Stone Church concert to feature award-winning performers
At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Velez, Cotler and Friesen will share their innovative approaches to rhythm using stepping, gesture and rhythm vocals exploring pulse flow and time awareness. Then, on Saturday, participants in the Your Rhythm, Your Life workshop taking place this same weekend share their musical and rhythmic discoveries in a free and open concert. Both concerts take place at Immanuel Episcopal Church, The Stone Church on the Hill, 20 Church St. in Bellows Falls.
Using exotic rhythms as her muse, Cotler executes with the human voice phrases that do not seem possible in their rhythmic speed and clarity. Her emotionally-charged melodic inventions and evocative percussion-driven interpretations of jazz standards and original compositions are informed by raw melismatic improvisations, jazz-scat and pop stylings, along with lightning-fast South Indian drum language.
After earning a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music, followed by a Master's degree in Music Therapy from New York University, she became a professor of Music Therapy and Voice at the New School (2001-2006) and worked extensively in the clinical field. In addition to conducting regular master classes at The Juilliard School in New York City, Cotler's unique teaching method is being embraced at conservatories and universities throughout the world. She has performed in Taiwan, Mexico, Israel, Brazil, and throughout Europe and the United States.
Cotler is a core member of Ta Ka Di Mi project led by Velez. She has been receiving rave reviews for her leading role as anchorwoman in the "The News:" a reality opera composed by the renowned avant-pop Dutch composer JacobTV. This year, she has been in the studio recording her first solo album LOIRE: a voice unchained, to be released soon.
A four-time Grammy Award winner, Velez is the founding father of the modern Frame Drum movement and is regarded as a legendary figure among musicians and audiences world-wide. During his career, Velez has single-handedly popularized this ancient drum for the modern world.
His virtuosic combinations of hand movements and finger techniques, along with his original compositional style - which incorporates stepping, drum language and Central Asian Overtone singing (split-tone singing) - has opened new possibilities for musicians around the globe.
Velez is the first percussionist to gain international recognition as a successful solo artist using frame drums. In 1989, his mastery caught the attention of 20th century composer John Cage, who composed a piece especially for him, titled "Improvisation for One-Sided Drum with or without Jingles."
His most recent work, presented as the Glen Velez Ta Ka Di Mi Project, features the virtuosic rhythm vocalist Cotler and other guest artists. Velez is also a core member of Trio Globo featuring Eugene Friesen and Howard Levy.
Velez is an adjunct professor at the Mannes School of Music in New York City and conducts regular master classes at The Juilliard School and Tanglewood Summer Music Program. REMO and Cooperman Drum Co. created an exclusive line of Glen Velez Signature Series Frame Drums, as well as Glen Velez Signature Series Shakers by Anklang Co. of Germany.
Friesen is active internationally as a cellist, composer, and teacher. A graduate of the Yale School of Music, he has been featured on recordings and in concerts all over the world with the multiple Grammy Award-winning Paul Winter Consort, with Trio Globo (Friesen, Velez, and Howard Levy), and in his popular CelloMan performances for children and families.
A pioneer in the teaching of improvisation to classically trained musicians, Friesen has led workshops throughout North America, Brazil and Europe. His book, "Improvisation for Classically Trained Musicians" (Berklee Press/Hal Leonard), was released in June 2012. Friesen's newest CD, "The Essential Collection," dynamic tracks from four self-produced albums, was published this year. He is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Tickets in advance are $20 general admission ($15 for seniors and children under 12) and $25 ($20) at the door. Premium reserved seating, up-front in comfortable chairs, is $35. More information and advance tickets are available at Village Square Booksellers on the Square in Bellows Falls, online at www.stonechurcharts.org or by calling 802-460-0110.
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