ARTech Residency In Review A look back at the 2011-12 ARTech Residency with Jade Simmons
Jade Simmons in concert with Shimon. Photo by Karen Kendrick.
CONTENTS ARTECH OVERVIEW……………………………………………………………………
2011-2012 ARTECH RESIDENT ARTIST…………………………………………….
RHYTHM AS NECESSITY RESIDENCY DESCRIPTION…………………………..
CAMPUS COLLABORATION: URBANREMIX………………………………………
CAMPUS COLLABORATION: SHIMON……………………………………………...
CAMPUS COLLABORATION: LEGENDS AND LEADERS EVENT……………...
STUDENT LETTERS: CENTENNIAL PLACE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL…………
LOOKING AHEAD: 2012-2013 ARTECH RESIDENCY……………………………….
ARTech Resident Artist Jade Simmons
ARTech Overview Now in its second year, ARTech (Artists in Residence at Tech) is an artist residency program created by Ferst Center for the Arts Director George Thompson for the Georgia Institute of Technology. The program was designed as a platform for deepening artist engagement experiences at Georgia Tech. Through ARTech, one or more performing artists will be engaged each season in extended residencies on the Georgia Tech campus to work with identified faculty and students. Collaborations will emphasize a particular exploration of the arts and science or technology that has a unique connection with Georgia Tech. Throughout the residencies, the artists and collaborating communities will explore issues surrounding art leadership, creativity and where art and science or art and technology intersect in our lives and in the creative process. External from the campus, community participants of all ages shall be engaged in the residency process by attendance at workshops, studio observation, master classes and website updates. Symposia, panel discussions and public performances wrap up the residency. Each year, new stakeholders will be identified, new ways to diffuse the residency’s theme will be explored and new ways to share the process will be communicated throughout the arts community. ARTech must endeavor to: 1) serve the artist and support their artistic process 2) engage the Georgia Tech community in a unique exploration of art and science/technology 3) share that process with the greater Atlanta community
About the Ferst Center for the Arts The Ferst Center for the Arts is a department of the Division of Student Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Named after Georgia Tech alumnus Robert Ferst, the mission of the Ferst Center is to enhance the education of Tech students and to serve as a bridge to the greater Atlanta community by offering a showcase of some of the most highly-acclaimed talent from around the world. Located in the heart of the Georgia Tech campus, the Ferst Center was conceived as a brilliant showcase for the presentation of concerts, lectures, dance, film and theater. This state-of-the-art facility houses an auditorium of 1,159 seats and features a proscenium stage, orchestra pit and theatrical lighting and sound systems. It is designed to provide a wealth of diverse and enriching opportunities for both Georgia Tech and the greater Atlanta community. The Ferst Center programs an outstanding season of music, dance, and comedy performances from September to April. Dance programming usually features contemporary and cultural dance forms, and the wide selection of musical genres includes jazz, folk, and pop music. 2011-2012 marks the Ferst Center’s th 20 Anniversary Season. The Ferst Center for the Arts gratefully acknowledges the many individuals and foundations that support the performances and educational activities of the center. This program is supported by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The Council is a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding for the Ferst Center for the Arts is also provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council, and by South Arts. Corporate support is provided by The Coca-Cola Company. Media Sponsors are the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Public Broadcasting Atlanta, Atlanta Magazine, Creative Loafing, WCLK, and The Real Yellow Pages from AT&T.
2011-2012 ARTech Resident Artist
Artist Biography Known for her musical creativity and electrifying stage presence, Jade Simmons is committed to expanding the boundaries of classical music. Simmons released her debut album in March 2009 for eOne Music entitled “Revolutionary Rhythm,” praised by Allmusic.com as "a thought-provoking, entertaining, and fun debut that easily establishes Simmons as a major talent." A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Jade completed her undergraduate work at Northwestern University under Sylvia Wang. She also holds a Master's degree from Rice University, where she studied with acclaimed pianist Jon Kimura Parker. Jade has performed extensively in the United States, highlighted by concerts on the Ravinia's Rising Stars series, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, the University of Washington World Series in Seattle, Merkin Hall and repeat engagements at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Her performances of Guggenheim Award-winning composer Tania Léon's piano works alongside pianist Ursula Oppens was named one of the Best Concerts in 2005 by ARTFORUM magazine. Jade was named Best Arts Ambassador 2011 by the Houston Press, and performed a prestigious holiday performance at the White House in December 2011. The past year found Jade serving as webcast host for the celebrated Tchaikovsky competition in St. Petersburg and Moscow, authoring her first book, "Emerge Already! The Ultimate Guide to Career-Building for Emerging Artists," and making her debut with the Illinois Symphony and the Ritz Chamber Ensemble. Jade was also a special guest performer at the Georgia Tech Black Alumni Organization's "Legends and Leaders" event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the matriculation of Georgia Tech's first African-American students. In 2012 Jade will perform a tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities under the auspices of the White House 2012 and release her highly-anticipated second genre-bending CD on the eOne Music label.
“Rhythm As Necessity” Residency Description Pianist Jade Simmons was selected as the second ARTech resident artist. The season-long residency concluded with a performance premiere of two new pieces, “Improvisations on Bafana" by Gil Weinberg featuring Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising robotic musician, and “Rhythm as Necessity…a Soundscape” featuring sound clips recorded by Georgia Tech students. During the residency, Simmons also visited local elementary school students, met with other groups on campus, participated in lectures and panel discussions and conducted a piano master class.
Rhythm As Necessity: Residency Objective To explore the ways rhythm is not only a coincidental part of human life but also vital to efficiency, productivity and powerful, effective communication, both verbal and musical.
Goals Part 1. Sound Collection- Using UrbanRemix, Georgia Tech’s cutting edge sound capturing software program, participants from the student communities of various relevant departments such as Music Technology, the Digital Media Program and the School of Literature, Communication and Culture, gathered sound bites and video clips of: a) rhythmic machinery and technology b) powerful speakers c) rhythmic human interaction and d) examples of music known mostly for its rhythmic drive. The sound clips were analyzed to determine what makes them riveting, to discover what the rhythm is being used for and to discuss why they are effective in their purpose. Part 2. Sound Reproduction- One aim was to see how much of the captured sound could be reproduced on standard instruments, newly created instruments, the human body and found objects. The goal was to see if the same powerful rhythmic impact, or greater, could be achieved once the captured rhythms are displaced from their original sources. For example: Is the rhythm of a popular piece of music as effective as a symphony of computer sounds? Is a renowned speaker’s speech pattern effective when played on percussion or on the bass strings of the piano? Part 3. Improvisation- The final performance featured Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising robotic musician, which uses its melodic and harmonic perception and improvisation modules to create surprising and inspiring musical responses. In order to create intuitive as well as social collaboration with human musicians, Shimon analyzes music based on computational models of human perception and generates algorithmic responses that are unlikely to be played by humans. When collaborating with other players, Shimon facilitates a musical experience that is both challenging and inspiring to the human players.
Culminating Concert The culminating concert featured the presentation of a piece of musical art created during the residency with the collaboration of Georgia Tech students and Shimon. The performance also incorporated the captured and reproduced sounds. As part of the performance, Jade was joined by Collide, her eclectic trio made up of multitalented saxophonist and electronic musician Jonathan Sanford and Craig Hauschildt, award-winning percussionist/composer. Collide offers a hybrid mash-up of music performed on traditional instruments, electronics as well as found objects. Their sound runs the gamut from contemporary classical, to jazz-inspired and hip-hop flavored original compositions. Their performance for this concert was reflective of the outcomes of the residency.
Residency Schedule Week One: October 10-13, 2011 DAY ONE Monday, October 10, 2011 10:00 AM Education outreach session with Drew Charter School 1:00 PM Lecture with first-year Georgia Tech students English 1101 Class 3:00 PM Lecture with first-year Georgia Tech students English 1101 Class 5:00 PM Rhythm as Necessity: The Interface of Language and Art, an interactive discussion with Georgia Tech’s Brittain Postdoctoral Fellows DAY TWO Tuesday, October 11, 2011 9:00 AM Meeting with Jason Freeman, Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech School of Music 10:30 AM Rehearsal session with Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising robotic musician and Mason Bretan, Georgia Tech Music Technology Graduate Student. 12:00 PM Lunch with George Thompson, Ferst Center Director, and Sonny Seals, Ferst Center Board Chairman 1:30 PM Rehearsal session with Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising robotic musician and Mason Bretan, Georgia Tech Music Technology Graduate Student 3:00 PM National Pan Hellenic Council Sorority Tea with Stephanie Ray, Associate Dean of Student Affairs 6:00 PM Piano Masterclass with Georgia Tech music students
Jade Simmons rehearses with Shimon
DAY THREE Wednesday, October 12, 2011 8:00 AM Rehearsal session with Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising robotic musician and Mason Bretan, Georgia Tech Music Technology Graduate Student. 11:00 AM GT1000 class lecture on “Stress, Success, and the Arts” 12:30 PM Rehearsal session with Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising robotic musician and Mason Bretan, Georgia Tech Music Technology Graduate Student. 5:00 PM Implications of Race & Gender in Classical Performance Symposium 6:00 PM Student Arts Reception hosted by Ferst Center’s Student Arts Council
DAY FOUR Thursday, October 13, 2011 9:00 AM Week One Debrief: Discuss the week’s progress, and plan for next residency visit
Week Two: February 12-19, 2012 DAY ONE Monday, February 13, 2012 10:00 AM Education Outreach Session with Centennial Place Elementary School 1:00 PM Guest lecturer, Georgia Tech Music Appreciation class 3:00 PM Rehearsal session with Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising robotic musician and Mason Bretan, Georgia Tech Music Technology Graduate Student 7:30PM The Creative Impulse, a lecture for Georgia Tech’s Women in Architecture student group DAY TWO Tuesday, February 14, 2012 9:30 AM Education Outreach Session with Drew Charter School 12:15 PM Education Outreach Session with Kennedy Middle School 2:00 PM Rehearsal onstage with Shimon and Collide 4:00 PM Phone Interview with Andrew Alexander for Arts ATL preview article
Jade Simmons with Drew Charter School students
DAY THREE Wednesday, February 15, 2012 8:00 AM Rehearsal session with Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising robotic musician and Mason Bretan, Georgia Tech Music Technology Graduate Student 10:00 AM Radio Interview with Todd Schnick, Dreamland Radio 1:00 PM “Urban Remix Composition and Creation” classroom discussion with Georgia Tech’s English 1102 students 3:00 PM Relocate Shimon to the Ferst Center stage
DAY FOUR Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:00 AM Rehearsal onstage with Shimon and Collide 12:00 PM Radio Interview with “The Voice of the Arts” AM 1690 2:00 PM Rehearsal onstage with Shimon and Collide DAY FIVE Friday, February 17, 2012 Collide available for master classes DAY SIX Saturday, February 18, 2012 8:00 PM Culminating Concert, Ferst Center for the Arts 11:00 PM Tweet-Up/Afterparty at the Artmore Courtyard and Lounge
Jade Simmons and Collide in concert at the Ferst Center. Photo by Karen Kendrick.
Participant Blogs Throughout the residency participants, observers and collaborators were invited to share their thoughts through the Ferst Center’s ARTech Blog. Below are blog posts chronicling Jade Simmons’ creative process on campus.
In the following blog entry, Ferst Center Director George Thompson reflects on Jade’s time on campus and the progression of the ARTech Residency program. Education Through Entertainment George Thompson, Ferst Center Director March 2012 In my estimation, the second year of any program or initiative always seems more difficult to come together than the first. A common creative trap is to find what worked once before and opt to simply recreate it. Sequels (The Godfather: Part II being the exception) are generally nowhere as good as the original. So when I was choosing the resident artist for the second year of ARTech, I made a deliberate choice to find someone whose artistic product was as disparate from Jonah Bokaer’s work in year one as possible. Being a former professional dancer myself, it would be most comfortable for me to design ARTech as a dance residency, but instead I felt the best choice for the program’s second year was to focus on another arts discipline. Deciding on the music genre was easy, but the bigger challenge was determining how the residency would be structured to define its own unique voice while maintaining ARTech’s distinct purpose. I had engaged several artists and artist managers in the discussion and then invited them to submit residency proposals. From the moment I received Jade Simmons’ proposal, it was evident to me that she was not only creative, unique and collaborative, but she was especially well-suited for the opportunities that a residency at Georgia Tech would provide. Her idea of “Rhythm as Necessity” was intriguing— it was musical, multi-disciplinary, provocative and human. I felt that the human connection to technology explored through rhythm was an interesting viewpoint that many of us could relate to. When I first met Jade in person as we were still fleshing out the residency, I was not only amazed by her grace and poise, but also by her ability to connect and communicate her ideas to a wide variety of people and audiences. In my experience, some musicians who have spent the better part of their lives isolated in a practice room honing their craft don’t always have great skill in face-to-face engagement when that instrument is not present. This was not the case with Jade. In fact, she made it a point to integrate speaking with the audience as part of all her performances here this past year. She engaged with students, faculty and members of the media with ease, and the residency was served well with her as its spokesperson. Her culminating performance was not only musically adventurous, including pieces from classical composers such as Rachmaninov to the contemporary voices of Tania Leon and Thierry de May, but innovative as well as she showcased the results of her interactions with campus technologies Shimon and UrbanRemix. As Jade shared her immense talent, her personal stories and the history of the works she played, we were simultaneously educated and entertained. Jade exemplified all of our goals for the ARTech residency program, and made year two as successful and distinctive as the first. I look forward to what year three of the program will bring!
In the following series of blogs, residency partners share their experiences with Jade and their part in the 2011-12 ARTech Residency. Mason Bretan Georgia Tech Student Master’s of Science in Music Technology Working with Jade Simmons proved to be a special and rewarding experience. Her warm, upbeat spirit and prowess on the keyboard was enjoyable to witness as she interacted with Shimon (the marimba playing robot). Often the only eyes and ears that interact with Shimon belong to the select students and faculty working directly with the robot. Having a professional musician come in and play with Shimon is invaluable to us as researchers as we gain a better understanding of what makes the human-robotic interaction more natural and engaging. It was fun to see Jade experiment with and listen to Shimon's responses to her own creativity. When she first sat down with the robot it felt like two completely unfamiliar musicians sitting down to play together for the first time. Shimon's sometimes surprising and unpredictable responses often incited laughter in the group, but over the course of the two days Jade became more familiar and comfortable with Shimon's playing style. By the end of her stay they were playing very entertaining and interesting music. We parted ways after finalizing a plan for her performance this February. The experience was great and we are looking forward to seeing her again.
Lindsey James Director of Strategic Partnerships Drew Charter School Jade Simmons will be working with the fourth grade students at Drew Charter School for the 2011-2012 school year through the Ferst Center for the Arts' ARTech program. When we told the teachers and students that a professional pianist was going to perform for them, they were excited. However, when Jade arrived and started working with the kids, they were more excited than ever! It was hard to believe that someone as accomplished in piano as Jade (and a second-place winner in the Miss America pageant, to boot) is also able to be down to earth and effective with students. One of Drew’s administrators claims that she is better at getting the students attention and keeping them engaged than any special guest she’s seen before. Jade Simmons discussed various composers, musical styles, and genres while playing samples of each. She asked the students to give her an emotion and she played pieces that evoked those emotions (even when the students tried to stump her!). Towards the end of the performance, after answering a ton of questions from the students, she put together a student “band,” in which they used their voices as instruments. For the entire session, the fourth graders were hanging on her every word, riveted by her talent and knowledge. We so grateful and excited to have Jade Simmons working with Drew Charter School through the ARTech program! Thank you for the opportunity.
Dedra Hemphill Business Manager Ferst Center for the Arts Nothing beats a good story, especially when it's laced with a classical soundtrack. My experience in attending the symposium (Implications of Race & Gender in Classical Music) exemplified the art of storytelling. Jade Simmons was not only an engaging and charismatic speaker, she was witty, humble and completely relatable. You go into it thinking that you couldn't possibly have anything in common with such a strikingly beautiful and talented artist, but many of her experiences struck a chord with me. I could identify with the small-town southern upbringing, complete with KKK marches in the 80's; I could identify with the issues that young African Americans deal with as a result of choosing a path less traveled, from back-handed compliments that make you cringe to isolation within your own race. The fact that she brought to light a somewhat harsh reality that so many "gifted" black women experience was strangely comforting, as it had traditionally been the elephant in the room that no one dare speak of. Half way through the symposium I realized why a person like Jade Simmons is so important: she has the ability to bring people together and create a platform for understanding and acceptance, which is quite a feat in today's world. Not to mention, she plays a mean Rachmaninoff!
During Jade Simmons' first ARTech Residency visit to campus, Georgia Tech Associate Dean of Students & Director of Diversity Programs hosted an afternoon tea with members of National Pan Hellenic Council sororities on campus. Below is a card received from Tech student Sangita Sharma who attended the tea.
Audrey Plummer Outreach Chair National Organization of Minority Architects On Monday, February 13, NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) and WIA (Women in Architecture) hosted Jade Simmons for a talk about creativity and the artistic process. Being architecture students and faculty, we had a lot on common with her experiences. She explained that, with a husband and young son, she had learned how to "do things just in time," finding that sweet spot where she felt under just enough pressure to pull out her creativity and produce a piece of music but did not leave her with so little time that it wasn't up to her standards. We then discussed the differences between music and architecture as creative processes. Simmons explained to us that in conservatories, learning a piece of music is a very secluded process; students practice in tiny, windowless rooms and only involve others when the piece is show-ready. In architecture, by contrast, students are taught in warehouse-like spaces, with all the creative successes and nonsuccesses on display for everyone to see. The one point that resonated with all of us was when Simmons discussed her shift as a performer from one who made an impact to one who made an impression. She explained that when she was younger, she would pick the biggest pieces because she wanted to wow people. She learned however, that most people wanted to feel something, and not necessarily be awed. She began to think about the experience she wanted her audience to have at her performances. Simmons concluded with a preview of Saturday's performance that would incorporate sound submitted by Georgia Tech students. Everyone was struck by her creative process and even more impressed by the fact that she would then improvise on the piano on top of the sounds that had been submitted. Our talk with Jade Simmons was enlightening and thought-provoking, and I would love to have several more hours to sit down and chat with her.
In the following series of blogs, Jade Simmons chronicles her creative process through the 2011-12 ARTech Residency. Jade Simmons ARTech Resident Artist The Road to Rhythm as Necessity: Assembling Sound I've been really looking forward to sitting down and soaking up the sound samples collected for me by the Georgia Tech community using the Music Technology Department's Urban Remix software. I was expecting to hear interesting pockets of the campus, to groove to rhythms made by unexpected culprits but I wasn't necessarily expecting to find out so much about the Georgia Tech Lifestyle. Here's what clued me in to how Georgia Tech "rolls": 1. There are quite a few closet drummers at Tech. Whether it was the pressing deadline or real inspiration. Many students decided to forgo finding rhythm in order to create it themselves. Some of you seriously got your groove on (or at least tried very hard to) by way of benches, buckets, desktops and
clapping. You’re not quite ready for Stomp! just yet, but it was great to see you giving rhythm making a go! 2. You spend too much time in front of a keyboard! Out of one hundred plus samples submitted, over 20 of them were of people typing on laptops. The most interesting were the furious tendinitis-inducing rants and one person typing while frying bacon in the background. A smile spread across my face at the familiar sounds of scanning documents and the Skype phone "ring." 3. The many typing submissions should have clued me in to the fact that it looks like Georgia Tech students don't get out much. Even with a bustling downtown Atlanta not too far away, all of the social setting submissions were right from the campus dining halls and recreation centers. Lots of conversations were submitted and the most engaging bits featured foreign languages, slightly obnoxious characters or hilariously ironic statements. This led me to the best conclusion of all. 4. Despite the somewhat sequestered environment, Georgia Tech students have a very unique, very funny sense of humor. The kind you only get when you have super smart people cooped up together, trying their best not to talk about school. Lots of sarcasm, lots of irony (like a clip featuring a professor begging his students to submit sound samples) and moments of just plain perfect comedic timing. A favorite was a completely unexpected solo sung by a girl who called herself a "Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech." It was nice to discover that Georgia Tech's students don't take themselves too seriously. But I do take this project very seriously so I'd like to take the time to thank all of the students and professors who participated. I'll keep you updated as the piece comes together.
Jade Simmons ARTech Resident Artist A Rhythmically Rapturous Rehearsal This past weekend my trio Collide got together to rehearse repertoire for the culminating concert on February 18th as a part of my residency with the Ferst Center. Not more than 2 hours after Jonathan Sanford flew in from Los Angeles with two saxophones in tow, we were working on the Sonata for Saxophone and Piano by Mark Kilstofte. Later that night, percussionist Craig Hauschildt came over to help us undertake the arduous task of deciphering the score for Table Music, a piece by Thierry De May, to be played with fingers flicking, fists pounding and palms gliding on three small tables. I've spent most of the last few years playing solo, just the piano and me. On occasion, in the last few seasons I've played with orchestra, with small chamber ensembles and very rarely with singers. But for the most part, I'm on my own, relentlessly rattling off arpeggios and ultimately performing in a very special cocoon. It's partially why I formed Collide, to have like-minded musicians to sync up with when the time was right. So it was nice to be able to work on duos and trios and finger-tapping pieces, eschewing Liszt and Rachmaninoff for just a bit. For three days straight we relished in hard-driving rhythm like what's found in Marc Mellits' Tight Sweater with meter-shifting movements like the finale called Mechanically Separated Chicken Parts. De May's Table Music conjured images of my old Boomshaka (Northwestern University-based Percussion and Dance ensemble) rehearsals where we didn't leave the room until interlocking rhythms had been beaten into submission and sore hands and feet remained. Instead of discussing the nuance of a melodic line,
we debated the technique of a four-finger fan, the length of a palm slide and the weight of sound to be applied to a back hand flap. At the end of the weekend, we left satisfied that what we would bring to the Ferst Center would be entertaining, of course. But I'm most looking forward to watching people listen hard, seeing people surrender to the urge to tap a foot or nod a head. A rhythmic-centric concert is a different, more visceral experience than a piano or a song recital. It begs for the audience to aurally participate, to submit to the groove, not just to listen in a hands-off manner. Collide and I can't wait to take to the Ferst Center stage on February 18th. We hope to see you grooving soon.
Jade Simmons ARTech Resident Artist Playing In the Land of the Living As I've been prepping for the concert on February 18th, it struck me that I'm playing music by men and women who are alive and well! That may sound funny to some but as a Classical musician, we spend a lot of time playing centuries old music, so I can't help but smile when I open a score and I'm playing something written in 2009. An even bigger smile spreads when I'm organizing the details of the program and the composers only have birth years listed without gloomy dates of death. It's a happy occasion, to be playing in the land of the living. I'm kicking off the show with a fast and furious selection called Pianomophone written by a young composer named George Heathco who reached out to me on Facebook. He sent me the score and a midi recording and the rest is history. The first few bars exploded over my Mac's poorly equipped speakers with ferocity and I can honestly say it was love at first hearing. I loved the mean little piece so much it prompted me to advertise this concert as a sort of love affair with rhythm. Anyone who knows me musically knows I'm a sucker for Rachmaninoff, easily my favorite Classical composer. But even he doesn't garner the purely visceral response my body has to modern rhythmic music. Every composer I'm featuring, including the two no longer among us (Liszt and American composer Robert Muczynski who died only in 2010) puts rhythm on display in this visceral form, as well as more playful and even more ruminating varieties. I posted a clip of one of my practice sessions with Pianomophone on George Heathco's Facebook page then waited with baited breath. My tendency is to play fast things even faster than they should be played, so I was excited to hear that he liked my dangerous tempo. The piece represents for me a sort of take no prisoners philosophy on life. I'm also programming Tania LĂŠon's A La Par for Piano and Percussion because it's awesome and because it is literally the piece that changed my musical life. Craig Hauschildt, my percussionist, a White-as-they-come boy from Iowa tricked me into playing it in grad school for his Master's recital. It was he who taught me the cuban rhythms and idiosyncrasies. The piece was the hardest, wildest thing I'd heard and after the first reading I knew why other pianists had turned him down flat. But after learning it, I could never turn back to Classical music as I had mostly known it previously. Little did we both know I would become good friends with the composer who is now like a musical mother to me. To play A La Par, knowing she's still walking around somewhere composing more life changing pieces, even as I reminisce over this old one written in 1986, gives me chills. I first performed Susie Ibarra's Dancesteps on one of her concerts at a point where I was just beginning to re-imagine what a concert could look like. Now ironically, it's part of a program that's redefining the way I, and hopefully others, will present to new audiences.
On that Saturday you'll also meet living composers Mark Kilstofte (who might just be in the audience), Marc Mellits, Thierry de May, Fazil Say by way of their music. I'll do my best to bring their music, their personalities, their tastes and tendencies to the stage. I'd be curious to know if their ears itch whenever their music is being performed somewhere in the world. It's nice to feel like I'm conjuring the musical spirits of composers who are still rambling about vs having to perform a musical séance for the ones who came way before us. Somehow this feels a little more like a celebration. Come hear this full program at the Ferst Center on Saturday, Feb. 18th at 8pm! Full Program Pianomophone (2009) George Heathco (b.1983) Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano (Selections) (1999) Mark Kilstofte (b. 1958) I. Prelude II. Recitative IV. Toccata Tight Sweater (Selections) (2005) Marc Mellits (b.1966) I. Exposed Zipper II. Trans Fatty Acid's Rein III. Mara's Lullaby VI. Mechanically Separated Chicken Parts Dancesteps (2007) Susie Ibarra (b. 1970) A la Par for Piano and Percussion (1986) Tania Léon (b. 1943) -IntermissionTable Music (Musique de Table) (1987) Thierry de May (b. 1956) Desperate Measures, Op.48 (Paganini Variations) (1995) Robert Muczynski (1929-2010) Six Grandes Études de Paganini, No.6 (Theme & Variations) (1851) Franz Liszt (1811-1886) Paganini Jazz (1995) Fazil Say (1970) Improvisations on "Bafana" by Gil Weinberg arr. Jonathan Sanford (b.1978) Featuring Shimon *Rhythm as Necessity…a Soundscape Jade Simmons/Georgia Tech Community *Contains sound samples collected by the Georgia Tech Community using Urban Remix, a software
program and project developed and directed by Georgia Institute of Technology professors Jason Freeman, Michael Nitsche and Carl DiSalvo.
Jade Simmons ARTech Resident Artist March 2012 Sharing the Creative Impulse During my final week on campus, I walked into the School of Architecture and was smacked in the face with an unexpected type of culture shock. From beyond the glass entry doors, one might peer in and think the building is still under construction because all you can see are the exposed steel beams and what looks like hanging wire. But then you walk in and see that everything is indeed as intended. A flurry of cubicles lined with exposed and unfinished, yet still impressive projects under way greets you as you peer down from the balcony into the abyss of creativity that is the student workspace. It's a shock to the classically trained musician's system who spends years sequestered in a practice room, covering our one window with a piece of sheet music so that no one can dare look in and see us in the process of creating. But here, the creative process was a shared one. What better place than here to be talking about the Creative Impulse. For a little over an hour during my mini-lecture with women (and one guy) from the School of Architecture, we traded experiences about what it means to be creative, what creativity felt like when it caught us unexpectedly and how to foster it in the most trying of times. I, obsessed with rhythm, was taught that it can also to be found in architecture; that the right spacing of architectural elements closer together could cause one to walk quickly through a space or placed farther apart could seduce us to linger on in a garden. I was brought in to teach and left enlightened.
Jade Simmons in her culminating ARTech concert. Photo by Karen Kendrick.
A few weeks after my time as the Ferst Center's ARTech resident, I'm realizing even more than I did before how important these types of residencies are, not just for the campus who hosts it, but for the chosen artist. The culminating concert is where many artists begin and end their journeys with a given venue. And while it is thrilling to be on stage and share with an audience, it was made more meaningful to me by having made connections with that same audience before the curtains even opened. To have students and professors in the seats hear the sound samples they'd submitted played back at them accompanied by my improvisations was an experience of tangible interconnection. I allowed myself, the ultimate control freak, to be dependent upon the submissions of some who claimed not to have a musical
bone in their body. To have my trio and I be left somewhat to the whimsy of the improvising robot named Shimon was a performance experience we can all say was completely unique. Introducing the Ferst Center audience to the music of George Heathco, Tania Leon, Mark Kilstofte and Fazil Say was a treat and to have that music programmed under the banner of Rhythm as Necessity was a personal delight. Because for me, in my personal and in my musical life, rhythm is indeed a necessity. And I'm realizing more and more that the same goes for diverse, cumulative arts engagements like the ARTech residency created for adventurous artists. As an artist, because of this residency, I have an even clearer perception of the types of experiences I want to bring my future audiences. Here's a hearty thanks to George Thompson, Jack Rogers and the rest of the Ferst Center crew that looks to bring a more interactive, academically diverse and artful experience to the students at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I'm glad to have been a part of what I know will be an exciting and fruitful process for years to come.
Campus Collaboration: UrbanRemix A major component of the ARTech Residency was the use of the Institute’s UrbanRemix App to capture sounds for use in an original composition by Jade Simmons. Georgia Tech students recorded sounds from their everyday lives, and submitted over 150 samples to a database that Jade accessed to create “Rhythm As Necessity…A Soundscape.”
About the UrbanRemix App UrbanRemix is a collaborative and locative sound project. The goal in developing UrbanRemix was to design a platform and series of public workshops that would enable participants to develop and express the acoustic identity of their communities, and enable users of the website to explore and experience the soundscapes of the city in a novel fashion. The UrbanRemix platform consists of a mobile phone system and web interface for recording, browsing and mixing audio. Participants in the UrbanRemix workshops become active creators of shared soundscapes as they search the city for interesting sound cues. The collected sounds, voices and noises provide the original tracks for musical remixes that reflect the specific nature and acoustic identity of the community. The project draws upon long-standing aesthetic practices that bring realworld sounds into electronic works, such as musique concréte, acoustic ecology, and the chance approaches of John Cage, as well as practices in public art and relational aesthetics that structure new forms of engagement and collaboration between artists, designers and citizens. Its innovative contribution is in the combination of these aesthetic approaches with current technological trends in location-aware mobile applications and in digital performance and interactive art. The project was conceived of and is directed by Jason Freeman, Michael Nitsche, and Carl Disalvo, who are professors at the Georgia Institute of Technology. It is made possible by the invaluable work of numerous students and designers, and supported in part by the Music Technology program, the Digital Media program, and the GVU center at Georgia Tech. To date, the UrbanRemix project has mounted events in collaboration with the Atlanta Beltline "Art on the Beltline" project, the City Centered festival and Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, the Atlanta Public Schools and Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, and the Times Square Arts Alliance in New York. Several Atlanta based artists are also using the UrbanRemix platform for the creation of site-specific audio-works and locative media performances. Multimedia Listen to sound clips and remixes submitted for “Rhythm As Necessity.” UrbanRemix Supported by Turner Broadcasting, GVU Center at Georgia Tech, Intel Foundation, Georgia Tech Foundation and Google.
Campus Collaboration: Shimon In Jade Simmons’ culminating ARTech concert, she and her trio Collide performed Improvisations on Bafana alongside Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising robotic musician. The piece, written by Georgia Tech Professor Gil Weinberg, allowed the musicians to improvise on a set of musical motifs that were inspired by street performances of African marimba bands.
Shimon - The Perceptual and Improvisational Robotic Marimba Player
About Shimon Shimon, the robotic marimba player, is designed to create meaningful and inspiring musical interactions with humans, leading to novel musical experiences and outcomes. The robot, which was developed with the support of the National Science Foundation, is designed to listen like a human and improvise like a machine. It combines computational modeling of music perception, interaction and improvisation with the capacity to produce melodic and acoustic responses in physical and visual manners. The goal of the project is to create real-time musical collaborations between human and robotic musicians that would capitalize on the combination of their unique strengths (human emotions and expressions on one side and processing power and mechanical skills on the other) to produce new and compelling music. Most computer-supported interactive music systems are hampered by their inanimate nature, which does not provide players and audiences with physical and visual cues that are essential for creating expressive musical interactions. Such systems are also limited by the electronic reproduction and amplification of sound through speakers, which cannot fully capture the richness of acoustic sound. Shimon is designed to overcome these limitations, while also serving as an educational tool, introducing learners not only to music but also to the mathematics, physics and technology behind it in an interactive, hands-on manner. Shimon is not your ordinary marimba-playing robot. It uses its melodic and harmonic perception and improvisation modules to create surprising and inspiring musical responses. It does so using rich acoustic sound and communicative social cues with its human counterparts. The robot’s head provides visual cues that represent social-musical elements, from beat detection through tonality, to attention and spatial interaction. Just imagine the head bob of a jazz drummer or a DJ spinning a hip hop record, and you have a picture of Shimon’s personality.
Multimedia Watch Shimon improvise with Georgia Tech professor Gil Weinberg. Watch “Bafana” for Shimon About Bafana Inspired by street performances of African marimba bands, Bafana utilizes a number of repetitive interlocking rhythmic motifs, played interdependently by a musician and Shimon, who is programmed to listen to its co-player, detect specific motifs, and respond in a manner that is at times predictable and at times surprising. The piece begins with a playful interaction between the player and the robot that introduces some of the musical motifs in a social non-rhythmic context. The player then chooses any of nine possible motifs to start the piece, plays it in a loop, and awaits Shimon's response. In the current implementation of the piece, Shimon's personality develops from predictable consonant responses at the beginning, to more surprising chromatic reactions towards the end, challenging the musician to constantly listen and carefully adapt to the evolving nature of the music.
Composer Bio Gil Weinberg is the Founding Director of Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, where he established the M.S. and PhD programs in Music technology. His research interests include robotic musicianship, new instruments for musical expression, mobile music and sonification. Weinberg’s music has been featured in venues such as Ars Electronica, SIGGRAPH, ICMC and NIME, and with orchestras such as Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the National Irish Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish BBC Symphony. His interactive musical installations have been presented in museums such as the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the Children's Museum in Boston. With his award-winning robotic musicians Haile and Shimon he has traveled around the world, featuring dozens of concerts including recent presentations at DLD in Munich, the US Science Festival in Washington DC and The World Economic Forum in Davos.
Campus Collaboration: Georgia Tech Black Alumni Organization’s Legends and Leaders Black Tie Celebration On November 12, 2011, Jade Simmons was the featured artist at the Georgia Tech Black Alumni Organization’s “Legends and Leaders” Black Tie Celebration. The event commemorated a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the matriculation of African American students at Georgia Tech. The event featured special appearances by actresses Keisha Knight Pulliam and Kim Fields, a keynote speech by Dr. Michael Lomax, President of United Negro College Fund, and some of the school’s first African American graduates.
Jade Simmons following her performance at the Legends and Leaders Black Tie Celebration
“Jade Simmons’ performance was mesmerizing. That evening she brought an eclectic mix of grace and elegance coupled with vibrancy, power and rhythm. Ms. Simmons put her heart, soul and passion into the performance bringing the entire audience to their feet. Her performance was a superb way to end the year-long celebration.” -Stephanie Ray, Associate Dean of Students/Director of Diversity Programs at Georgia Tech
“I had the wonderful pleasure of seeing this year's ARTech resident artist Jade Simmons when she performed at Georgia Tech's Black Alumni Organization's "Legends and Leaders" event, which celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Matriculation of African American Students to Georgia Tech. Her poise, engaging and insightful conversation, and of course her piano performance were just wonderful! I can easily see how she was invited to the White House to perform in December 2011, after seeing her in person that amazing night at the Carter Center. Bravo Ferst Center for the Arts!” -Dr. William Schafer, Vice President for Student Affairs at Georgia Tech
Student Letters: Centennial Place Elementary School
Jade Simmons to Wrap ARTech Residency with Robot Duet Rachael Maddux February 9, 2012
Pianist Jade Simmons’ resume is nothing short of impressive. While an undergrad at Northwestern University, she competed in the 2000 Miss America pageant and won runner-up. She holds a Master’s degree from Rice University and has authored a book. And she’s an incredibly talented and accomplished performer and composer who will wrap up her year as the Ferst Center’s ARTech artist-in-residence on Feb. 18. That night, she’ll add a new accomplishment to the list: Duetting with a robot. Simmons will perform a piece called “Bafana” in concert with Shimon, Tech’s very own improvising robotic marimba player. (They’ll be joined by two other human performers, too.) Shimon was developed with support from the National Science Foundation to foster musical collaborations between human and robotic musicians. He made his Tech debut in 2010. On the 18th, Simmons will also premiere a work she composed in collaboration with other (human) members of the Tech community. Students contributed various sounds to the project via a mobile app, Urban Remix, developed at Tech’s Center for Music Technology. Simmons composed the piece based on snippets gleaned from the app.
Jade Simmons to play piece with sounds collected by Georgia Tech students Howard Pousner, Atlanta Journal Constitution February 13, 2012
Preview: Pianist Jade Simmons will perform with robot in Ferst Center concert Andrew Alexander February 15, 2012
Jade Simmons went from Miss America first runner-up to trailblazing pianist.
Jade Simmons’ band will have an unusual new musician sitting in during her concert at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts this Saturday. Like the others in the pianist’s trio, Collide, the new member is a skilled improviser. He listens closely to the music, analyzes its structure, watches the other players carefully and even bobs his head to the rhythm from time to time. But unlike them, he’s made of metal. “We like him, but you definitely have to get on his page,” says Simmons about performing with Shimon, Georgia Tech’s improvising, marimba-playing robot. “We’re calling him ‘the diva’ now.” Shimon, whose name means “one who hears” or “one who is heard” in Hebrew, was designed by Gil Weinberg, director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, in 2008 with help from his colleagues Guy Hoffman and Roberto Aimi of Alium Labs and funded by the National Science Foundation. Shimon’s performance with Simmons on Saturday is just one aspect of her ARTech residency, a new Georgia Tech program that invites professional artists to use their time on campus to explore the possible integration of technology into their artistic processes. “Bafana,” the piece Simmons and Shimon will play, involves a series of improvisations on various motifs, with an overall Latin jazz sound. “In some cases he imitates me, in some cases he waits for me to imitate him, and other times he does a free improv,” she says. “If I’m nodding my head, he nods along with me. You can hear he is making choices and expecting you to respond to those choices. It’s an exciting interaction.”
Shimon, Georgia Tech’s marimba-playing robot “diva.”
Shimon isn’t the only way Simmons will make use of inventions by Georgia Tech scientists in her performance. The music technology department has designed software called Urban Remix, a downloadable application that allows users to record sounds on their smartphones. The concert will open with Simmons playing a piece that uses random sounds she asked students, professors and others in the Tech community to record. She will play live over such sound samples as a girl speaking a snippet of Chinese, a little boy playing with his father, a sneeze and the clop of flip-flops. “I’ve given myself some groundwork, but I’m also forcing myself to really have to do things in the moment on Saturday,” she says. Her performance will also include some more traditional Paganini variations, but it’s all meant to explore the central theme of her residency: rhythm. Simmons is the second artist to complete the ARTech residency. Dancer Jonah Bokaer used a new mobile application to allow for audience interaction during his dance performance last year. Engaging with students throughout the year on a campus that isn’t always focused on art has been both challenging and rewarding for Simmons. “When you come onto this campus, you feel the intensity,” she says. “Certain schools have an atmosphere of serious business. The arts can end up being an afterthought. But once I’ve gotten in front of the students, I don’t have any issues with that.” A favorite event was a lecture with students at the School of Architecture, which sparked a conversation about similarities in the creative processes of architects and musicians. “I had no idea how much they considered rhythm in their planning,” the pianist says. “We had this great discussion about where the creative impulse comes from. Those kinds of discussions make us feel like we’re from the same planet. And then I can talk about Rachmaninov and Chopin.” Simmons grew up in a musical family in Charleston, South Carolina, and studied at Northwestern University. During her college years, as she immersed herself in the piano, she was also drawn to compete in beauty pageants. “The bait that got me was the scholarship money aspect,” she explains. She was Miss Chicago, then Miss Illinois and then was first runner-up in the 2000 Miss America pageant. “If you had asked me at 16 or 17 if the Miss America pageant was something I thought I’d ever do, I would probably have laughed you out of the room,” she says. “One of the most difficult things when I was competing was that I was one of the biggest critics of beauty pageants, and I still am. Ironically, the kind of confidence that makes you successful in a pageant is the kind that comes from not growing up doing them.” Simmons is quick to point out that the pageant did allow her to get her music to a wide audience. “I remember getting to the coda of the Chopin etude I played for the talent competition, and the entire convention center just erupted in applause. It made me realize that music transcends; it doesn’t have to
be only for a select few elite people. I try to take that with me as I move forward, remembering that music has the power to move.” Like that moment, the residency has allowed her to contemplate new ways of interacting with audiences. “It was one of those engagements I couldn’t even dream up,” she says. “It’s so easy to get tunnel vision and hyperfocused on your instrument. This was an opportunity to explore lots of my passions.”
The Midday Mix with Scott Glazer February 16, 2012 Interview Transcript SCOTT GLAZER: Music from pianist, Jade Simmons. A very innovative piece, Talespin. Jade Simmons appearing this Saturday evening, February 18th, 8:00 p.m. at the Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus, and fancy that, here she is in our studio with us. How are you? JADE SIMMONS: I’m good, thank you so much for having me. SCOTT GLAZER: As well, Jack Rogers, Operations Manager over there at the Ferst Center joining us. You have got such a very palate of accomplishments. JADE SIMMONS: Mmm hmm. SCOTT GLAZER: And music – and you use music to impart different messages around the country. JADE SIMMONS: I try. SCOTT GLAZER: You’re from Charleston originally? JADE SIMMONS: Charleston, South Carolina, that’s right, originally. SCOTT GLAZER: Tell me about how you got started in music. JADE SIMMONS: Oh, wow. Well, you know I had a bit of an unconventional start in terms of my other classical music peers. I started piano relatively late, at the age of eight years old, in terms of taking formal lessons, but loved it right away. I was one of those overscheduled kids; played tons of instruments, tons of sports, that’s just how we do it in America, right? SCOTT GLAZER: God bless your parents. JADE SIMMONS: But I think looking back now, I can kind of credit that varied childhood to a career now that’s diverse artistically, and that’s the reason I was able to become the ARTech Resident at Georgia Tech. I know I sound like a broken record, because I’ve said this to every reporter, but when I got the call from Georgia Tech, it was really a dream come true, because they were saying – we don’t just want you to come and perform, but we want you to come in and use your diverse background, use your varied interests, and apply that in as many ways as possible on the campus at Georgia Tech. So it’s been a really wonderful residency to be a part of.
SCOTT GLAZER: Tell me what that entails, being the ARTech Resident. JADE SIMMONS: Well, of course, it’ll culminate on the concert on Saturday that we’re talking about, but I’ve gotten to have some really wonderful interactions and interface with the various communities. The Music Technology Department is a big part of the concert on Saturday. They’ve created software called Urban Remix that I’m utilizing by having the students from Georgia Tech gather sound recordings, field recordings for me, and I’m taking those sounds that they’ve sent, creating unique soundscapes, and on Saturday – knock on wood – I’ll be improvising live over those sound samples. We’re also using the world famous and now infamous robot, Shimon, another property of the Music Technology Department, and he along with my trio, Collide, which is piano, saxophone and percussion, will be performing with Shimon on stage. So it’s allowed me to explore a lot of my own passions, but I have to say that I’ve learned a lot from being a part of the Georgia Tech community in this way. SCOTT GLAZER: Pianist, Jade Simmons, with us of artistically forward thinking; as well you cover the classics, too – Chopin and the great piano classics. JADE SIMMONS: That’s right, we like to call it – I play the classics to the cutting edge. So on Saturday, I do have a set that comes on the second half of the program that’s actually from what will be my upcoming CD called The Paganini Project, and it’s three sets of Paganini variations, so you’ll hear Liszt’s version of Paganini’s famous Caprice in A Minor, and two other variations that are more like contemporary classical music with splashes of jazz and blues. So you’ll hear that, as well as pieces that emphasize the percussive nature of the piano. I’m really a big fan of emphasizing and putting the rhythmic nature of the piano on display. SCOTT GLAZER: It’s a percussion instrument. JADE SIMMONS: It is. It is. SCOTT GLAZER: That sounds like exciting music. JADE SIMMONS: I’m glad you said the word exciting, because many people have a stereotype that when you say classical music, they conjure images of having to be inhibited in performance and I want the audience to come, and I always say – if they want to nod their head and tap their feet, that’s what you want – the same response you would have in jazz concert or pop concert. As I tell the kids in schools, when you watch Beyonce perform, she doesn’t stand there and sing her number one hit without moving; she gets into it, she moves – and if I’m feeling that way, I want the audience to have the same experience. SCOTT GLAZER: Right, if that music reaches out and grabs you – JADE SIMMONS: Let me know!
SCOTT GLAZER: Go ahead and go with it. As well, you’re the founder of a national school program, Where Do You Stand. Tell me about that. JADE SIMMONS: Well, I had an interesting foray into the world of pageants. Back in 2000, I was Miss Chicago, Miss Illinois, and eventually became first runner up at Miss America. SCOTT GLAZER: Fantastic. JADE SIMMONS: Thank you, thank you. And there are so many negative stereotypes that are associated with pageants, but what people might not know is that at the age of 22, because of the Miss America program, I had the opportunity to travel the nation speaking on the issue of youth suicide prevention and working in other areas of youth advocacy. I testified in front of Congress on behalf of mental funding, and this is at the age of 22. And what I took from that experience had nothing to do with the pageant, beauty or winning the pageant – it was the effect that one person could have on an audience, which of course translated into my musical life, but when I spent so much time in schools, I realized that what was important wasn’t necessarily the music that I was taking them, but what was the message behind it and Where Do You Stand is asking kids and you to take a stand on issues that are important to them. I think the biggest difference between my generation, maybe my little sister’s generation who is 22, and my parents, who were part of the Civil Rights movement, is that we don’t have an issue to stand on; we don’t have anything that really binds us together, and so I ask young people to start being serious about whatever issue is important to them now to speak out on it. SCOTT GLAZER: We’re speaking with pianist, innovator and educator, Jade Simmons. She’s appearing this Saturday evening at the Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus at 8:00 p.m. It’s going to be a great concert. JADE SIMMONS: We’re excited about it. SCOTT GLAZER: So you grew up in Charleston – JADE SIMMONS: I did. SCOTT GLAZER: Went to school at Northwestern. JADE SIMMONS: I did. I did my undergrad at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, right outside of Chicago. SCOTT GLAZER: That’s a beautiful campus. JADE SIMMONS: Oh, it’s a great campus, except when it’s January, February and you have lake effect snow, so then it’s not so pretty, you want to stay inside, but the experience there was wonderful, because Northwestern has such an energy about it. I remember the first day of classes. You’re used to being the big fish in a little pond; you go to a place like Northwestern, everybody’s the big fish. I remember after,
we all compared SAT scores. We were looking for ways to one-up each other, and I remember saying – well, I was student body president – and everybody at my table was also student body president. SCOTT GLAZER: That’s funny. JADE SIMMONS: And it’s one of those atmospheres where you have high achievers and people with very diverse backgrounds, so it’s exciting and it’s energizing to be around people who are just as motivated as you are. SCOTT GLAZER: And you got a great musical education. JADE SIMMONS: An amazing musical education there, and then I went on to Rice University and studied with pianist, Jackie Parker. So I feel very privileged of having two great degrees from two great universities, and teachers who stretched me. So that was important. SCOTT GLAZER: You speak to musicians as well in your talks – explain a little bit about branding themselves or – JADE SIMMONS: Sure, sure. I have a platform called Emerge Already that consists of mostly a blog and videos, and I have an e-book out, that’s The Ultimate Guide to Career Building for Emerging Artists, and really – I was talking about this with Todd Schnick, who is kind of an entrepreneurial guru – I said I realized pretty early on that my career had about 20% to do with practicing the piano, and that the rest of that – being successful – was going to have to do a little bit with luck and timing, but a lot with having a business mind. And so what I do now is encourage artists to think of themselves not just as freelance artists, and definitely as starving artists, but to see themselves as small business and to learn how to operate as entrepreneurs. SCOTT GLAZER: Very interesting. JADE SIMMONS: Mmm hmm. SCOTT GLAZER: Your Facebook – I’ve got to say – pictures of the meal at South City Kitchen, it’s one of my favorite Facebook pages ever. Thank you. Facebook walls or however you term it. JADE SIMMONS: Sure. SCOTT GLAZER: Jade Simmons in the studio – pianist, educator and innovator extraordinaire, appearing at the Ferst Center for the Arts this Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. Thanks so much for stopping and all the best. JADE SIMMONS: Oh, thank you. I’m looking forward to meeting the audience, so if you come, please make sure you talk to me afterwards in the lobby. It’ll be great to see everyone there.
Jade Simmons: Changing Classical Music, And Providing Some Business Lessons Too Interview with Todd Schnick February 16, 2012 I’ve always believed that a true entrepreneur is an artist. That really, more than anything, we are just creative “artists” solving problems, or fulfilling needs, in the marketplace. After today’s interview, I feel stronger than ever about that idea. We had the pleasure of welcoming Jade Simmons to the studio. She is a concert pianist and art entrepreneur. She is currently doing an ARTech residency at Georgia Tech. Jade lives in Houston. And she is trying to change classical music. She is also tired of the concept of the starving artist, and her mission is to equip artists to better market themselves, and become better business people. But Jade is so much more than that… Jade, a former Miss America finalist, blew us away with her passion about music, entrepreneurs, the creative process, and creating experiential interactions that move human beings at their core. In fact, if you keep your ears and eyes open, today’s show is chock full of business lessons: 1. Build a tribe by focusing on a niche. 2. Create an experience for an audience that touches emotions…then you’ve got fans for life. 3. Use the apps that enable communication with your audience and talk WITH them…not TO them. 4. Be well-rounded, get outside, try things, fail…and only then will you succeed and create value. 5. Let the audience decide for themselves, let them come to their own conclusions. Do NOT tell them how to feel. 6. Have fun, but still focus and put in your 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. 7. Storytelling is the magic potion that moves mountains… Jade is a musician and small businesswoman, but any businessman will learn something from this interview. Multimedia Download the entire interview podcast.
Looking Ahead: 2012-2013 ARTech Residency ARTech 2012-2013 Residency: Stages of Influence In “Stages of Influence,” a single, non-traditional performance space selected by Georgia Tech College of Architecture students will be explored through different artistic genres. Ethel will explore the space through music and sound, while Seán Curran will explore the same space through movement. Through workshops, classroom interactions, panel discussions, and site-specific performances, the residency will engage the campus and surrounding communities in a dialogue on the relationship between sound, movement and special architecture, and how the artists influence and embrace challenges within the space.
Artist Biographies Acclaimed as America's premier postclassical string quartet, ETHEL invigorates contemporary concert music with refreshing exuberance, fierce intensity, imaginative programming and exceptional artistry. Formed in 1998, New York's ebullient ETHEL is comprised of Juilliard-trained performers Cornelius Dufallo (violin), Dorothy Lawson (cello), Jennifer Choi (violin) and Ralph Farris (viola). Boldly exploring new synergies between tradition and technology, ETHEL initiates innovative collaborations with an extraordinary community of American and international artists such as Joe Jackson, Kurt Elling, Bang on a Can, Todd Rundgren, David Byrne, Ursula Oppens, Loudon Wainwright III, STEW, Ensemble Modern, Jill Sobule, Joshua Fried, Andrew Bird, Iva Bittová, Colin Currie, Thomas Dolby, Steve Coleman, Stephen Gosling, Jake Shimabukuro and Polygraph Lounge.
Seán Curran began his dance training with traditional Irish step dancing as a young boy in Boston, Massachusetts. He went on to make his mark on the dance world as a leading dancer with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. He received a New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award for his performance in Secret Pastures. Curran has taught extensively at the American Dance Festival, Harvard Summer Dance Center, Bates Dance Festival and Boston's Conservatory of Music. Irish American Magazine selected Curran as one of its "Top 100" in the year 2000. Curran was awarded a Choreographer's Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2002.Happiest when making new work or performing, Seán Curran hopes to continue being an ambassador for the art of dance by building and educating the dance audiences of tomorrow. Residency Events The residency will begin in October 2012 with concurrent visits by the artists when they will work with Georgia Tech students to select the non-traditional performance space and engage with the campus community through guest lectures, panel discussions and educational outreach. Seán Curran will return for a second visit in February 2013 where he will meet with the local dance community for “dancer diffuse” sessions, and continue rehearsals with local dancers for the site-specific performance on March 1, 2013. Curran’s company returns later in March for a mainstage performance at the Ferst Center. Ethel returns in April 2013 for additional outreach, campus engagement, and the final installation and mainstage performance. Follow the progression of the residency through the Ferst Center’s website and Facebook Page.
Credits Ferst Center for the Arts Staff Director Business Manager Marketing & PR Director Marketing Specialist Arts Education Coordinator Administrative Assistant Operations Manager Technical Director Master Electrician Audio Engineer Stage Manager House Manager Client & Patron Services Manager Box Office Assistant Manager Box Office Supervisors Box Office Team
George Thompson Dedra Gillett Stephanie Lee Jenna Farmer Virginia Sheppard Shani Howard Jack A. Rogers Paul Cottongim Graham Hurt Joe Davis Rich Clarke Mary Holloway Chris Dreger Kristen Campbell Brian Adorno, Naushad Amlani, Delia Blakey, Josh Neal, Jared O’Neal, Stuart Smith Nadia Dorado, Melanie Dreger, Bryce Ligon, Vikram Patnaik, Saba Stovall
Advisory Board Sonny Seals (Chair), Rick Allen, Steve Chaddick, Genelle Jennings, Ivenue Love-Stanley, Al Trujillo, Tom Ventulett , Mike von Grey, June Weitnauer Georgia Tech Ex-Officio: Nelson Baker, John Carter, Joe Irwin, Dr. William Schafer, Michael Warden, Trish Wichmann Campus Committee George Thompson, Philip (Phil) Auslander, Alan Balfour, Stephanie Lee, Jordan Lockwood, Joe Macri, Ken Marek, Dhruti Patel, Colin Potts, David Quigley, Dr. William Schafer, Paul Verhaeghen, Alex Walker, Michael Warden 2011-2012 ARTech Campus Collaborators Mason Bretan, Georgia Tech Music Technology Graduate Student Andrea Brown, Director of Orchestra / Assistant Director of Bands, Georgia Tech Rebecca Burnett, Director, Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Program Melanie Demaeyer, Program Coordinator, Women’s Resource Center & GT1000 Instructor Jason Freeman, Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech School of Music John Harkey, Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow Mac Pitts, Director of Georgia Tech Student Media Stephanie Ray, Associate Dean of Students/Director of Diversity Programs at Georgia Tech Gil Weinberg, Associate Professor and Director, Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology Robin Wharton, Assistant Director, Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Program
A digital version of this document can be found at www.ferstcenter.gatech.edu