2014 Signature Series: Sun Ra Cosmic Centenary, Terence Blanchard, and More

By
Nick Balkin
January 17, 2014
Terence Blanchard

The Signature Music Series at Berklee presents an extraordinary season of jazz, world, and folk music performances by a cross-section of Berklee students, faculty and alumni, and renowned, award-winning musicians. The spring 2014 half of the series features Sun Ra Cosmic Centenary (February 20), the Great American Songbook: Great Women Songwriters (February 23), the Middle Eastern Music Festival: the Music of Armenia (March 3), and the State of Jazz Composition: Terence Blanchard with the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra (April 27).

The Signature Music Series at Berklee takes place at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. Purchase tickets at berkleebpc.com, by calling 617 747-2261, or at the BPC box office. The venue is wheelchair accessible.

February 20 - Sun Ra Cosmic Centenary 

Admission: $8 in advance, $12 day of show, reserved seating, 8:15 p.m. 

A self-proclaimed visitor from Saturn, composer, keyboardist, and visionary Sun Ra was the most eclectic and electric jazz musician and bandleader of the 20th century. His music ranged from keyboard solos to extravagant multimedia performances with his large Arkestra and touched on virtually the entire history of jazz. This concert celebrating Sun Ra's 100th anniversary features Arkestra members Marshall Allen, Charles Davis, and Danny Ray Thompson.

February 23 - The Great American Songbook: Great Women Songwriters 

Admission: $8 in advance, $12 day of show, reserved seating, 7:30 p.m.

Female composers have made an indelible mark on the Great American Songbook. In this concert, Berklee students and faculty will showcase great songs from the pen of Aretha Franklin, Dorothy Fields, Bessie Smith, Carole King, and Billie Holiday, to name a few. Performers will include Donna McElroy, Natalia Sulca, Jennifer Hoyt, Nigel Tay, Gabriela Carrillo, and Tickwanya Jones.

March 3 - The Middle Eastern Music Festival: the Music of Armenia

Admission: $8 in advance, $12 day of show, reserved seating, 8:15 p.m.

Berklee's annual Middle Eastern Music Festival brings together artists from the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean and celebrates the musical traditions and cultures of those regions. This year's edition will showcase the music of Armenia, with Berklee's Pletenitsa Balkan Choir and Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, visiting artists, folk dancers, visual artists, and more.

Sunday, April 27 - The State of Jazz Composition: Terence Blanchard with the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra 

Admission: $16, $8 in advance, $20, $12 day of show, reserved seating, 7:00 p.m.

In the culminating performance of Berklee's State of Jazz Composition Symposium, celebrated jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Terence Blanchard will perform with the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra, directed by faculty member Greg Hopkins.