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Reimagining Grainger Through Performance

  • Thu, February 22, 2024
  • 4:00 PM
  • Virtual via Zoom



Grainger Reimagined explores the ways in which Grainger’s outputs as composer, arranger, and performer have been recast in the contemporary moment. Such reimaginings as Alright Jack, Home Service’s folk rock version of Lincolnshire Posy, George Shearing and Mel Tormé’s lounge jazz-inflected performance of Brigg Fair, and experimental composer Jon Rose’s Perks and Skeleton in the Museum have all continued to facilitate the crossing of musical borders, enabling and promoting cross-genre music making, and acting as a refreshing alternative to prevailing musical discourses.

Each of the three online presentations in the series is given by leading musical practitioners who will explore their individual responses to Grainger’s influence in the fields of arrangement, performance and composition. Further information about the series can be found here.

The second presentation in the series is given by noted jazz guitarist and composer James Chirillo. Of this presentation, Reimagining Grainger Through Performance, James Chirilo writes:

In this presentation I will introduce my Grainger Suite, which was commissioned by the US Military Academy Jazz Knights at West Point. I will speak to what was involved in integrating and translating Grainger’s Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol and Hill Song No. 2 to allow for improvisation in a jazz context.

Jazz guitarist and composer James Chirillo has worked with many of the swing era’s greats, including Buck Clayton, Eddie Durham, Eddie Barefield, Earle Warren, Frank Wess, and Joe Wilder. A member of Benny Goodman’s last band, he has recorded with Tony Bennett, Joe Lovano, and Cécile McLorin Salvant, and has played on the soundtracks of Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown and Everyone Says I Love You, on Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road and on Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator. Between 2016 and 2023 he headed the jazz guitar studio at New York’s Juilliard School. A charter member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, he now works with the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, directed by Wynton Marsalis. In 1995, he gained a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Composition Grant for his Homage Concerto for Clarinet and Jazz Orchestra, written for clarinettist Ken Peplowski. He also wrote for and conducted cornetist Warren Vaché with the Scottish String Ensemble for the CD Don’t Look Back, which included his adaptation of Grainger’s Molly On the Shore.

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The Percy Grainger Society's programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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