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Faculty Feature: Marty Ehrlich

Submitted by on December 24, 2012 – 8:28 amNo Comment

Marty Ehrlich, associate professor of jazz and contemporary music, is one of the most celebrated artists of his generation, critically acclaimed as a composer and player. In 2004 he received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in music composition. Ehrlich has performed his compositions throughout America, Europe, and Canada with three ongoing ensembles: The Marty Ehrlich Quartet and Sextet, The Traveler’s Tales Group, and The Dark Woods Ensemble.

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As a composer, he has been commissioned by the New York Composer’s Orchestra, the Boston Jazz Composer’s Alliance, The Lydian String Quartet, The Rova Saxophone Quartet, The Kitchen House Blend Orchestra, the New York String Trio, and pianist Ursula Oppens. As a sideman he has performed with a who’s who of jazz artists, appearing on over 100 CDs. Ehrlich is also musical director of the Julius Hemphill Saxophone Sextet, which has been active performing that composer’s music throughout the world.

In the classical field, Ehrlich has performed with the New York City Opera, the New York City Ballet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the St. Luke’s Orchestra, the Birmingham (England) Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Chamber Music Northwest.

He has been an artist in residence at the Gardner Museum in Boston and the Peter Ivers Visiting Artist at Harvard. Marty Ehrlich received his B.A. in music from New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston. In 1992 he was named a Distinguished Alumni of the conservatory.

Selected Courses:

The Improviser’s Laboratory (Spring 2013)

This is a class for musicians interested in developing their expressive and creative skills through improvisation. It is open to all instrumentalists, including voice and electronics. It is open to students from any musical background. You will be challenged to expand your instrumental vocabulary, and to use these languages in a context of collective improvisation. We will look at improvisational music making from a multitude of angles, breaking it down and putting it together again. This is an intensive course, requiring weekly rehearsals outside of class with small groups, listening and reading assignments involving periodic papers, and compositional exercises. Familiarity with traditional musical notation is required, as we will be exploring the role notated elements play in an improvisational work. We will be giving a final concert of the musical pieces you develop during the semester.

Music Composition from the Jazz Continuum (Spring 2013)

This class will look at the innovative approaches contemporary composers have taken in incorporating improvisation and notated composition. Seminal composers such as Charles Mingus and George Russell, Anthony Braxton and Julius Hemphill, will be looked at, as well as the work of younger artists exploring today. The focus will be on both the experimental and the vernacular in Afro-American music. The class will have a number of composition assignments, written for the instrumentation within the class, culminating in a final work and concert. A background in music theory is essential, and experience in improvisational ensembles a plus. Prerequisite: Tonal Theory II or 5 College equivalent.

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