Rudresh Mahanthappa '92, a saxophonist, composer, and Berklee alumnus, will discuss the integration of modern concepts such as melodic/harmonic material derived from 20th-century classical sources and rhythmic approaches of non-Western music to create both improvisational and compositional vocabulary.
A Guggenheim fellow and 2009 Downbeat International Critics Poll winner, Mahanthappa is one of the most innovative young musicians and composers in jazz today. He has incorporated the culture of his Indian ancestry and fused myriad influences to create a truly groundbreaking artistic vision.
As a performer, he leads/coleads seven groups to critical acclaim. His release Kinsmen, featuring Carnatic saxophone legend Kadri Gopalnath, was named one of the top jazz albums of 2008 by over 20 news sources including the New York Times, NPR, BBC, JazzTimes, and the Village Voice, to name just a few.
As a saxophonist, Mahanthappa has achieved international recognition, performing regularly at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide. As a composer, he has received commission grants from the MAP Fund, American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Mahanthappa holds a bachelor of music degree in jazz performance from Berklee and a master of music degree in jazz composition from Chicago's DePaul University. He now teaches at the New School university in New York, where he is regarded as an important and influential voice in the jazz world. Mahanthappa uses Vandoren reeds exclusively. He is also a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow.
Iconoclastic and prolific faculty guitarist David "Fuze" Fiuczynski, a jazz player who "doesn't want to play just jazz," has been hailed by the world press as an incredibly inventive guitar hero who continues to deliver music that is unclassifiable, challenging, and invigorating. Fiuczynski's recent music has been described as a fresh palette of otherworldly sounds, melding traditional melodic elements of Arabia, Asia, India, and Eastern Europe with his signature brand of highly funky jams.