Improvisation workshop, performances set
CHAMPAIGN — In a partnership with the new Institute 4 Creativity (I4C) in Champaign, Jason Finkelman will relaunch his Improvisers Exchange, with performances and a workshop this week by Thollem McDonas.
The premiere event of the new Improvisers Exchange @ I4C will feature MCDonas, a pianist/keyboardist, in first-time collaborations with drummers Andy Burton and Nick Zielinski in two separate duet performances — 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday , billed as Thollem Electric's Keyngdrum Overdrive.
From 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, McDonas will lead an improvisation workshop that will end with a performance by the participants at 8 p.m., billed as Everywhere Quintet +.
The Institute 4 Creativity is at 111 S. Walnut St., C. For more information, visit http://on.fb.me/16l0m8U.
The workshop and concerts with McDonas provide opportunities for musicians and listeners at all levels to experience improvised music.
McDonas last appeared in Urbana-Champaign in late 2012 for a solo performance on vintage keyboards in the Sudden Sound Concert Series organized by Finkelman, at the Krannert Art Museum.
As a pianist, composer, improviser and teacher, McDonas travels internationally, performing as a soloist as well as in collaboration with a wide array of artists.
In the past seven years, he added 30 albums to his discography on 12 different labels in four countries. He had begun studying the keyboard repertoire when he was 5, from the medieval to the 20th century, and studied with many notable teachers, among them Aiko Onishi and Lou Harrison.
Finkelman is an Urbana based percussionist/composer who directs Global Arts Performance Initiatives at the University of Illinois. As a performer, he has long focused on cross-cultural, improvised music that blends stylistic genres.
Ten years ago he organized the Improvisers Summit; it brought together 18 area musicians to participate in a concert here that launched the Pauline Oliveros Foundation Midwest.
Although a short-lived organization, the foundation followed the inaugural event with a series of monthly concerts from November 2003 to September 2004. billed as Improvisers Exchange @ The IMC — the Independent Media Center in Urbana.