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Sound Breaks: Symposium on Improvisation, Academics, & Social Advocacy

Sound Breaks Website

“Sound Breaks” will take place on the campus of Swarthmore College on Saturday, April 18, 2015, when invited scholars and performers will visit Swarthmore for a day-long symposium on improvisation and the liberal arts. Students and faculty will explore disciplinary-specific applications of improvisation through a series of workshops and talks to be hosted by several departments across campus, including Black Studies, English, Music & Dance, Philosophy, and Physics. These renowned academic scholar/teacher/performers will visit with and work alongside students in these workshops, drawing together common themes from their research, related Swarthmore course curricula, and the Symposium’s goals. They will share their research on musical improvisation, on applications of improvisation beyond the arts, and on the ethical imperatives of collaborative and community-based research. This integrated approach to academics and advocacy is a hallmark of Swarthmore College’s mission. And so “Sound Breaks” will be a unique opportunity for Swarthmore students to work alongside their faculty and invited scholars from around the U.S. who are modeling the interdisciplinary, community-based work they are taught in classrooms everyday.

Saturday, April 18 – Sound Breaks: Improvisation, Interdisciplinarity, and Social Action

For the full schedule, please visit this page.

9:30-10:30am – Workshop Session 1, Lang Music Building (open to Swarthmore College students and faculty)

10:45-11:45am – Workshop Session 2, Lang Music Building (open to Swarthmore College students and faculty)

4:00pm – Interdisciplinary Roundtable Discussion, Lang Concert Hall (free and open to the public)

  • The Sound Breaks visiting scholars will join pianist Vijay Iyer and Professor Mark Lomanno (Music and Dance) for a review of morning activities and discussion of interdisciplinary applications of improvisation in education and social advocacy. For a complete list of participants, see the Sound Breaks participants’ page.

8:00pm – Double Concert – Vijay Iyer Trio and Tirtha, Lang Performing Arts Center (free and open to the public)

  • This concert features the Philadelphia-area premiere of Break Stuff, the new album by the Vijay Iyer Trio on ECM Records, and the first-ever double concert with the trio (with Stephen Crump and Marcus Gilmore) and Tirtha, a group that performs fusions of jazz and North Indian classical musics.

10:00pm-1:00am: Late night set and jam session, Rose Tree Restaurant, 1243 N. Providence Rd., Media, PA (free and open to the public)

There is a curious yet enormously fruitful duality in the way that improvisation plays on our expectations and perspectives.

– Tracey Nicholls