Musical performances at Williams College

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Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars

April 8 at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus.

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of war and enflamed the passions of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy. The band is a potent example of the redeeming power of music and the ability of the human spirit to persevere through unimaginable hardship and emerge with optimism intact. From their humble beginnings in West African refugee camps, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have performed on some of the world's most prestigious stages and matured into one of Africa's top touring and recording bands. They also now play an important diplomatic role as spokespersons and for the ever-increasing millions of refugees worldwide.

Throughout the 1990s, the West African country of Sierra Leone was wracked with a bloody, horrifying war that forced millions to flee their homes. The musicians that would eventually form Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars are all originally from Freetown, and they were forced to leave the capital city at various times after violent rebel attacks. Most of those that left the country made their way into neighboring Guinea, some ending up in refugee camps and others struggling to fend for themselves in the capital city of Conakry.

After a 10-year adventure that has taken them from the squalor of refugee camps to the world's biggest stages, Africa's most inspirational band continues to ascend. Over the years they have evolved to become one of Africa's most recognized bands with fans across the globe. Their albums and live shows embodies and radiates the joy, passion for music and love for their fellow man that have made Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars a living testament to the resilience of the human spirit and an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.

For their appearance at Williams the band will be performing songs from their albums: Libation, Radio Salone, Rise and Shine, and Living Like A Refugee. Selection will be announced from the stage. The All Stars lineup: Reuben Koroma (lead vocals, congas); Jahson Bull (vocals, keyboard, guitar); Ashade Pearce (vocals, guitar); Dennis Sannoh (vocals, bass); Christopher Davies (drums).

Violinist Anne Robert

April 11 at 8 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall.

Visiting Artists Anne Robert, violin, and Jean-François Latour, piano, present a recital in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. On April 12 at 4:15 p.m. on the artists also offer master classes in which talented Williams music students play for and are guided by the visiting artists. Concurrent with the violin master class in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, pianist Jean-François Latour will also lead a master class in Chapin Hall. These free events are open to the public.

Their program includes three sonatas: Sonata op. 23, no. 4 in A Minor by Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata op. 108 no. 3 in D Minor by Johannes Brahms, and Sonata in A Major by César Franck.

Robert is renowned for her "sensibility, warm sound, dexterity and elegant phrasing" (The Strad Magazine, London). She enjoys an active career as a chamber musician and regularly plays in Canada, Europe, Asia and the United States. First violin of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal for twelve years, she is a member of the Trio Hochelaga, which she founded in 2000. Anne Robert also gives recitals with organist Jacques Boucher and was artistic director of the Maison Trestler Summer Festival for seven years. She has created "Continuum", an artistic and medical project which supports people with genetic susceptibility that can lead to cancer.

Anne Robert's discography contains more than thirty titles which reveal her vast and varied repertoire and her particular affinity with French post-romantic music. Among those recordings are some first editions of works by composers such as Dubois, Tournemire, Huré, Lazzari, Vierne and Migot. She regularly gives master classes and serves on juries, notably for the Montreal International Music Competition and the Tibor Varga Competition (Switzerland). She was awarded many grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and has the ongoing support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and of the Conseil des arts de Montréal for her different artistic projects.

She received the highest diplomas in interpretation from Indiana University, the Royal Academy of Music of London and the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. Her teachers were Josef Gingold , Manoug Parikian and Taras Gabora for the violin and Menahem Pressler, Janos Starker, Gyorgy Sebok and Otto Joachim for chamber music.

Renowned pedagogue, she teaches at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal and at the International Summer Academy of the Orford Arts Center. She plays on a 1738 Carlo Antonio Testore violin.

Jean-François Latour, piano

Latour has established a reputation as a poetic and imaginative artist with brilliant technique and a strong personal voice who can communicate across cultures and generations. Leon Fleisher, with whom he studied at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, calls Latour "a highly gifted and intelligent artist with fine musical instincts." His rapidly growing prominence on the international scene brought M. Latour engagements in Paris, Toulouse, Geneva, Hamburg, Brussels, Washington, Baltimore, and Chicago. He has also played in China, in Japan, and in South Africa. As an active performer in Canada and in the United States, Jean-François Latour is regularly invited by several orchestras and festivals. M. Latour's live performances have been broadcast by the Radio Suisse-Romande, Radio Audizioni Italiane, Radio-Télévision Belge de langue Française, Chicago Classical Radio, Vermont Public Radio, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. M. Latour is currently professor at the Université de Sherbrooke.

Eya Ensemble

April 16 at 8 p.m. in Thompson Memorial Chapel on the Williams College campus. The group will present a master class with Williams music students at 4:15 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall. Medieval music vocal ensemble Eya offer a unique program titled "Heartform" in the unique setting and beautiful acoustics of Thompson Memorial Chapel.

Inspired by the exquisite Chansonnier Cordiforme ("Heart-shaped Songbook"), Eya sifts through a fantastic array of music and poetry that speaks of longing, of sensuality, of connection with the Beloved. Heartform softens the line between sacred and secular, exploring the profound theme of Sacred Desire whilst asking the question: is every kind of love sacred?

In this inventive and exciting collaborative project, Eya layers the delicately-crafted works of the Chansonnier Cordiforme, featuring French and Italian songs of the early Renaissance, folded within the lines of Rumi, John Donne, Hildegard von Bingen, Richard Rolle, the Song of Songs, Shakespeare, Peter Gabriel, and many more. The program includes a special commission by Baltimore-based composer Douglas Buchanan along with music by Hildegard von Bingen, Francis Poulenc, and Richard Einhorn, as well as Gregorian chant, spoken text, and poetry.

Eya is an award-winning vocal ensemble based in Washington, DC specializing in the interpretation of medieval music for women's voices. Launched in 2010 and directed by Allison Mondel, Eya has established its place in the Washington, DC community as an early music ensemble of impeccable vocal quality and deep spirit.

Bigmouth performs

April 20 at 8 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall.

Bigmouth is led by double bassist and bass guitarist Chris Lightcap, Class of 1993. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Chris Lightcap has worked with Marc Ribot, Regina Carter, Craig Taborn, John Medeski, Tomasz Stanko, John Scofield, The Swell Season, Mark Turner, Joe Morris, Chris Potter, Glen Hansard, Sheila Jordan, James Carter, Butch Morris, Ben Monder, Tom Harrell and others. His playing is featured on over 60 albums.

In addition to his work as a sideman he has led a variety of bands since 2000 and has produced four critically acclaimed albums of original music. Lightcap's first two CDs as a leader, Lay-Up (2000) and Bigmouth (2003) were released on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and featured a quartet line-up with Gerald Cleaver on drums and Tony Malaby and Bill McHenry on tenor saxophones. Two years later he expanded the group to a quintet, naming it Bigmouth and establishing a line-up of Craig Taborn on keyboards, Chris Cheek and Malaby on tenor saxophones and Cleaver on drums. In 2010 Bigmouth recorded Deluxe, Lightcap's third CD as a leader, on Clean Feed Records with alto saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo also joining the group on three selections. The Wall Street Journal called the recording "superb" and it was named one of the best releases of 2010 by The New York Times, NPR, The Village Voice, and Jazz Times, among other publications.

In 2006 he received a commission to compose for the ensemble counter (induction, which premiered his piece Wiretap at the Tenri Cultural Center on October 16, 2006. In 2011 he received a New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America. Bigmouth premiered Mr. Lightcap's resulting work, Lost and Found at the Earshot Jazz Festival on October 28, 2012 in Seattle, WA. The work was subsequently broadcast on NPR for the show Jazzset with Dee Dee Bridgewater. A performance of the piece the following year was reviewed by The New York Times. Bigmouth's 2015 release on Clean Feed Records, Epicenter features this batch of music along with a cover of The Velvet Underground's All Tomorrow's Parties.

Film composer Paul Chihara's Japanese American musical memories

Professor Paul Chihara of New York University gives a lecture titled, "Japanese American Musical Memories" on Friday, April 22, at 4:15 p.m. in Room 30 of Bernhard Music Center on the Williams College campus. In conversation with Prof. W. Anthony Sheppard, composer Paul Chihara will discuss his musical experiences from his family's internment during World War II to his work as composer-in-residence at the San Francisco Ballet to his highly successful career as a Hollywood, Broadway, and television composer.

Paul Chihara's prize-winning concert works have been performed in most major cities in the U.S. and Europe. His numerous commissions and awards include those from The Lili Boulanger Memorial Award, the Naumberg Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Fellowship, the Aaron Copland Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as from numerous major orchestras. Mr. Chihara has composed scores for over 100 motion pictures and television series and has been very active in the New York musical theatre world. Mr. Chihara is a Professor of Music at New York University.

'REwind" art installations come to Williams College

An art installation featuring music and text built around testimony from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings that followed South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy returns to the Williams College campus April 4-17.

"REwind: a Cantata for Voice, Tape, and Testimony," a multimedia production, was commissioned by, and in part created at, the '62 Center for Theatre and Dance nine years ago. Set to music and illuminated by projected text and images, the work captures the communal and individual experiences of both transgressors and victims of the atrocities of apartheid.

REwind premiered live at the '62 Center at Williams in 2007 under the direction of Gerhard Marx, with Williams Choral Director Brad Wells conducting. Today, the Gaudino program returns the work to Williams with an installation of seven videos, dispersed across the campus, that disrupt the everyday experience of our spaces. By bearing witness to the TRC process, the sounds and images challenge viewers to reflect: what are the costs of keeping such memories of collective trauma alive? What are the costs of letting them go?

This distributed installation includes video monitors in Sawyer Library, Hollander Hall, WCMA, '62 Center, Schow, Davis Center, and Milne Public Library, each showing one of these clips, with audio available on headphones. The entire production will be screened continuously in Thompson Memorial Chapel for the duration of the installation. The production was conceived and composed by South African composer Phillip Miller, and designed by visual artists Gerhard and Maja Marx.

The Gaudino Fund, '62 Center for Theatre and Dance, the Williams College Museum of Art, Williams College Libraries, the Davis Center, the Chaplain's Office and the Milne Public Library are co-sponsoring the installation.


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