Miguel Zenón and the Spektral Quartet "Yo Soy La Tradición"
10th Anniversary Commission
Saturday, September 24, 7:15-8:15pm
To celebrate its 10th Anniversary, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival has been pleased to partner with the David and Reva Logan Center for the Arts in commissioning Miguel Zenón to compose a series of pieces to be performed with Chicago’s own Spektral Quartet.
In awarding alto saxophonist MIGUEL ZENÓN the “Genius” grant in 2008, the MacArthur Foundation wrote, “This young musician and composer is at once reestablishing the artistic, cultural, and social tradition of jazz while creating an entirely new jazz language for the 21st century.” Multiple Grammy nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow, Miguel Zenón is widely considered one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation. Born and reared in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Miguel studied classical saxophone in Puerto Rico before receiving degrees from Berklee College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. His recording, Alma Adentro, a tribute to The Puerto Rican Songbook, was chosen as the Best Jazz Recording of 2011 by iTunes and NPR, and nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. His recording, Identities are Changeable, is inspired by the idea of national identity as experienced by the Puerto Rican community in the United States, specifically in the New York area and was chosen as one of the best jazz recordings of 2014 by NBC News, NPR, The Boston Globe and Rhapsody, All*About*Jazz, and Jazz News Magazine, among others. He has been featured in innumerable publications from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to DownBeat, Billboard, and Newsday; he has also topped the Rising Star Alto Sax category of DownBeat Critic's Poll Jazz Artist of the Year, Alto Saxophonist of the Year on the 2014 Jazz Times Critics Poll, selected the 2015 Alto Saxophonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association. A founding member of the groundbreaking SFJAZZ Collective and a composer, arranger, and artistic director, Miguel is also an educator who has taught and performed in West Africa and given lectures and master classes all over the world; he is also a permanent faculty member at New England Conservatory of Music. Miguel’s work has been “inspired by music from the rural areas of Puerto Rico,” and he has written “a series of pieces for String Quartet and Alto Saxophone that reflect some of his recent research on these traditional musical forms.”
Since its inception, the SPEKTRAL QUARTET, ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago, has sought out the “discourse between the great works of the traditional canon and those written this decade, this year, or this week.” It tries to create connections across centuries through interactive concert formats and bold programming. The ensemble has also tried to find vehicles for bringing classical music into everyday life, including the Mobile Miniatures project, which rallied more than forty composers from across the US to write ringtone-length pieces for download to mobile devices. In 2013, the group recorded its debut album, Chambers (Parlour Tapes) and then released the South American jazz and tango-themed From This Point Forward with Miguel Zenón. In January, the group released its 4th album, Serious Business (Sono Luminus), an illumination of humor in classical music. The SPEKTRAL QUARTET includes ELIOT HEATON, violin; CLARA LYON, violin; DOYLE ARMBRUST, viola; and RUSSELL ROLEN, cello.