Critically acclaimed jazz musicians Fred W. Houn '79 and Jane Ira Bloom will visit Harvard this week to hold student workshops on improvisational performance.
Houn, the 1987-88 Peter Ivers Visiting Artist, will work with a single group of students throughout the week to develop a program of individual performance art. Participants will perform the program on Friday in Cabot House.
Bloom, who will visit the campus through the Learning From Performers Series sponsored by the Office of the Arts, will join a regular rehearsal of the Harvard Jazz Band Wednesday evening. The saxophonist will also conduct a session open to other musicians later that night.
"We try to work out some way in which students of all levels can have intensive contact with a professional artist," said Susan Zielinski, co-ordinator of the Learning From Performers program.
"Although most of the participants tend to be artists who are familiar with such collaborations, we have had people come who had never done anything like that before," Zielinski added.
Both Bloom and Houn have won critical acclaim in their fields. Bloom recently won the "Downbeat" magazine critics' poll for the saxophone and has been compared to soprano sax masters John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter.
Houn, who calls himself a "composer/musician/writer/activist", has recorded two successful jazz albums which combine strains of African and Asian music. His essays and poems have been published in major Asian American magazines.
"He is very much an activist and an artist," Zielinski said. "He is very interested in how art can be a catalyst for social change, which should appeal to a number of people here at Harvard."
"I think it very much complements the existing arts curriculum at Harvard," Zielinski said. "This type of direct, hands-on experience with an artist is unlike anything we could teach them otherwise."
In November, the Office of the Arts will also bring Grammy Award winning trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to Harvard for a day. Ellis Marsalis, Wynton's father and a teacher at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, will join in the workshops and discussion sessions.
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