The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Karlton Hester: Concert of Innovative Global African Music

Karlton Hester (UCSC Music) Faculty

Composer/performer Karlton Hester’s work is often ecumenical and interdisciplinary. He integrates Global African music with various elements of music from other regions of the world in premeditated and spontaneous compositions, electro-acoustic composition, and other interdisciplinary collaboration projects. Hester’s work on African polyrhythm and dissertation on the music of John Coltrane (with analytic focus on the music of Coltrane’s late period) serve as the basis for a freedom of expression that defines his musical approach. As the Gussman Director of “Jazz” Studies at Cornell University, he collaborated with Dr. Donald Byrd in exploring connections between musical and mathematical symbols, structural patterns and intuition. His current goal is the creation of music that reflects salient features of traditional and contemporary modes of Afrocentric cultural expression and world society. One of his latest projects involves completing a book that summarizes this theoretical approach. His recent publication, From Africa to Afrocentric Innovations Some Call “Jazz”(2000), provides historical background for his work as a composer. Among the nine recordings under his own name, he performs (playing flute, piccolo, and saxophone) new compositions and arrangements on his latest CD release, Harmonious Soul Scenes 2000. Hester has received numerous awards, including composition grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1989 & 1985), ASCAP Standard Awards (1985-98), George & Elza Howard Foundation (1996), Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions (1994 & 95), William Grant Still Memorial Commissioning Project, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship – Cornell University (1991-92), New England Council for the Arts (1986), Staten Island Council on the Arts (1987,1990, 1991), and The Yard Dance Company.

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