King Britt

2007 Pew Fellow

1/3: King Britt, 2007 Pew Fellow. Directed by Glenn Holsten.
2/3: King Britt. Photo courtesy of the artist.
3/3: King Britt. Still from Britt’s Pew Fellow short film, directed by Glenn Holsten.

“I create because there’s something in me that needs that.”

Ultimately, King Britt (b. 1968) says, he is on a journey, exploring the patchwork of rhythmic textures from many urban dance music cultures: deep house, hip-hop, broken beat, nu-jazz, funk, and afro-tech. He grew up in Philadelphia—the root of his inspiration—and has worked with many of the city’s living legends of soul and R&B, such as Grover Washington, Jr., Kathy Sledge, Gamble and Huff, and James Poyser.

Britt studied marketing at Temple University. In 2006, he was commissioned by Charles O. Anderson’s (2007 Pew Fellow) dance theatre X to score a piece, which premiered at the 2007 FringeArts Festival and Philly Fringe. The same year, he scored four original compositions for the civil rights movement documentary film Never Lose Sight of Freedom, as well as six original compositions for Michael Mann’s film, Miami Vice. Britt conceptualized, recorded, and toured a multimedia live rock project, “King Britt Presents Sister Gertrude Morgan,” in collaboration with Preservation Hall in New Orleans, which was performed around the world at venues such as the Whitney Museum and the Nuspirit Festival in Helsinki, Finland. He was bandleader and music director for the Sylk130 collective, produced two albums—When the Funk Hits the Fan (Ovum/Sony, 1998) and Re-Members Only (Six Degrees, 2001). He was DJ for Grammy Award-winning hip-hop/soul group the Digable Planets.

References

Collaborators & Colleagues

Congolese dancer Faustin Linyekula is a leading contemporary African choreographer and the founder of Studios Kabako.

Grants & Grantees

The company is dedicated to making critically important performance opportunities available to the current generation of opera and theatrical performers, designers, and directors.

The PRISM Quartet presents the world premiere of new works composed and performed by Steve Lehman and Rudresh Mahanthappa, as well as music by Fabien Lévy and Kaeli Mogg.

Grants & Grantees

New Paradise Laboratories built this new Web-based engagement tool, which invites audiences to participate and collaborate with theater artists online.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Dr. Leslie King-Hammond is an artist, curator, and graduate dean emeritus and founding director of the Center for Race and Culture at the
Maryland Institute College of Art.

Composer Vijay Iyer and librettist Mike Ladd on how improvisation functions within their creative process.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Thomas O. Kriegsmann is the Director of Programs at New York Live Arts and the founder of ArKtype, a management and production agency supporting emerging and established domestic and internationally based artists. In 2015, he served as an LOI panelist in Performance.

Questions of Practice

Electronic Music 2012, presented by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on December 13, 2012, investigated the evolving American electronic musical experience and how it relates now to cultural expectations.

Warriors of the Wonderful Sound commissioned and premiered a composition from Muhal Richard Abrams, co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Lumi Tan is curator at The Kitchen in New York, where she organizes exhibitions and produces performances with artists across disciplines and generations.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Eric Jacobsen, a conductor and cellist hailed by The New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” has built a reputation for engaging audiences with innovative and collaborative projects. In 2015, Jacobsen served as a Performance LOI panelist.

Grants & Grantees

The Academy of Vocal Arts produced the Philadelphia premiere of Ottorino Respighi’s rarely performed 1934 opera La Fiamma.