A Solstice Soiree December 18th

17 12 2008


Ok, so paganism may not be at the forefront of your mind during this time of year, but fear not, this is not cloaked figures at Stonehenge paganism we’re talking about…we are talking winter solstice which, since ancient times has been a night for revelry: singing, dancing, feasting, and bonfires. Sadly we cannot indulge your desires for fire or dancing-it’s a museum people-but we can certainly satisfy your yen for a little pagan holiday inspired fun.

First up: Music.

There will be Renaissance party music in the courtyard starting at 5:30pm. Yes, you read that right: Renaissance party music. Who knew? If, however, renaissance party music is not your thing, check out the Nadia Washington Quartet as part of the Jazz at the Gardner series; the concert starts at 7pm and requires an After Hours PLUS ticket-check out our link below:


Next up: Feasting.

The Gardner Café will be open during After Hours, serving delicious sweet and savory small plates. Not to be missed is The Poinsettia, a seriously festive cocktail created specifically for this event.

Lastly: That pagan inspired fun I promised.

The Gardner Museum is chock full of Christian imagery, but Mrs. Gardner was never one to say no to a little mischief-so with some digging you’ll find plenty of intriguing pagan-inspired art too. Grab a copy of our self-guided pagan tour to discover images of Hebe, the dispenser of nectar and ambrosia, and the Maenads, followers of Dionysus who were known for their frenzied dancing. Wait – did I say there wouldn’t be dancing…..?

Maggie Moran is the Communications Intern at the Gardner Museum and a big fan of After Hours. She agrees with Mrs. Gardner’s assessment that one should not “spoil a good story by telling the truth,” but would like to assure you that the information contained in this blog post is all completely true.

Groove out to your own Wanderlust on September 18!

10 09 2008

Sigh, wanderlust, it’s the best word isn’t it? It conjures up a longing for travel a la On the Road or The Sun Also Rises (hmm…I think my own summer reading is influencing this post!). But seriously, what better way to kick off a new year of After Hours than exploring the idea of travel as a means for soul searching exploration? Of course you can always just come, grab a drink with a friend, check out the galleries and skip the soul searching bit!

Gardner herself was inveterate traveler, heading to Asia for several months during the late 1880s. Who knew that over 130 years later those incredible travels would inspire another person? For those of you haven’t seen artist Luisa Rabbia’s video project Travels with Isabella, the September 18 After Hours is your chance!

Here, Rabbia has created a moving video of images from Gardner’s own travel scrapbooks from her Asia voyage, fused with drawings by Rabbia. Both old and new, this piece is such a great example of the residency program at the museum and how bringing living artists to the museum infuses the Gardner with new ideas and ways of looking.

Dr. Magpie

Also not to miss is our first After Hours PLUS concert by Dr. Magpie, a fantastic string jazz group fresh out of Berklee College of Music.

Named for a bird that chatters and improvises, Dr. Magpie is composed of six of Berklee’s finest string instrument players, who’ve come together to create a sound that draws equally from Appalachia, New York (both uptown AND downtown), and the freewheeling Left Bank of prewar Paris. It includes two fiddles, two guitars, mandolin, and bass!
Julie Crites is Director of Program Planning for the Gardner Museum and the grand pooh-bah of After Hours. An avid food-lover, gallery-goer and jewelry-maker, Julie is the brains behind at least a couple of the sake-tinis you’ll enjoy over the months at After Hours, so raise a glass to her the next time you’re in the courtyard. You can reach her at jcrites at isgm dot org

Questions for Chris Enright

25 10 2007

On November 15th, composer and pianist Chris Enright will open the Jazz at the Gardner series with a performance at 7pm. We talked with Chris recently about his music.

Chris Enright tumbnailTell us a little about the music you’ll be playing. Any stories behind how any of these tunes came into being?
We’ll be playing at least one movement from my “Blessed Are The Forgetful” suite. It was originally an extended composition project I had to do while I was at Berklee.

I had a hard time getting rolling, and found most of the writing for the project to be too academic. If you spend enough time studying music, it’s pretty easy to over-think things and micromanage a piece. At the time, I was working for one of my former music teachers, Ran Blake, who often writes pieces inspired by various Hitchcock films. So I decided to write a suite inspired by one of my favorite films, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” It really opened things up for me and I started fusing the technique I’d gained from Berklee, with my own compositional voice. I use this technique with a lot of my pieces.

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Musicians talk about Hemphill

15 10 2007

For Duke Ellington, the pinnacle of praise was to describe a musician as “beyond category.” The late Texas-born saxophonist and composer Julius Hemphill, who came up through the worlds of R&B and jazz, merits the full measure of that Ellingtonian encomium. Read more.

For an article in yesterday’s Globe, jazz correspondent Kevin Lowenthal interviewed a number of the musicians performing this Thursday at After Hours about saxophonist Julius Hemphill’s legacy and impact. Click the link above to read more about what pianist Ursula Oppens and saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, both playing in the 7pm concert “Music of Julius Hemphill,” had to say. You’ll also get another perspective from saxophonist Russ Gershon, who will be playing live in the courtyard from 5-7pm.

Tickets to the 7pm concert are going fast, so act soon if you’re interested in hearing some of Hemphill’s music. The courtyard performance is included with After Hours admission.

Who is Hemphill?

3 10 2007

“Much was made of a four-horn group [Julius Hemphill’s World Saxophone Quartet] working the turf of jazz without a rhythm section. Hemphill insightfully replied that he did not know what all the fuss was about. Nobody pointed to a string quartet to marvel at how well they got along with no rhythm section.”

On October 18, the Gardner will kick off this season’s Composer Portraits series with a concert of music by Julius Hemphill. If you’re a jazz fan, you may know him from the St. Louis-based Black Artists Group, or the revolutionary World Saxophone Quartet. But you may not know that he wrote classical music, too, for string quartet and piano. We’ll be playing it all in the concert at the next After Hours, but until then, a few words about his music from program annotator Ben Young:

Julius HemphillHemphill’s impact and legacy offer different things to different audiences. His identity as a fiery, constructive-minded alto saxophonist powered a substantial part of his recorded output, on which he appears as an improviser but not composer or arranger… Hemphill’s long-form writing for ensemble, with or without his participation as a player, is maybe the hardest subset of his writing to grasp..But the enduring benchmark of Hemphill’s identity as a music-maker is his craftsmanship and style as a jazz composer–arranger, the last giant in the 20th century to make an unmistakably new contribution to the field. This dimension of music making was neglected in the oeuvre that Hemphill entered when he moved to New York in 1973. Only the early work of Butch Morris suggested that there was anyone on the scene paying as much attention to the modernist precepts of beauty, ballad, close harmony, and tight execution.
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