U of G Hosts Annual Jazz Colloquium

September 03, 2010 - News Release

Top international scholars and music experts will discuss musical improvisation as it relates to the human body during the annual Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium Sept. 8 to 10 at the University of Guelph.

The three-day event, which is free and open to the public, includes lectures, panel discussions, workshops and musical performances. It starts at 9 a.m. each day at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre.

The colloquium is part of the Guelph Jazz Festival, which runs Sept. 8 to 12. The festival was started in 1994 by University of Guelph English professor Ajay Heble and has evolved into a world-class showcase for improvised jazz performance and education. The annual colloquium is the only scholarly event of its kind attached to a major jazz festival in Canada. It provides a forum for dialogue among researchers, creative practitioners, arts presenters and members of the general public.

“Many people call the colloquium the gem of the Guelph Jazz Festival,” Heble said, adding that this year’s colloquium follows directly on the heels of Guelph’s Summer institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. “For two weeks, students and scholars from around the world have gathered in Guelph to take part in this tremendously energizing program of graduate study. Students from the institute will be presenting papers throughout the colloquium.”

At this year’s colloquium, more than 60 participants from five countries will discuss body and improvisation from various viewpoints, looking at subjects such as history, technology and cognition. Body and gender is one of seven major research areas within the mandate of U of G’s Improvisation Community and Social Practice (ICASP) research project. Launched in 2007, it has formalized the interest and scholarly works of jazz festival and colloquium participants.

“The focus on the body as a site for the analysis of new critical perspectives, new methodologies and new artistic practices promises to open up several exciting areas of inquiry,” said Heble, who is director of ICASP.

On Sept. 8, there will be a celebration of the launch of a new ICASP website. The event includes a telematic performance in real-time across three geographical locations, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the art centre. Musicians performing live in Guelph will be connected with musicians in Bogota, Colombia, and Troy, N.Y.

The launch of IKONS, an interactive installation by George Lewis and Eric Metcalfe, takes place at 8 p.m. This installation involves an innovative piece of music using specially created software that is integrated with a large array of sculptures. Visitors literally create the work by walking through the space.

The colloquium’s second day begins with a keynote talk by Alex Lubet titled “(Paralyzed on One) Sideman: Disability Studies Meets Jazz, Through the Hands of Horace Parlan.” The launch of the Community Sound (e)Scapes sound art project and the Mulitpiano Show performance will follow at 5:15 p.m. This show involves the integration of piano and computer electronics.

The Sept. 10 program includes plenary panels at 9 and 10:30 a.m. The first panel will feature artists discussing the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians; the second features members of the Adaptive-Use Musical Instruments for the Physically Challenged project talking about music improvisation software as an interface for people with disabilities. A workshop focused on improvising with real and virtual drums across abilities will follow at 1 p.m.

More information and a full schedule of the colloquium are available online.

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

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