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World premieres by Jeffrey Mumford, Kahil El’Zabar set in Fulcrum Point ‘Proclamation!’

Submitted by on Mar 10, 2016 – 5:22 pm

Jeffrey Mumford 'becoming' to premiere April 29, 2016 (Ronald Jantz)

This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.


Featuring World Premieres from Kahil El’Zabar and Jeffrey Mumford, a minimalist take on Funk, abstract expressionism, and improvisation; Tickets on-sale Friday, March 11

(CHICAGO, March 10, 2016) – Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Chicago’s leader in New Art Music led by Stephen Burns, proudly presents “Proclamation! The Black Composer Speaks,” a dynamic concert program showcasing the broad spectrum of new art music from the African American perspective at the Promontory Chicago, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave., in one performance only, Friday, April 29, at 7:30 pm.

Based on the award-winning treatise of the same name by symphonic jazz composer David Baker, the double bill incorporates music by three generations of African American composers. A highlight of the evening is the World Premiere of a dramatic, improvisatory set in the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) tradition by the internationally acclaimed percussionist Kahil El’Zabar and his quartet featuring Robert Baabe Irving III (Miles Davis’ music director/pianist), Dennis Winslett, and Harrison Bankhead alongside members of Fulcrum Point. The program also includes Alvin Singleton’s striking “In Our Own House” and Jessie Montgomery’s funky “Voodoo Dolz” for string quartet.

The cornerstone of the program is the World Premiere of composer Jeffrey Mumford’s concerto for solo piano and ensemble, “becoming…,” with Winston Choi as piano soloist. Commissioned by Fulcrum Point with support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and New Music USA, “becoming…” is an abstract expression of Mumford’s personal experience with the majesty and beauty of light, clouds, and atmosphere from childhood memories. Photographic projections will complement the music to enhance the accessibility of the presentation.

‘Proclamation! The Black Composer Speaks’ demonstrates our ongoing commitment to championing diversity in new art music,” says Fulcrum Point Artistic Director Stephen Burns. “Throughout our 18-year history we have performed music by Fela Kuti, Duke Ellington, Tania León, Hannibal Lokumbe, Anthony Davis, and Lester Bowie in addition to masters and iconoclasts like John Cage, John Corigliano, Frank Zappa, Zhou Long, Paul Moravec, and Param Vir. Thank you for your spirit of adventure.”

Tickets for “Proclamation! The Black Composer Speaks” are $35/25/15 and will be available starting Friday, March 11 at promontorychicago.com or by calling 312-801-2100.


Created in 1998 by conductor, composer and trumpet virtuoso Stephen Burns, the mission of Fulcrum Point New Music Project is to be a Chicago leader of diverse new music by presenting multi-media performances, generating educational programs, as well as commissioning and recording innovative works. Its programs are inspired and influenced by popular culture, including literature, film, dance, folk, rock, jazz, blues, Latin and world music.  Through multi-disciplinary concert performances and educational programs, Fulcrum Point seeks to encourage audiences to make cross-cultural connections between new music, art, technology and literature, gaining greater insight into today’s diverse world. For more information on Fulcrum Point and its programs visit www.fulcrumpoint.org.


Kahil El’Zabar is an international percussion master who has collaborated with Jazz legends Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Cannonball Adderley, and recipients of this year’s NEA Jazz Masters award, Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp. His illustrious career has included film scores for the movies “Mo’ Money” and “How U Like Me Now,” as well as early arrangements for Broadway show “The Lion King.” In 2014 El’Zabar was a recipient of the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres from the French government. He is thrilled to be a “Proclamation” partner with Robert Baabe Irving III (piano), Dennis Winslett (saxophone), and Harrison Bankhead (bass).


Born in Washington, D.C. in 1955, composer Jeffrey Mumford has received numerous fellowships, grants, awards and commissions. Awards include the “Academy Award in Music” from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, a Fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, a Fellowship and an ASCAP Aaron Copland Scholarship. He was also the winner of the inaugural National Black Arts Festival/Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition. Other grants have been awarded by the Ohio Arts Council, Meet the Composer, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music Inc., the ASCAP Foundation, and the University of California. His music has been performed extensively, by major orchestras, soloists, and ensembles, both in the United States and abroad, including London, Paris, Helsinki, and Vienna. Mumford’s most notable commissions include those from Washington Performing Arts, Duo Harpverk (Iceland), the Sphinx Consortium, the Cincinnati Symphony, the VERGE Ensemble /National Gallery of Art/Contemporary Music Forum, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Ole Bohn, the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt (Vienna), the Network for New Music, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a consortium of presenters consisting of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Chamber Music Columbus (OH.) and Omus Hirshbein, the Nancy Ruyle Dodge Charitable Trust, the Meet the Composer/Arts Endowment Commissioning Music/USA the National Symphony Orchestra (twice), Cincinnati radio station WGUC, ‘cellist Joshua Gordon, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation, and the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress.


Alvin Singleton was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended New York University and Yale. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied with Goffredo Petrassi at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy. After living and working in Europe for fourteen years, Singleton returned to the United States to become Composer-in-Residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (1985-88). He subsequently served as Resident Composer at Spelman College in Atlanta (1988-91), as UNISYS Composer-in-Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1996-97), and was the 2002–03 Composer-in-Residence with the Ritz Chamber Players of Jacksonville, Florida. In addition, he has served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the Yale University School of Music.

Singleton has amassed numerous awards throughout his compositional life, including a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship. Singleton has composed music for theatre, orchestra, solo instruments, and a variety of chamber ensembles. His compositions have been performed by the symphony orchestras of Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit, Oregon, Baltimore, Syracuse, Louisville, and Florida, the American Composers Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, l’Orchestre de Paris, das Guerzenich-Orchester Koelner Philharmoniker and also the Kronos Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Nash Ensemble of London, the Asko Ensemble of Amsterdam, Ensemble des 20. Jahrhunderts of Vienna, the London Sinfonietta, Trio Basso of Cologne and the Bremer Tanztheater.


Jessie Montgomery is a New York native violinist, composer and music educator. Her music has been featured on national radio by Q2 Music and National Public Radio and is performed regularly by PUBLIQuartet, the Catalyst Quartet and the Sphinx Virtuosi. She was the inaugural Musician Fellow at Lighthouse Works in partnership with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. An active chamber musician and collaborator, Jessie has performed with the highly acclaimed Catalyst Quartet, raved by the New York Times as “invariably energetic and finely burnished…performing with earthly vigor.” She was a co-founder of PUBLIQuartet, an ensemble of composers and arrangers playing their own music as well as that of emerging and established contemporary composers. From 2004-2009 Jessie was also a member of the Providence String Quartet, a pioneering ensemble in community-based music education. As well as being a traditionally trained classical musician, Jessie has collaborated as an improviser with several avant-garde greats such as Don Byron, Butch Morris and William Parker.