SOS Instant Benefit Music Festival Day 2
Saturday, December 8
3PM Jasna Popovich
This generation of classical music performers has recognized Jasna Popovic as a pioneer in advancing the creation of contemporary solo and chamber works while being rooted in the traditions of the past.
She has won numerous awards, including Fourth Place at the International Competition in Rome and Second Place at the National Piano Competition in Belgrade. In 2006, after receiving the Passantino Award for Extraordinary Achievements from the City University of New York, she had a series of successful performances in New York at Weill Recital Hall/Zankel/Stern Perlman Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, Steinway Hall, Lefrack Hall. She also performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Kolarac Hall in Belgrade; and at other major venues around the world. She has also played alongside numerous award-winning musicians including Rodin Scedrin, Anna Gourari, David Bryan and Roman Patkolo to name a few.
In 2017, Popovic conceived of an international music project, “Around the Piano World,” posting an invitation on Facebook. Within less than an hour, she received compositions from more than 30 composers from China, Germany, Israel, and the United States. Impressed that they wanted to share their music with her, she premiered these international works in New York City. With the support of her friend Joseph Patrych, the acclaimed recording producer and owner of Patrych Sound Studios, she has begun recording newly submitted works weekly, with a CD that was released in September.
Jasna Popovic attended the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany. Popovic currently resides in New York City.
7PM Brian Marsella
What if time ceased to exist?
That concept is what motivated keyboardist and composer Brian Marsella to create the music that now comprises chapter one: The Clocks Have Gone Mad, an interrelated set of pieces he recorded with Brian Marsella’s iMAGiNARiUM, one of several outfits he either leads or participates in.
The 12-track The Clocks Have All Gone Mad, which features more than a dozen musicians, is Marsella’s most sophisticated and impressive work to date. Yet it tells only part of Brian Marsella’s story, and once that story unfolds it’s not difficult to understand why time is something to which he gives a lot of thought. Time, for Brian Marsella, has been a measurement of his evolution as a musician. The Philadelphia native began navigating the keyboard at the age of two. Now in his 40s, he is more prolific than he’s ever been.
He has worked within multiple genres, from blues and R&B music to classical, but ultimately, he decided to follow his heart and concentrate on jazz. Studying with such acknowledged jazz masters as Richie Beirach, George Garzone, Reggie Workman, Junior Mance and Joanne Brackeen, Marsella began to get regular gigs around New York, but it wasn’t until he met the master Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista in 2004 that Marsella truly began to find his place in the competitive New York City jazz world.
Since then Marsella has balanced numerous gigs: He plays in a quintet with New School alumni called the Flail; with legend John Zorn on his Masada and Bagatelles projects, as a current member of Cobra, and on nine Tzadik Records releases; with avant-rock band Caveman and Jewish Afro-beat group Zion 80; Philadelphia-based 10-piece jazz ensemble the Fresh Cut Orchestra. He’s also worked with a Philadelphia group called UB313, featuring Marshall Allen, the saxophone giant who spent decades with the great Sun Ra and has continued to keep the latter’s Arkestra alive since 1993. Marsella has also launched his own record label, Red Palace Records. The iMAGiNARiUM’s recording will be its first release, with four other releases planned for 2017.
8:30PM Tuba Mob
Now celebrating its 22nd year, Sexmob (Steven Bernstein - slide trumpet, Briggan Krauss - saxophones, Tony Scherr - bass, Kenny Wollesen - drums) continues to deconstruct familiar pop tunes with subversive impunity. Sexmob came together in 1996 in a weekly residency at the legendary Knitting Factory and in 1998 released its debut, Din of Inequity and have since released seven full length albums.
Bernstein is explicit about Sexmob not being a cover band. ”Covers to me, means you play it exactly like the record,” he explains. “I just take songs that I feel have a great melody and do them in my style.” The fact that Bernstein exclusively plays slide trumpet in Sexmob gives the quartet an even more distinctive edge.
Tuba Mob is the meeting of Sexmob with tuba maestro Marcus Rojas. Marcus is a game changer in the music world, having played with artists ranging from Lester Bowie and Henry Threadgill to Paul Simon and the New York City Ballet. He is equal parts bass player, improviser, percussionist, and shape shifting magician. Bernstein and Rojas are founding members of the collective Spanish Fly, alongside slide guitarist David Tronzo.