The fall semester is off to a lively start for jazz and contemporary music professor Marty Ehrlich.
On the heels of a performance with the Mark Dresser Quintet at the Angel City Jazz Festival in Los Angeles, Professor Ehrlich joins tuba player Joseph Daly for a free show at UMass Amherst’s Augusta Savage Gallery on Monday, October 15, at 7 p.m.
In addition to his teaching duties at Hampshire, Professor Ehrlich served as guest artist-in-residence with the contemporary improvisation department at the New England Conservatory for two weeks in early September. Ehrlich graduated from NEC in 1977, and in the decades since has earned critical acclaim as a composer, performer, and bandleader. He was named a distinguished alumnus of the conservatory in 1992.
“The residency was quite exciting for me. It is a very international program,” said Professor Ehrlich. “Ideas I work on at Hampshire in my improvisation classes were ideas I brought there.”
On September 13, he performed his music at the NEC’s famed Jordan Hall. The ten pieces ranged from “Ploughshares People,” a string quartet written in 1993, to “Inauguration Suite,” written for the April 2012 inauguration of Hampshire College President Jonathan Lash.
Professor Ehrlich has also received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation faculty development grant from Hampshire, which allowed him to undertake a retrospective recording this past summer. The five long-form pieces were written for jazz orchestra, and were recorded in New York City with 24 musicians.
“The recording is the largest I’ve ever attempted, and it went very well,” said Professor Ehrlich. “I called in musicians I have worked with for thirty years and more, as well as artists I have recently met. My role in the recording process was as conductor and producer. It's a very moving thing to hear your marks on paper be brought to life by the creativity of your colleagues."
The newest composition was “Agbekor Translations,” developed at Hampshire with Professor Ehrlich’s Jazz Improvisation Orchestra in collaboration with Mount Holyoke College’s West African Drumming Ensemble.
“It was great to finally work with Faith Conant of Mt. Holyoke in combining our student ensembles, and to make a connection between my work with students in the Five College consortium and my professional life in New York City,” Ehrlich said.
Professor Ehrlich is teaching courses Tonal Theory II and Tributaries in American Music this fall. In the spring, he will teach the new course Composition in the Jazz Continuum.
Photo Credit: Maarteen Jan Reider