LiveConnections Announces 2017-18 Season of Community Collaboration

LiveConnections Announces 2017-18 Season of Community Collaboration

Music nonprofit LiveConnections' 2017-18 concert series, which features collaborative concerts especially for adventurous music-lovers, dares to ask a bold question: Can music build community? The season's performances provide the opportunity for musicians to create distinctive, boundary-blurring music, often involving new commissions and world premieres, while collaborating with members of the greater Philadelphia community and beyond.

""These concerts blur the line between audiences and performers," said LiveConnections Presents concert curator Mary Javian. "At LiveConnections we believe the communities we work with, including youth from public schools and individuals with disabilities, are all potential collaborators."

The season begins with the unlimited imagination and powerhouse artistry of the Fifth House Ensemble, which joins Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux to perform Dan Visconti's "Living Language" on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 7:30PM.

"Fifth House Ensemble perfectly embodies LiveConnections approach to music-making: collaborative, curious and adventurous," said Javian. "Jason is a longtime friend and frequent LiveConnections collaborator. His exquisite playing and free spirit make him an audience favorite."

The 30-minute guitar concerto covers a "broad musical landscape" with elements of "prog rock, neoclassicism, heavy metal, Arabian folk music, country blues" and more (San Francisco Chronicle). Additional ensemble and solo guitar works round out an inventive, not-your-standard-classical-music program. In keeping with LiveConnections' educational mission, students who have participated in workshops with Fifth House will open the concert on December 13, and the artists will present two LiveConnections Bridge Sessions (interactive, educational concerts) for 300 public school students on December 14.

British ensemble VOCES8 takes a cappella chamber singing to a new level, and will bring a unique program to LiveConnections on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 3PM. Called "impeccable" (Gramophone), the 8-voice ensemble performs everything from Renaissance polyphony to pop contemporary commissions.

"VOCES8 is one of the most compelling groups I have ever heard live," said Javian. "The founders trained at Westminster Abbey and come from a choral tradition that is centuries old, yet the group has a delightfully fresh take on music from the past and present."

For this concert, to kick-off a two-year LiveConnections project focused on accessibility through singing, VOCES8 will be joined by choirs from Penn Alexander School, a public school in West Philly, and Germantown Recovery Community, which serves individuals receiving therapeutic, mental health and recovery services. The two community choirs will be participating in workshops with VOCES8 co-founder Paul Smith in the fall and spring. VOCES8 will also present two LiveConnections Bridge Sessions for 300 participants, including youth from public schools and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities, on March 5. Additionally, in the fall, Paul Smith will present a workshop for public school teachers on Friday, October 27, 2017 at The Curtis Institute on the "VOCES8 Method" of music education, which models how to work with students on rhythms and melodies from pop, African, Latin-American, Indian, and Asian music.

The season concludes with Grammy-winning, Syrian-born clarinetist Kinan Azmeh and the acclaimed Aizuri Quartet on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 7:30PM.

"Azmeh, a member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, is one of the most important artists touring today," said Javian. "I can't think of a better match than the Aizuri Quartet as collaborators. Just named quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, this group represents the quartet of the future: collaborative, innovative and socially engaged."

These powerhouse musicians come together for a concert spanning classical, jazz, and Arab musical languages. The collaboration draws on the artists' inventive and thought-provoking approaches to music-making, featuring works by Armenian priest Komitas Vartaped, Russian composer Yevgeniy Sharlat, and a world premiere of new work by Syrian native Azmeh. The concert will also include performances by students who have been part of LiveConnections' "Immigrant Songs" residency, a song-writing and story-telling after-school program for refugee teenagers at Northeast High School in collaboration with HIAS PA.

In addition to the LiveConnections Presents concert series, LiveConnections' annual fundraising event and music-making extravaganza, The Big Hurrah, takes place on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 starting at 5:30PM. The party features the Connector Award honoring YoungMoo Kim, director of Drexel's ExCITe Center; performances by "Cybersounds" trio Andrew Lipke, Angela Zator Nelson & David Rosen; "African-American Spirituals" trio Allen Pinkney, Luke Carlos O'Reilly, and Kwasi Burgee; artist collaborators Jakub Ciupinski, Josh Robinson, and Yolanda Wisher; students from partner schools; and more.

LiveConnections' music education and community programs in 2017-2018 will include 44 Bridge Sessions, LiveConnections' signature educational performances at partner venue World Cafe Live, reaching 5000 youth from public schools as well as youth and adults with disabilities; "What's Going On," a Motown-inspired song-writing residency at Hill-Freedman World Academy; "Immigrant Songs," a song-writing and story-telling after-school program for refugee teenagers at Northeast High School in collaboration with HIAS PA; an after-school percussion ensemble at Bregy Elementary; and a series of workshops for patients at St. Christopher's Children's Hospital in collaboration with Art-Reach.

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