“Music Elevating the Soul”
With Hermitage Fellows and Musicians Courtney Bryan (Piano) and Ashley Jackson (Harp)
Friday, July 30 @ 6:30pm ET
The Hermitage Artist Retreat
6660 Manasota Key Road
Englewood, FL 34223
Join two of the nation’s leading and most versatile musicians — celebrated pianist and composer Courtney Bryan and renowned harpist Ashley Jackson — as they share their original work and speak about their creative process. This is an evening of extraordinary music not to be missed!
Courtney Bryan, a native of New Orleans and a returning Hermitage Fellow, is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (The New York Times). Her music is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals, and hymns. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Bryan’s compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and Columbia University (DMA) with advisor George Lewis, and completed postdoctoral studies in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Bryan is currently the Albert and Linda Mintz Professor of Music at Newcomb College in the School of Liberal Arts, Tulane University, and a Creative Partner with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. She was the 2018 music recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, a 2019 Bard College Freehand Fellow, a 2019-20 recipient of the Samuel Barber Rome Prize in Music Composition, a 2020 United States Artists Fellow, and is currently a recipient of a 2020-21 Civitella Ranieri Fellowship.
Praised for her rhythmic precision and dynamic range, harpist and Hermitage Fellow Dr. Ashley Jackson enjoys a multifaceted career as a highly sought-after musician and collaborator in New York and beyond. As a highly versatile artist, she has developed a unique “groove beyond gentility” on her instrument (I Care If You Listen). As an orchestral harpist, she performs with the New York Philharmonic, Metropolis Ensemble, the Qatar Philharmonic, and is the principal harpist of NOVUS NY, the contemporary music orchestra of Trinity Wall Street led by Grammy-nominated conductor Julian Wachner. She appears regularly with the Harlem Chamber Players, and has recently joined Ensemble Échappé, a flexible group of soloists dedicated to performing works from the 20th and 21st centuries. Dr. Jackson has appeared on stages in New York and around the world including Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, Park Avenue Armory, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sala São Paulo, Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman, and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China. Dr. Jackson holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School, a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University.
Ashley Jackson’s Hermitage Residency generously sponsored by The Ruby E. & Carole Crosby Family Foundation.
Artists in Conversation: “Identity in Art”
with Hermitage Fellows
Autumn Knight & Robert Pruitt
Friday, August 6 @ 6:30pm ET on the Hermitage Beach
Presented in Partnership with Art Center Sarasota
Join two acclaimed visual artists from across the United States — interdisciplinary artist Autumn Knight, and figurative artist Robert Pruitt — as they offer an intimate and candid look into their creative process, exploring themes of identity in their work.
Autumn Knight is an interdisciplinary artist working with performance, installation, video, and text. Her performance work has been on view at various institutions including DiverseWorks Artspace, Art League Houston, Project Row Houses, Blaffer Art Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum, Skowhegan Space (NY), The New Museum, The Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Optica (Montreal, Canada), The Poetry Project (NY) and Krannart Art Museum (IL), The Institute for Contemporary Art (VCU), Human Resources Los Angeles (HRLA) and Akademie der Kunste, (Berlin). Knight has been an artist in residence with with In-Situ (UK), Galveston Artist Residency, YICA (Yamaguchi, Japan), Artpace (San Antonio, TX) and a 2016-2017 artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem (NY). Knight is the recipient of an Artadia Award (2015) and an Art Matters Grant (2018). She has served as visiting artist at Montclair State University, Princeton University and Bard College. Her performance work is held in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2016) and holds an M.A. in Drama Therapy from New York University. Knight was recently awarded the 2021-2022 Rome Prize
Robert A. Pruitt received a BA from Texas Southern University (2000) in Studio Art and an MFA from The University of Texas in Austin (2003) with a concentration in Painting. He has exhibited his work locally, nationally, and internationally, most notably at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The Dallas Museum of Art, the 2006 Whitney Biennial, and the Studio Museum of Harlem. He has participated in influential residencies such as Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ArtPace, Fabric Workshop Museum, and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art. He has received numerous awards including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, The Joan Mitchell Artist Grant, The Artadia Award, a project grant from the Creative Capital Foundation, and the William H. Johnson Award. Pruitt’s practice centers on rendering large scale figurative portraits. He projects into those images a juxtaposing series of experiences and material references, denoting a diverse and radical black past, present, and future. He also works with sculpture and animation. Pruitt lives and works in New York City.
Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens: “Words and Music: Performance in Process”
with Hermitage Fellows Ni’Ja Whitson and Thea Lobo
Friday, August 27th at 6:30pm
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota
Two unique and extraordinary performing artists, Ni’Ja Whitson and Thea Lobo, will share their words, voices, and music in a memorable summer evening at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Hermitage Fellow, Creative Capital and Bessie Award Winner, gender nonconforming/astral transmogrifier, interdisciplinary artist and writer, Ni’Ja Whitson, has been referred to as “majestic” and “magnetic” by The New York Times and is recognized by Brooklyn Magazine as a culture influencer. Ni’Ja is a 2018 MAP Fund recipient, featured choreographer of the 2018 CCA Biennial, and 2018-2020 UBW Choreographic Center Fellow. Other recent awards include a US Artists Fellowship nominee, Shortlist for the Tarpaulin Book Award (The Unarrival Experiments), Camargo/Jerome Foundation Fellowship, Dance in Process (DiP) Residency, Hedgebrook Fellowship, LMCC Process Space Residency, Bogliasco Fellowship, Brooklyn Arts Exchange Artist Residency, among dozens of other residencies and awards across disciplines. Whitson has been a student and practitioner of indigenous African ritual and resistance forms for two decades, creating work that reflects the sacred in street, conceptual, and interdisciplinary performance. They engage a nexus of postmodern and African Diasporic performance practices, through a critical intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and spirituality. Working internationally, creative efforts include collaborations and performance in theater, dance, music, and visual art with artists including Douglas Ewart, Cynthia Oliver, Jaamil Kosoko, Sharon Bridgforth, Dianne McIntyre, Charlotte Brathwaite, La Pocha Nostra, Daniel Alexander Jones, Baba Israel, Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis. A noted innovating practitioner of the Theatrical Jazz Aesthetic and accomplished improviser Whitson performs nationally with renowned musicians and enjoys a close collaborative partnership with Douglas Ewart of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Ensembles have included Oliver Lake, JD Parran, Matt Shipp, Edward Wilkerson Jr., Mankwe Ndosi, Tatsu Aoki, and Joseph Jarmon. Whitson’s award-winning practice extends to choreography, directing, and dramaturgy in conventional and experimental theatre with artists such as Dianne McIntyre, Regina Taylor, Susan Watson-Turner, Emily Mendelsohn, Charlotte Brathwaite, Daniel Alexander Jone, and he collaborative team Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis. Recent Commissions and residencies include opening artist of the 2018 Cornell Center for the Arts Biennial, EMPAC, Danspace at St. Marks Church, LaMaMa Moves! Festival, Vision Festival, PRELUDE Festival, and Harlem Stage. Whitson’s evening-length work, A Meditation on Tongues, premiered to sold out New York audiences at the American Realness festival, received a Critic’s Pick from the New York Times and toured nationally. Whitson’s 2019 premiere Oba Qween Baba King Baba received three Bessie nominations including Outstanding Production, Outstanding Design (of which Ni’Ja was co-costume designer) and Outstanding Performance (Kirsten Davis).
Other recognitions and awards include several New York Times, Time Out New York and Chicago Critic’s Picks, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Outstanding Ensemble Award, Downtown Urban Theatre Festival Audience Award, Vermont Studio Center Writing Residency, LinkUp Inaugural Artist in Residence, Chicago DanceBridge Residency, John G. Curtis Jr. Prize, Archibald Motley Grant, 3Arts Visual Artist Award Nomination, and a MFA Fellowship Award from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ni’Ja Whitson engages in an active bi-coastal practice as an Assistant Professor at University of California Riverside, and received a second MFA at Goddard College in creative writing as the recipient of an Engaged Artist Award.
Hailed as “excellent,” “impeccable,” “limpidly beautiful,” “impressive,” “stunning,” and “Boston’s best,” Hermitage Fellow and Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo‘s 2020-21 season has included performances with The Spectrum Singers, Great Music in a Great Space Series, USF New Music Festival, The Sarasota-Manatee Bach Festival, EnsembleNewSRQ, Emmanuel Music, and others. Ms. Lobo has previously appeared under conductors Gunther Schuller, Harry Christophers, Stephen Stubbs, Joshua Rifkin, and Andris Nelsons, and has been featured by the Firebird Ensemble, Boston Baroque, Naples Philharmonic, Boston Early Music Festival, Artist Series of Sarasota, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Europäisches Musikfest Stuttgart. Her dedication to new music, art song, and early music has seen her featured on True Concord’s 2016 Grammy winning recording of Stephen Paulus’s ‘Prayers & Remembrances,’ invited to the Carmel Bach Festival as an Adams Fellow, a prizewinner at the Bach Vocal Competition for American Singers, a grant recipient of the Julian Autrey Song Foundation, a winner of the St. Botolph Club Emerging Artist Award, premiere-recording new roles with Guerilla Opera, and performing as a soloist under the direction of composers Steve Reich, Vinko Globokar, Fred Lerdahl, Christian Wolff, and Louis Andriessen. A graduate of New England Conservatory and Boston University, she now serves as artistic and executive director of the initiative Indictus Project, which promotes the classical music of women, minorities, and other marginalized composers throughout history.
The highly popular Artful Lobster is our signature fundraising event, and the only benefit to take place on our historic Gulf front campus on Manasota Key. With a luscious lobster feast catered by Michael’s On East and live entertainment featuring a celebrated Hermitage Fellow, the Artful Lobster is anticipated as the season kick-off for many across our community.
To learn more about Artful Lobster, click here.
Tickets will go on sale a later date.