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Frank Carlberg Leads NEC Jazz Composers' Orchestra In Streaming Concert

Ensemble features the music of gifted NEC students performed by students, under the direction of Frank Carlberg

In a concert streamed from New England Conservatory, The NEC Jazz Composers' Workshop Orchestra performs music of gifted NEC students performed by their student peers on Tuesday, December 8 at 8 p.m. EST. Under the direction of faculty member Frank Carlberg, the ensemble gives composers the opportunity to learn how to rehearse and conduct a band, as well as have their works heard. For information and to stream the concert go to

The program features Kenny Barron's "Voyage" in an arrangements by George Behrakis, Hunter McKay's "A Thick Fog," Harrison Pershing's "Startling Skies," Joseph Borsellino III's "Three-o-sophical," George Behrakis's "Silent, But Not Forgoteen," Frank Carlberg's "Brake Tune," Hunter McKay's "No You're Not," and Joseph Borsellino III's "The Police State: A Mostly Angry Treatise of State Terrorism, Arbitrary Detention, Institutionalized Racism, and the Existential Anxiety of Black and Brown People."

Woodwinds of the orchestra include Ben Mizrach on alto and soprano saxophones and bassoon, Harrison Pershing on alto and soprano saxophones, Joseph Borsellino on tenor saxophone, Nicholas Ryder on tenor and soprano saxophones, Rayna DeYoung on bari saxophone and clarinets, and Hunter McKay on alto and tenor saxophones and clarinet. The trumpet section features Michael Brehm, Massimo Paparello, Ryan O'Connell, and Lemuel Marc. Trombonists Joseph Dies and Dylan Rogan will play, as well as bass trombonist Luke Sieve. The rhythm section includes pianist Eleanore Pruneau, guitarist Andrew Shield, bassist Sam Reiss, and drummer Gavin Connolly.

NEC's Jazz Studies Department was the brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became president of the Conservatory in 1967. He soon hired saxophonist Carl Atkins as the first department chair, as well as other greats including NEA Jazz Master George Russell, pianist Jaki Byard and Ran Blake. The foundation of its teaching and success begins with the mentor relationship developed in lessons between students and the prominent faculty artists. In addition to its two jazz orchestras, faculty-coached small ensembles reflect NEC's inclusive approach to music making, with ensembles focused on free jazz, early jazz, gospel music, Brazilian music, and songwriting, as well as more traditional approaches to jazz performance.

Students are encouraged to find their own musical voices while making connections and collaborating with a vibrant community of creative musicians, and ultimately to transform the world through the power of music. The program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers and has an alumni list that reads like a who's who of jazz, while the faculty has included six MacArthur "genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters.

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