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Smith Presents Second Annual CREATE Festival

Jazzed Magazine • News • April 4, 2018

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Composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith will present the Second Annual CREATE Festival in New Haven, Connecticut, a two-day celebration and exploration of his inventive and unclassifiable music that will feature world or U.S. premiere performances of four new suites.

Taking place Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8, 2018 at Firehouse 12, the festival will include performances by five separate ensembles over two evenings and include an exhibit of Smith’s Ankhrasmation Symbolic Language Scores.  Performances take place at 7 p.m. each evening; exhibition walk-through on Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $30 for each of the concerts; $55 for both. There is no charge for the exhibit.

The festival debuted in April 2017 with a weekend of performances and discussions in New Haven, where it will continue each year. Create West followed at the Lab in San Francisco in December 2017. This year’s edition will include two World and two U.S. premieres of suites penned by Smith, with inspiration culled from the natural world, the cosmos, politics and a much-needed plea for tolerance.

“This idea had been in a dream state for many, many years,” Smith says of the festivals. “That long-cherished dream is being realized with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which awarded Smith the Doris Duke Artist Award in 2016.  CREATE offers a thrilling, rare opportunity to delve deeply into the full scope of Smith’s sui generis compositional voice and approach, which – in their category-defying range and breadth – can only be classified using Smith’s preferred term, “Creative Music.”

Both of Saturday’s premieres, as well as the Golden Quintet performance, will be supplemented by images provided by video artist Gilbert, who Smith says adds integral visual context to the aural elements.

“The music and imagery don’t move in separate streams,” he says. “They’re actually intimately connected and responsible for each other, allowing us to create a narrative that transcends space and time. It’s twofold: there’s a technical and musical connection, and then there’s a psychological and historical connection that helps to provide for comprehension of the work.”

In order to further that comprehension, the Festival will include an exhibition of 20 of Smith’s Ankhrasmation Symbolic Language Scores in a special gallery at Firehouse 12.  On Sunday, April 8, Smith will lead a walk-through of the exhibition along with curator Lyn Horton. He will also lead a discussion of his unique compositional approach. Curators and the general public are invited to join.

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