Preview: Philosophy of Improvisation

A two-day Philosophy of Improvisation Workshop will draw musicians, writers and producers together to challenge perceptions of musical improvisation

The Philosophy of Improvisation Workshop is set to take place on 17 April in Gateshead and on 18 April in Durham. The workshop consists of talks and discussions that explore the thinking behind improvisation, as well as a lunchtime recital on the second day.

As organiser and Jazz Journal contributor Andy Hamilton (pictured right) explains: "The event aims to challenge the received view that improvisation in musical performance is a kind of 'instant composition', with lower artistic status than composition. Alternative approaches to thinking about the topic will be presented, focusing on the aesthetic value of spontaneity and energised performance. The workshop will explore the concept of an 'aesthetics of imperfection' in which spontaneous process is valued over finished product. While this aesthetic is expressed most clearly in the work of improvising musicians, it's also necessary for higher-level creative performance while following a score. The concept thus deepens our capacity to understand and appreciate both improvised and composed music."

The workshop is aimed at performers, promoters, producers, researchers, teachers and jazz enthusiasts. Participants include improvising musicians Louise Gibbs and Steve Beresford from the UK, and Mike Baggetta and Kris Tiner from the US. Also taking part are writer Philip Clark (pictured left), promoters and record producers.

On Sunday 17 April the workshop takes place at St Mary's, Gateshead (next to The Sage). The programme includes US musician Kris Tiner's paper "Exploding The Classical Idea Of Composition" and Newcastle-based musician and composer Paul Edis discussing "Decisions, Revisions, Intention And Integrity - A Subjective Understanding Of Composition And Improvisation".

On Monday 18 April the workshop moves to Durham University Music Department on Palace Green. The day features a recital by Baggetta and Tiner, as well as a panel discussion which will draw the workshop to a close.

The event is free but those wishing to attend need to book tickets separately for each day. The full programme can be found at the Workshop website.

Tickets for Sunday 17 April can be booked at the Sage Box Office - telephone 0191 443 4661 or email the Box Office.

Tickets for Monday 18 April can be booked by emailing Lara Pearson at Durham University.

Bruce Lindsay

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