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Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and MassArt Art Museum Premiere New Student Works

21/10/2022

Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and MassArt Art Museum Premiere New Student Works The free event will take place at the MassArt Art Museum on Saturday, October 29.

By

Tori Donahue

October 20, 2022

Students from the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, pictured here with Kris Davis (top right), the institutes associate program director of creative development, will perform at the MassArt Art Museum on Saturday, October 29.

Image by Kelly Davidson

A group of students from the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice will perform original compositions on Saturday, October 29, at 1:30 p.m. at the MassArt Art Museum (MAAM). Commissioned by MAAM, the compositions were inspired by Valkyrie Mumbet, Joana Vasconceloss site-specific installation honoring the story of Elizabeth Mumbet Freeman, an enslaved woman whose 1781 court battle for freedom helped make slavery illegal in Massachusetts.

The concert program features works by Berklee students Katie Webster, Brian Urra, Devon Gates, Arina Bagaryakova, Nika Ko, and Anabel Gil Diaz. Admission to the event is free.

I am thrilled to announce this collaboration between the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and MAAM, said Kris Davis, the institutes associate program director of creative development. Although we work in different artistic mediums, both institutions share similar values, working toward a cultural shift by providing opportunities and a platform for underrepresented artists. This commission is a unique opportunity for young composers to explore a multidisciplinary approach to composing.

As MassArts teaching museum, and Bostons only free contemporary art museum, MAAM is a space for all to see something new and participate in conversation about todays critical issues, said Lisa Tung, executive and artistic director of the MassArt Art Museum. Elizabeth Mumbet Freemans story of bravery, equality, and liberation is one that all citizens should share and celebrate, and I am so delighted that it will take on new life through the original compositions of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. I cannot wait to hear how Freeman and Joana Vasconceloss monumental installation has inspired the students.

About the Composers Katie Webster is an alto saxophonist, composer, and improviser from Seattle, Washington. Currently pursuing her masters degree at Berklee, she studies in both the Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute. As a composer, she explores distinctive soundscapes through layers of playful counterpoint, seeking to capture particular moods while allowing musicians as much agency for interpretation as possible. Some of her musical inspirations include Anthony Braxton, Gary Bartz, Nicole Mitchell, Kris Davis, Tineke Postma, and Tony Malaby.

A Chilean violinist and composer, Brian Urra blends jazz, soul, Celtic, and contemporary classical improvisation in his music. Currently in his final year at Berklee, he is pursuing a degree in jazz composition and performance. He is a student at the Berklee Global Jazz Institute and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.

Devon Gates is a bassist, vocalist, and composer from Atlanta, Georgia. She is studying social anthropology at Harvard College and jazz performance at Berklee, where she is also a student and intern with the Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. As a composer, she is interested in bridging contemporary and traditional modes of storytelling across styles, genres, and disciplines in order to create embodied spaces for collective reflection and community building.

Arina Bagaryakova (bagarisha) is a singer, poet, and pianist from Ekaterinburg, Russia, currently in her seventh semester at Berklee. Her sound can be described as a blend of Russian folk music, jazz, and pop. She has been a student with the Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice for three years.

Nika Ko is a pianist and composer from Portland, Oregon. They are currently completing their last semester at Berklee, where they study screen scoring and piano performance. Their music spans many genres, including jazz, classical, and electronic music. Whether it is presented in a film or on the bandstand, Nikas music has often been described as cinematic and evocative. They take inspiration from composers including Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, B la Bart k, Gustav Mahler, Joe Hisaishi, John Williams, and A. R. Rahman.

Anabel Gil Diaz is a flutist, pianist, and composer from Cuba and Spain, currently in her seventh semester at Berklee. Her music incorporates elements of Cuban music, third-stream jazz, and flamenco. Her main compositional influence is Orbert Davis, director of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she has worked for eight years.

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