Members' Room: Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr. with Alicia Hall Moran, Who Hears Here? On Black Music, Pasts & Present
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Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr. is an award-winning musicologist, music historian, composer, and pianist whose prescient theoretical and critical interventions have bridged Black cultural studies and musicology. Representing twenty-five years of commentary and scholarship, these essays document Ramsey’s search to understand America's Black musical past and present and to find his own voice as an African American writer in the field of musicology. This far-reaching collection embraces historiography, ethnography, cultural criticism, musical analysis, and autobiography, traversing the landscape of Black musical expression from sacred music to art music, and jazz to hip-hop. Taken together, these essays and the provocative introduction that precedes them are testament to the legacy work that has come to define a field, as well as a rousing call to readers to continue to ask the hard questions and write the hard truths.
Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center's Artistic Director for Jazz, says, "Guthrie Ramsey has culled his ultimate mixtape of essays in Who Hears Here? His prismatic essays are essential reading for anyone wanting to understand why they bob their head or move their feet while simultaneously asking the question: Why does this feel so damn good? Dr. Ramsey is uniquely positioned as the brilliant musician and scholar who can translate sound for us. Our music is lucky to have his ear and mind locate the metaphors that only show their face in a sound wave. I hear!"
A Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr. is a prize-winning music historian, pianist, composer. He is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Pennsylvania.
In this one-of-a-kind event, Dr. Ramsey converses with Alicia Hall Moran, an award-winning mezzo-soprano, conceptual artist, composer, arranger, educator, and journalist. Ms. Moran is the recipient of a Jerome Hill Artist Grant, a Van Lier Fellowship, and the Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship. Moran earned an NAACP Theatre Award nomination (Best Female Lead in a Musical) for her contemporary portrayal of Bess on tour in the Tony Award-winning production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. She has recorded two critically acclaimed albums, Heavy Blue and Here Today. She co-produced and directed the touring Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration, with pianist Jason Moran, which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2019 and continues to tour with the involvement of authors Isabel Wilkerson, Margo Jefferson, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Donna Jean Murch, Julie Dash, and Linda Jackson Williams. As an innovative and much sought-after teaching artist, Moran was named the Inaugural Chamber Music Artist in Residence at the Frost School of Music in 2020 and other high-profile residences such as Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, MASS MoCA, Yale Art Gallery, New England Conservatory, Harlem School of the Arts, the Juilliard School as Creative Associate. Ms. Moran has been commissioned to create numerous original works at leading global institutions, including Washington National Opera, the Museum of Modern Art, ArtPublic/Miami Art Basel, The Kitchen, Whitney Biennial, Venice Biennial, Histories Remixed/Art Institute Chicago, and Institute for Contemporary Art/Boston, among many others. aliciahallmoran.com Photo by Thais Aquino
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