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In the Beginning There Was Rhythm
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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 01/01/2006 at Symphony Space.

Host Stefon Harris explores five ways to experience rhythm, with the remarkable duo Synchronicity Plus (“George Washington Never Slept Here”) to the young tabla player, Suphala, the contemporary ensemble Antares, UK’s acoustic band Flook and pianist Tanya Bannister.

“Rhythm: It’s how we dance from one beat to the next. And no musical form is better at clueing us in on rhythm than the theme and variations. With the theme and variation, you get the tune at the top and then hear it evolve as the composer explores a variety of rhythmic and harmonic possibilities.”

+ About the Artists

Vibraphonist-composer Stefon Harris is heralded as "one of the most important young artists in jazz" (The Los Angeles Times). He is unquestionably developing what will be a long and extraordinary career.

Stefon Harris' passionate artistry, energetic stage presence, and astonishing virtuosity have propelled him into the forefront of the current jazz scene.  Widely recognized and lauded by both his peers and jazz critics alike, the 30 year-old is committed to both exploring the rich potential of jazz composition and blazing new trails on the vibraphone.

A graduate of The Manhattan School of Music, he received a B.A. in Classical Music and an M.A. in jazz performance. Stefon is a recipient of the prestigious Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center and has earned back to back to back Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Album including The Grand Unification Theory (2003), the 2001 release of Kindred (Blue Note) and his 1999 release of Black Action Figure (Blue Note) for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo. North Sea Jazz (Netherlands) named Harris for the prestigious International 2002 Bird Award for Artist Deserving Wider Recognition. He has been voted Best Mallet player by the Jazz Journalist Association (2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000), Debut Artist of the Year by Jazztimes, Downbeat's Critics Poll Winner for Vibraphone and Rising Star, Vibraphone (2003) Newsweek's Best Jazz CD, Best New Talent and 1999-2000 Readers Poll Best Vibraphonist by Jazziz Magazine and Chicago Tribune's Debut of the Year. 

Mr. Harris has performed at many of the world's most distinguished concert halls, including Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. The Kennedy Center, San Francisco's Herbst Theater, UCLA's Royce Hall, Chicago's Symphony Center, Detroit's Orchestra Hall, and The Sydney Opera House. He has toured and recorded with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and performed his original compositions with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra in Den Hague. He has toured South Africa, Brazil and Europe performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Istanbul Jazz Festival and the Umbria Jazz Festival, among others.

Tabla Artist, Composer, and Producer, Suphala:
“This Indian-American beauty plays those two small drums like Bruce Lee in a fistfight - with fast hands and a furious beauty.” – St. Petersburg Times

There was always music in Suphala’s life; she began studying classical piano at age four. But then she found her calling in the tabla, which won her over with its beautiful sound and the freedom of its improvisatory nature. Suphala is a protégé of the great tabla masters Ustad Allarakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain, who are a constant source of inspiration to her.

Antares has "the gift of making whatever they're playing seem the most important piece in the world," declared Gramophone magazine in its rave review of the group's debut CD Eclipse on the Innova label. Named after the brightest star in the Scorpius constellation, and one of the most luminous stars in the nighttime sky, Antares identifies its artistic mission with Scorpius' essence of change, rebirth, and bringing new life to old forms. Comprised of four virtuoso instrumentalists, Antares draws from a vast and colorful repertoire for clarinet, violin, cello and piano, as well as all their various trio and duo combinations. This versatility allows them to create programs which present the chamber masterworks of the Classical and Romantic eras alongside some of the most evocative and exciting music from the 20th and 21st centuries. Hailed by The Chicago Tribune as "powerful," "striking" and "razor-sharp," Antares' high-energy performance style and remarkable ensemble dynamic led to the quartet's selection as First Prize winner of the 2002 Concert Artists Guild International Competition.

Brian Finnegan - from Armagh, a founder member of Upstairs in a Tent.
Sarah Allen - from London, a founder member of The Barely Works and BIGJIG.
Ed Boyd - from Bath, founder member of Kershaw faves Red Ciel.
John Joe Kelly - from Manchester, has played with Altan and Paul Brady, probably the best bodhran player in the world.

Lauded by The Washington Post for playing “…with intelligence, poetry and proportion,” pianist Tanya Bannister’s recent victories at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and the New Orleans International Piano Competition confirm her status among the leading pianists of her generation. Receiving further distinction as an “Artist to Watch” on the cover of the January 2007 issue of SYMPHONY Magazine, Ms. Bannister’s career has already brought her to many of the world’s great concert halls, with recitals in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Salle Cortot in Paris, Teatro Communale in Bologna, Tokyo’s Nikkei Hall, London’s Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.


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