal duo; and Bobby Hutcherson.

The Saturday evening concert will open with a brief performance of some of Mr. Baerman’s material by the Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble, which he has directed since 2007, and the Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra, which he is conducting this semester as a Visiting Instructor.

Admission for the performance by the Noah Baerman Resonance Ensemble is $15 for the general public; $12 for senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, and non-Wesleyan students; and $6 for Wesleyan students. Tickets are available online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/boxoffice, by phone at (860) 685-3355, or in person at the Wesleyan University Box Office, located in the Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. Tickets may also be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance, subject to availability. The Center for the Arts accepts cash, checks written to “Wesleyan University”, and all major credit cards. Groups of ten or more may receive a discount – please call (860) 685-3355 for details. No refunds, cancellations, or exchanges.

The 14th annual Wesleyan Jazz Orchestra Weekend also includes the following two free events:

Music Department Colloquium by Noah Baerman on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 4:15pm in the Daltry Room, Music Rehearsal Hall Room 003, 60 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. At this free talk, Noah Baerman will discuss the philosophical origins and musical development of his suite "The Rock and the Redemption."

Wesleyan Jazz Orchesta and Jazz Ensemble Concert on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 7pm in Crowell Concert Hall, 50 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. A free concert featuring a program of exciting jazz repertoire by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, and others.

About Noah Baerman

“A classic jazz profile in courage” – Owen McNally, The Hartford Courant

Noah Baerman earned his B.Mus. and M.M. from Rutgers University in the 1990s under the mentorship of Kenny Barron. Since then, he has participated in and composed for numerous recordings, including nine albums as a bandleader. His 2003 release "Patch Kit" features jazz legends Ron Carter and Ben Riley, and revolves around his struggles with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. "Patch Kit" raised awareness and funds for the disorder, and led to an invitation from Marian McPartland to be a guest on her long-running NPR program "Piano Jazz" in 2005. Two compositions premiered on that show then appeared on his album "Soul Force," a tribute to the life and message of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Soul Force" featured Mr. Baerman's writing for large ensemble, with soloists including trombonist Robin Eubanks, percussionist Warren Smith, and saxophonist Steve Wilson. In 2008, Mr. Baerman was awarded a "New Works" grant from Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation. The resulting "Know Thyself," a 65 minute suite for septet, was premiered at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and at the Jazz Gallery in New York, and was recorded for a 2010 release. His most recent release is "Ripples" (2014), a sweeping mission statement for Mr. Baerman. The powerful music addresses causes ranging from teenagers in foster care in need of homes, to disability and illness, as well as more global themes of persistence, courage, and non-violence. "Ripples" has received accolades from DownBeat, Jazziz, Hot House, Goldmine and the Village Voice, among other publications. Some tracks feature his longtime trio augmented by a five-piece chamber ensemble. Others feature the Jazz Samaritan Alliance, a group Mr. Baerman co-founded in 2012 with saxophonists Jimmy Greene and Kris Allen, vibraphonist Chris Dingman '02, and drummer Johnathan Blake. This group is a collective of accomplished artists working to compose and perform socially-conscious music.

Mr. Baerman lives in Middletown, Connecticut with his wife, visual artist Kate Ten Eyck (Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, and Art Studio Technician at Wesleyan University), and he has gained a strong reputation as an educator. He directs the Jazz  Ensemble at Wesleyan University, and has taught music courses through their Graduate Liberal Studies program since 2002. His teaching concepts have been codified through ten well-regarded instructional books published by the Alfred Publishing Company. His blog, "NB Pontificates," covers topics ranging from philosophical explorations of love and non-violence, and frank discussions of his experiences as a survivor of disability and childhood trauma, to his popular musical "Top 10" lists, and his own vegetarian recipes. As Artistic Director of the non-profit Resonant Motion, Inc., Mr. Baerman is overseeing a range of projects that educate, empower, and inspire others.

For more information about Noah Baerman, please visit http://www.noahjazz.com.

About the Music Department
The Wesleyan University Music Department provides a unique and pioneering environment for advanced exploration committed to the study, performance, and composition of music from a perspective that recognizes and engages the breadth and diversity of the world's musics and technologies. As an integral part of one of the nation's leading liberal arts institutions, the department has enjoyed an international reputation for innovation and excellence, attracting students from around the globe since the inception of its visionary program in World Music four decades ago.

Recent annual music festivals in partnership with the Center for the Arts  have brought to campus a diverse array of artists, including Max Roach, Pete Seeger, Zakir Hussain (India), Thomas Mapfumo (Zimbabwe), Boukman Eksperyans (Haiti), Boogsie Sharpe (Trinidad), and Hugh Masekela (South Africa).

A recording studio, a computer and experimental music studio, the Center for the Arts media lab and digital video facility, the World Instrument Collection (which includes the David Tudor Collection of electronic musical instruments and instrumentation), and the Scores and Recordings Collection of Olin Library (which includes the World Music Archives) offer many learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

For more information about the Music Department, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/music/.

About the Performing Arts Series
The Performing Arts Series at the Center for the Arts features a wide array of world-class musicians, cutting-edge choreography, and groundbreaking theater performances and discussions. This season's upcoming performances include the Connecticut premiere of The Nile Project (Friday, April 10, 2015). The dozen musicians in The Nile Project perform “joyous and even raucous” (NPR Music) songs from traditions of Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda. For more information, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa.

A World of Arts in the Heart of Connecticut