U of G Hosts Annual Jazz Colloquium

August 29, 2008 - News Release

The University of Guelph is hosting a free colloquium on improvisation from Sept. 3 to 5 at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre as part of the 15th annual Guelph Jazz Festival.

The Guelph Jazz Festival is the only jazz festival in Canada that offers an educational colloquium with free public workshops, concerts, lectures and panel discussions.

The theme of this year's jazz festival and colloquium is "Diaspora, Dispersal, Improvisation, and Imagination." Panel discussions and workshops will explore the ways people use improvisation and imagination to create community and turn exile into art.

"The colloquium is a huge favourite with festival audiences who come to hear top scholars talk about jazz and improvised music and also enjoy having the opportunity of listening to festival musicians talk about their work," said Prof. Ellen Waterman, School of Fine Art and Music and colloquium coordinator.

"It's an event that truly brings art and discourse together. This year is all about diversity and will cover topics ranging from African jazz and Brazilian music to digital improvisation and freestyling among First Nations youth."

The colloquium has run for the past 12 years of the festival's 15-year history.

This year there will be 41 speakers including three keynote lecturers. The colloquium kicks off Sept. 3 at 9:15 a.m with a lecture by George Lipsitz, cultural theorist and professor of Black Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who will talk on "Improvisation and Diaspora: Why New Orleans Matters."

Linda and Michael Hutcheon will give a talk Sept. 4 at 3:45 p.m. titled "Jazz/Opera and the Staging of Race." A professor of English and Comparative Studies at the University of Toronto, Linda Hutcheon is one of the world's most important theorists of contemporary culture. Michael Hutcheon is an author and professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. Together they have published numerous articles and books on the intersection of medical and cultural history. This talk is co-sponsored by the TransCanada Institute.

Deborah Wong will give the final keynote lecture on Sept. 5 at 9 a.m. Wong, who is an ethnomusicologist, author and professor of music at the University of California, Riverside, will speak on "Improvisation in America Taiko."

New this year will be research presentations by participants of the inaugural Summer Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, a two week U of G program for graduate students and scholars.

The festival was started in 1994 by U of G English professor Ajay Heble and has evolved into a world-class showcase for jazz performance and education.

Its sponsors include the schools of Fine Art and Music, Languages and Literatures, and English and Theatre Studies, as well as the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, the Central Student Association and various other U of G departments.

Hailed as one of Canada's most influential music festivals, the Guelph Jazz Festival was recently named one of five finalists in the arts organization category of the 2008 Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts, which recognizes outstanding achievement in and contribution to Ontario arts and culture.

Organizers are still looking for volunteers, specifically volunteers with technical and production experience, cooking and food service experience, theatre experience as well as people who can help with set-up and security at the jazz tent on Saturday.

For every six hours of service, volunteers receive a complimentary ticket to a festival event, as well as a T-shirt and an invitation to a volunteer appreciation party.

For more information on how to volunteer and for a colloquium schedule. For more information contact Greg Fenton at 519-824-4120, Ext. 56547 or send e-mail to jazzcoll@uoguelph.ca

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

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