“I’m constantly developing a younger jazz audience. Hopefully it will arouse more consciousness among audiences and enable them to become more sensitive to diversity, history, and culture.”
John Blake, Jr. (1947–2014) took his inspiration as a contemporary jazz violinist and composer from some of the genre’s greats, having served as a band member for two legendary jazz masters: saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. and pianist McCoy Tyner. Born in Philadelphia, Blake was a faculty member at both The University of the Arts and the Manhattan School of Music. He was commissioned in 2005 by Chamber Music America to create a compilation, A Celebration of Fiddle Music from Africa to America, which traced the violin’s history in African and African-American music. His latest work, Motherless Child, features jazz arrangements of traditional Negro spirituals. At the time of his Pew Fellowship award, Blake hoped to raise awareness of Philadelphia’s storied history of jazz and thereby perpetuate the art form. “I’m constantly developing a younger audience,” Blake said. “It is a must to keep jazz alive.” In August 2014, he passed away at age 67.
Billy Taylor Trio (Billy Taylor, piano; Chip Jackson, bass; Winard Harper, drums) with special guest John Blake, Jr. Recorded in January 2001.
LaVaughn Robinson (1927–2008) was a tap dancer and a 1992 Pew Fellow.
A series of performances, lectures, and workshops that investigate the concept of “musical color,” including a performance with Grammy-award winning ensemble Partch.
Bowerbird presented this festival in 10-day arcs that each focused on one of John Cage’s major musical compositions, providing a concentrated look at Cage’s compositional styles.
We speak to poet Catie Rosemurgy, whose wry and sharply imagined poems investigate the layered natures of identity, history, and narrative.
PTC presented the Philadelphia premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical based on the 1975 documentary of the same title.
South African theater artist Brett Bailey will visit Philadelphia for a three-week residency and a presentation of his adaptation of Verdi’s opera Macbeth, set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, presented in collaboration with Opera Philadelphia.
James Alan McPherson is the recipient of many national literary awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award.
Andrew Horwitz is a writer, producer, curator and creative strategist with over 20 years of experience in the for-profit and not-for-profit creative sectors.
Jolle Greenleaf, artistic director of early music ensemble TENET, is one of the leading voices in the field of early music.
The Slought Foundation is a small and dynamic organization with great ambitions, founded in 2002 to present art projects and lectures from a storefront in University City.
John Dias is a respected dramaturg with extensive experience working on a broad range of new plays and classics, and the artistic director of the Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, NJ.
Richard Torchia is a visual artist and a 1994 Pew Fellow, and the director of the Arcadia University Art Gallery.