Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Music
Since moving to New York in 1978, Ehrlich has performed his compositions throughout America, Europe, and Canada with three ongoing ensembles: The Marty Ehrlich Quartet and Sextet, The Traveler's Tales Group, and The Dark Woods Ensemble.
As a composer, he has been commissioned by the New York Composer's Orchestra, the Boston Jazz Composer's Alliance, The Lydian String Quartet, The Rova Saxophone Quartet, The Kitchen House Blend Orchestra, the New York String Trio, and pianist Ursula Oppens. As a sideman he has performed with a who’s who of jazz artists, appearing on over 100 CDs. Ehrlich is also musical director of the Julius Hemphill Saxophone Sextet, which has been active performing that composer’s music throughout the world.
In the classical field, Ehrlich has performed with the New York City Opera, the New York City Ballet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the St. Luke's Orchestra, the Birmingham (England) Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Chamber Music Northwest.
He has been an artist in residence at the Gardner Museum in Boston and the Peter Ivers Visiting Artist at Harvard.
Marty Ehrlich received his B.A. in music from New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston. In 1992 he was named a Distinguished Alumni of the conservatory.
In 2004 he received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in music composition.
The Improvisor's Laboratory:This is a class for musicians interested in developing their expressive and creative skills through improvisation. It is open to all instrumentalists, including voice and electronics. It is open to students from any musical background. You will be challenged to expand your instrumental vocabulary, and to use these languages in a context of collective improvisation. We will look at improvisational music making from a multitude of angles, breaking it down and putting it together again. This is an intensive course, requiring weekly rehearsals outside of class with small groups, listening and reading assignments involving periodic papers, and compositional exercises. Familiarity with traditional musical notation is required, as we will be exploring the role notated elements play in an improvisational work. We will be giving a final concert of the musical pieces you develop during the semester.
Duke Ellington spoke of certain musicians and the music they made as being "beyond category." How can we listen to music across the breadth and length of American music to hear this? Our listening and reading will move backwards and forwards in historical time, and will question easily defined ideas of musical style and genre. Our curiosity will be aimed at how these musical streams cross and interact. We will look to engage the sense of radical possibility the artists themselves brought to their work. Along the way, we will ask some critical questions about the expressive power of music. How does a work of art function within its historical moment (politics and culture), how does it function within itself (aesthetics and philosophy), and how do all these forces interact? We will engage a number of different approaches to writing about music in the class assignments. A background in music performance is not required for this course, but music making may well become part of it.
This is a performance-oriented course, culminating in a concert at the end of the semester. Each student will be challenged to develop her or his skills as an ensemble musician and as an improvising soloist. The course will require rehearsal time outside of the weekly class meetings. Two independent research projects will be assigned based on historical study and musical analysis. This semester, we will be focusing on the music of two seminal artists in the African-American musical continuum: Yusef Lateef and Eddie Palmeri. We will work to meet the technical challenges of the music and to internalize its essence. The Jazz Improvisation Orchestra is open to all instruments, including voice. Prerequisite: Jazz Improvisation Seminar I (HACU 0192) or comparable 5 college class.
Music Composition from the Jazz Continuum: From Jelly Roll Morton to Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams to Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus to Ornette Coleman, jazz composers have brought great innovation to the musical culture of their times. We will look at the way composers up to the present day engage with the blues sensibility and improvisational forms within their compositional approaches. This course aims to expand our skills with musical form, language, and medium. There will be weekly composition assignments, written for instrumentation within the class, as well as a substantial research project. We will present a final concert of our compositional work. Prerequisite: Tonal Theory II or 5 College equivalent.
Tonal Theory II: This class will continue the work done in Tonal Theory I. We will be studying part writing and voice leading, as well as continuing the process of understanding and using basic chromatic harmony. Within this study, we will begin to look at large scale forms and structures. Some composition assignments will be included along the way as we assimilate new theoretical knowledge. Topics and repertoire for study are drawn from European classical traditions as well as jazz, popular, and non-western musics. Prerequisite: Tonal Theory I or 5 College equivalent.