5851 Nathan Benderson Cir
“Hermitage Sunsets @ NBP: Musical Moods”
with Hermitage Fellows Amie ElSaffar and Chris Ryan Williams
Presented in partnership with Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy
Friday, February 2 at 5pm
Nathan Benderson Park Finish Tower (entrance at 5851 Nathan Benderson Cir, Sarasota, FL 34235)
Registration is required. $5 per person.
Growing up in Chicago in a home where Arabic, Spanish, and English were all commonly heard as the Beatles played on the turntable, jazz trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Amir ElSaffar has always been interested in the most expansive range of music possible. Exploring the complex forces shaping the simultaneous realities of trauma and power in all Black Americans, Chris Ryan Williams’ multidisciplinary works have been seen across the United States and Europe. Both composers have a love for collaboration, improvisation, and experimentation and a deep interest in how music builds community. These two celebrated composers and performers will be sharing the ‘stage’ at Nathan Benderson Park. Join the Hermitage for an incredible evening of music and conversation with these internationally renowned talents.
Returning Hermitage Fellow, composer, trumpeter, santur player, and vocalist Amir ElSaffar is an important voice in an age of cross-cultural music making. He has been described as “one of the most promising figures in jazz today” (Chicago Tribune). A recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a 2018 US Artist Fellow, ElSaffar is an expert trumpeter with a classical background, conversant not only in the language of contemporary jazz, but has created techniques to play microtones and ornaments idiomatic to Arabic music but not typically heard on the trumpet. Additionally, he is a purveyor of the centuries old, now endangered, Iraqi maqam tradition, which he performs actively as a vocalist and santur player. As a composer, ElSaffar has received commissions from the MAP Fund, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), Newport Jazz Festival, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chamber Music America, Jazz Institute of Chicago, and was composer-in-residence at the Royaumont Foundation in France. Described as “an imaginative bandleader, expanding the vocabulary of the trumpet and at the same time the modern jazz ensemble” (All About Jazz).
Hermitage Fellow Chris Ryan Williams is an interdisciplinary artist, musician, and educator based in Brooklyn and is most at home collaborating with contemporary improvisers and experimentalists. He has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. His work explores the dyad of ancestral trauma and power existing in all Black Americans. Williams has been commissioned by WasteLAnd and International Contemporary Ensemble and has been in residence or with BANFF Centre for the Arts, Foundation of Contemporary Arts, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Musik Installationen Nürnberg and others. He has collaborated with creators including Hermitage Fellows Fay Victor and Luke Stewart, as well as Eyvind Kang, Joanna Mattrey, Miriam Parker, Patrick Shiroishi, Bennie Maupin, Nicole Mitchell, Wendy Eisenberg, Pink Siifu, and Marjani Forte-Saunders.