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Bloomingdale School of Music: The Piano Music of Ed Bland – An Online Faculty Concert

February 18, 2022

Bloomingdale School of Music presents The Piano Music of Ed Bland, a free online faculty concert, on Friday, February 18, 2022 at 7pm. In honor of Black History Month, faculty member Judith Olson will perform works by African American composer Ed Bland (1926-2013), with whom she worked for many years. The piano works on the program are part of a 5-volume set entitled “Urban Counterpoint:” art music, using the language of gospel, soul, blues, jazz, and various film scores. For over 20 years Bloomingdale has presented its faculty, as well as guest artists, in concerts including classical music, jazz, and world music. This FREE concert series has established itself a vital part of the musical life of the Upper West Side. For more information and to RSVP, visit bsmny.org/events. The concert will also be livestreamed; please RSVP here for access to the stream: https://www.bsmny.org/event/online-faculty-concert-the-piano-music-of-ed-bland//

The program for the evening includes:
Classical Soul No. 1
Zone Blue
Heat Seeking Missile

Up Escalators
Cell Phone Blues

Phunky Phrogs Rag
Sunday School
Classical Soul No. 3

Bloomingdale School of Music faculty member pianist Judith Olson is a graduate of The Juilliard School and made her New York debut with Alexander Schneider conducting Walter Piston’s Concertino. She has since toured North, Central, and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Korea as soloist and in collaboration with leading instrumentalists, including Kyung Wha Chung, Eugene Fodor, Miriam Fried, Joseph Fuchs, Daniel Heifetz, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Nathan Milstein, and Tossy Spivakovsky. A versatile artist, she has performed Beethoven at Bard, Rachmaninoff at Newport, and has appeared as soloist on numerous new music series in New York, including Composers Collaborative and Composers Concordance. She is the dedicatee of works by Otto Luening, William Mayer, Ned Rorem and Olav Anton Thommessen, and she has recorded for Albany, Capstone, Newport Classics, MMO Laureate Series, and RCA. She has appeared at major halls including Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the Kennedy Center, and has participated in the festivals of Ankara, Bard, Bar Harbor, Capri, Caramoor, Chautauqua, Killington, and Newport. Her recent recording, Urban Counterpoint, featuring the solo piano music of African American jazz composer Ed Bland, was recently released by Cambria Records/Naxos. 

An unusually versatile musician, Ed Bland (1926-2013) began his career as a clarinetist, before making his mark as a composer, arranger, producer and orchestrator. His concert music has been performed by Speculum Musicae, the American Brass Quintet, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Bland’s command of jazz allowed him to make a living in the record industry as a composer, arranger, and producer of urban-generated forms of Black music, such as soul, rhythm and blues, jazz, rock and roll, urban blues, and funk. He has collaborated with Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Richie Havens, and Ray Charles, among many others. Bland is perhaps best known as producer of the 1959 film, “The Cry of Jazz,” described by MOMA documentarian Willard Van Dyke as “the most prophetic film ever made,” because it predicted the race riots of the ’60s and ’70s.

Founded in 1964, Bloomingdale School of Music is dedicated to the belief that music changes lives and everyone should have access to high-quality music education regardless of economic status, race, religion, ability level, or gender. Bloomingdale is a music-driven community center where all are welcome to join and learn about music from top faculty. We are dedicated to our mission – to make music education accessible to all who want to learn – and remain focused on supporting this mission through our values. www.bsmny.org/


February 18, 2022