U of G Hosts Annual Jazz Colloquium

August 30, 2007 - News Release

The University of Guelph is hosting a free jazz colloquium Sept. 5 to 9 at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (MSAC) to coincide with the 14th annual Guelph Jazz Festival. Keynote speaker is award-winning saxophonist, composer and educator Anthony Braxton.

The Guelph festival is the only jazz festival in Canada that offers an educational colloquium (with free workshops, lectures and panel discussions) as part of its regular schedule of events. “It brings together diverse communities of interest by providing a scholarly forum for dialogue among researchers, creative practitioners, arts presenters, journalists and members of the general public," said Ajay Heble, a U of G English professor and artistic director of the festival.

The theme of this year's jazz festival and colloquium is “People Get Ready: The Future of Jazz Is Now!" Panel discussions and performances will focus on improvisational music, its place in the contemporary world and the future, and the relevance to communities and social action.

Nearly 30 speakers will address topics related to the colloquium's theme. Participants include poet Amiri Baraka, New York bassist William Parker and legendary musician and activist Charlie Haden.

Braxton, a professor at Wesleyan University, will give a keynote talk Friday at 9 a.m. on tri-centric modelling. He came to prominence during the 1960s with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and has had more than 100 albums of his work released. He is known for breaking new conceptual and technical ground in the trans-African and trans-European musical traditions. He is also the founder and artistic director of the non-profit Tri-Centric Foundation, where he helps develop music education and practice as a tool for adapting to a changing world, through establishment of youth programs, community alliances and music.

Other highlights of the colloquium include a panel discussion Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. on "The Virtual Future of Jazz: Improvisation, Technology and Time," featuring participants from New York, Australia, California and Michigan, as well as a concert from 10:45 a.m. to noon that features Heble, U of G music professor Ellen Waterman and others.

Thursday's events include a 9 a.m. discussion with musicians, critics and journalists on the future of jazz, a round table on "Crisis in New Music" and a panel discussion on "Jazz Education, Jazz Activism, Jazz Futures."

A full colloquium schedule is available online.

Heble started the Guelph Jazz festival in 1994. Over the years, it has evolved into a world-class venue for jazz performance and education. It has been hailed as one of the most visionary musical events in Canada and received the prestigious Lieutenant-Governor's Award for the Arts.

Sponsors of the festival and colloquium include U of G's schools of Fine Art and Music, Languages and Literatures, and English and Theatre Studies, as well as MSAC, the Central Student Association, the Human Rights and Equity Office and various other University colleges and departments.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1