On April 3 and 4 at Harvard University, pianist and composer Vijay Iyer will present Black Speculative Musicalities: The Fromm Players Concerts, a festival and symposium created to shine a bright light on the radical sonic imaginings of the African diaspora. The events will honor the artists who, through their powerful imaginations, have challenged and expanded our notions of what music is, what it can be, and what it can do. The performers include Meshell Ndegeocello, Roscoe Mitchell Quartet, Val Jeanty’s NiteBjuti, Imani Uzuri, and Yvette Janine Jackson’s Radio Opera Workshop.
Black Speculative Musicalities: The Fromm Players Concerts, curated by Vijay Iyer
Friday, April 3: Visionary singer/songwriter/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello presents her ensemble with Chris Bruce, Jebin Bruni, and Abraham Rounds. Kicking off this evening is Harvard composer and sound artist Yvette Janine Jackson’s Radio Opera Workshop featuring Esperanza Spalding, Tia Fuller, Rajna Swaminathan, Davindar Singh, Taiga Ultan, and Judith Hamann.
Saturday, April 4: NEA 2020 Jazz Master Roscoe Mitchell (founding member of the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago) brings his Quartet (Mitchell, saxophones, flutes, percussion; Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet; Junius Paul, bass; Vincent Davis, drums). Vocalist, composer and librettist Imani Uzuri performs her solo cantata, Conjure Woman. Fusing electronics and African Vodou rhythms, Val Jeanty presents her project NiteBjuti (Jeanty, Candice Hoyes, Mimi Jones).Doors at 8:30, shows at 9pm. Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, CambridgeApril 4 Black Speculative Musicalities: A Symposium. In conjunction with the concerts, there will be a public symposium on Black Speculative Musicalities bringing together scholars, artists, and students in a series of talks from 10:30am to 4:00 in the Thompson Room of the Barker Center, 112 Quincy Street, Cambridge. Confirmed speakers include 2019 MacArthur Fellow Saidiya Hartman, scholar and activist Shana Redmond, prolific cultural critic Greg Tate, innovative gospel scholar and practitioner Braxton Shelley, Vijay Iyer, and others.