The Wild Beast Concert Series
Always one of the highlights of the spring semester at CalArts, the three-day spectacle of sumptuous sight and sound offers both classical and contemporary performance expressions from around the globe. Nine free concerts at the Wild Beast music pavilion feature the talents of internationally acclaimed CalArts faculty, top student performers and special guest virtuosos from Asia and Africa.
Student Indian Ensemble
The North Indian Ensemble draws from a repertoire of compositions of vocal and instrumental music dating back from the 16th century, in the great court of Akbar, to the present time. Mian Tansen was the ninth jewel of Emperor Akbar’s court. He learned from his guru Swami Hardas, and later passed on this information to family and disciples. Baba Allauddin Khan Sahib learned from his guru Mohamed Wazir Khan (a descendant of Tansen), then taught to his son Ali Akbar Khan who taught, among many other famous and illustrious disciples, his grandson Aashish Khan, who teaches this ensemble at CalArts. This oral tradition is known as Guru-Shishya Parampara, and this particular lineage is known as: The Baba Allauddin Khan Maihar Seniya Gharana.
“What am I to do, O you faithful ones?
I do not know who I am
I am neither a Christian, nor Jew, nor of Zoroastrian faith, nor a Muslim”—Rumi
Music and literature demonstrate the value of internal and external dialogue as the means to facilitate peace. With the current climate of fear and confusion comes the need for a dialogue which, I believe, must involve each of us. Without this inner spiritual language we can easily become trapped in our own prejudicial thinking and then it is impossible to have a meaningful dialogue with others. Though musical dialogue consists of compositional forms (known musical elements) and improvisational forms (unknown musical elements); the composition and improvisation is constructed through musical activities and very special inspired musical moments that the composer and performer wish to reveal. The members of the Persian Ensemble seek, through this musical dialogue, to awaken an awareness of Persian culture, in the belief that it is vital to the development of music and to creating the mutual acceptance so desperately needed in our world.
Chavoshi, poem by Akhavan Sales, composed by Pirayeh Pourafar improvisation
Eshge Janan, poem by Attar, composed by Houman Pourmehdi
La Makan, poem by Rumi, composed by Houman Pourmehdi
World Percussion Ensemble
directed by Randy Gloss, Houman Pourmehdi and Andrew Grueschow
The CalArts World Percussion Ensemble is an ongoing experimental forum bringing together the percussion, drumming and world music traditions at CalArts. The ensemble bridges cultures and musical ideas, creating an entirely new body of work for percussion consisting of both highly fixed compositions and extended improvisations. The World Percussion Ensemble was conceived in the early days of the institute by founding faculty and percussion vanguard, the late John Bergamo. It remains a vital an integral platform for percussionists and world music students to explore the possibilities within the world of drumming.
Aza West African Ensemble
Instrumental music, songs, and dancing from the Ewe, Ga and Dagomba traditions of West Africa (Ghana). Tonight’s program features the CalArts premiere of Bawa, an idiom of Dagomba music and dance that demonstrates the celebration of rain and life. Aza Ensemble also is proud to share the stage with their director/performer from Ghana, Nani Agbeli, and Andrew Grueschow, both faculty in the African Music and Dance Program. Nani and Andrew are fired up about the chance to show how expert performers build energy through creative interaction on stage. Featuring the CalArts Aza African music ensemble, and special guest Volta Drum Dance.
Day One | Day Two