Yellow Barn residency brings artists together

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PUTNEY — Yellow Barn has been offering music residencies for performing musicians for 12 years. And as the program has grown, according to program executive director Catherine Stephan, there have been times when those residencies have generated collaborations between musicians.

"This year brings the largest number of residencies to date, which in some cases has generated parallel activity, creating an abundance of opportunities for audiences to connect through music," Stepan said.

Two such collaborations will be offered to audiences for free next weekend at Next Stage Arts Project in Putney.

The first concert, on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m., features "The Music Alliance Project," the brainchild of educator, composer and pianist Chase Morrin. He and vocalist Cordelia Tapping will take the stage along with three Yellow Barn alumni: flutist Rosie Gallagher, cellist John Myerscough and harpist Charles Overton.

"The Music Alliance Project brings classical and jazz musicians together in a transformative and experiential way," Morrin said. "It is dedicated to breaking down stereotypes and boundaries between these communities to create a deeper collaborative process between musicians who come from different upbringings and perspectives."

Five resident artists will immerse themselves in this project during a week-long residency at Yellow Barn's campus at the Greenwood School in Putney. When the week is over, they will present their work at this concert.

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Morrin and Tapping's partnership is rooted in jazz-based improvisation, and yet deeply tied to classical music.

"I love the traditions of ancient music and I love the sounds of the future and I particularly love mixing these together," Morrin said. "Music is most striking to me when it authentically comes from our humanity — that can be traditional things like western harmony and folk textures or it can be new sonic landscapes exploring the outer limits of sound. In the end, we're painting sonic landscapes and I believe there will be something for everyone in this performance."

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Morrin, who lives in Boston and teaches at the New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, has performed at the Panama Jazz Festival, at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, and at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Tapping has performed at the Vermont Jazz Center and in Boston and New York neighborhoods as part of Yellow Barn's Music Haul.

Since 2017, Gallagher has been a Yellow Barn musician and has performed on Yellow Barn Music Haul's New York City tours. She was recently engaged as a core member of Ensemble Connect, a program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and the Weill Institute. Gallagher is currently a Rebanks Fellow at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto.

Myerscough is the cellist of the Doric String Quartet, and joined the Yellow Barn faculty in 2018.

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Another Yellow Barn artist residency concert is slated for Sunday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m., also at Next Stage in Putney. Violinist Ying Xue and pianist Qing Jiang return to Yellow Barn to complete the work that they began during an artist residency last season. Their premiere performance of "Refractions," will focus on sonatas of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maurice Ravel, juxtaposed with works written over the past decade by Tonia Ko, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepherd, and Daniel Temkin.

"Ying and I spent several summers at Yellow Barn when we were students at New England Conservatory," Jiang said. "It was a magical place allowing each of us to connect to our inner-self and to one another while adventuring in music that are often centuries apart. Coming back to Yellow Barn through the artist residency helped us reconnect to that immersive experience."

When we co-curated the "Refractions" project with Daniel Temkin, one of the composers on the program, we felt there was an important arch here - the ideas of old works resurfacing in newer pieces and back again," Jiang said. "Looking at our own artistic journey at Yellow Barn, we feel our musical lives also mirror this thematic element, as we are coming back to Yellow Barn and finding connections we first experienced deeply many years ago as students.

It all flows together in a larger continuum of musical expression and life experience."

Both concerts are free, but reservations are encouraged and may be made at yellowbarn.org or by phone at 802-387-6637. Space might also be available at the door. Audience members are encouraged to stay for a post-concert discussion with the artists.


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