“My work is an extension of Sun Ra’s mission to provide for the spiritual healing of planet Earth.”
Marshall Belford Allen (b. 1924) has been an active member of the Sun Ra Arkestra for over 50 years, and has helmed the historic jazz group since 1995, following the death of jazz pioneer Sun Ra. A leader in the 1960s avant-garde jazz movement, Allen started clarinet lessons at the age of 10. Stationed in Paris during World War II, he played with American jazz greats such as pianist Art Simmons and saxophonist Don Byas, and then enrolled in the Paris Conservatory of Music. Allen has appeared in concert and on recordings with such diverse groups as Phish, Sonic Youth, Digable Planets, and Medeski, Martin & Wood. His main focus, however, remains the preservation of his mentor’s artistic legacy, and further development of Sun Ra’s musical precepts. Allen writes new compositions of his own and develops fresh arrangements of Sun Ra’s music to inspire a new generation of aspiring musicians. Allen writes, “My challenge is to get my musicians to play music that will enlighten them and, as a result, enlighten the public also.”
Although he has toured extensively, in March 2013, Allen performed for the first time in China, in collaboration with filmmaker James Harrar at Beijing’s Jue Music + Art Festival. He said to ARTINFO, “I perform all over the world because I’m playing universal music. I’m playing cosmic music. Space-age music. So why shouldn’t I play for China?” Allen celebrated his 89th birthday in May 2013 with a Sun Ra Arkestra concert in Philadelphia, and his 90th birthday in May 2014 with a Sun Ra Arkestra performance in Kassel, Germany.
Over the past 25 years, Pew Fellows have been recognized with numerous prestigious grants and awards, and have had their work presented in 49 US states and more than 60 countries.
We speak to poet J.C. Todd, whose current work-in-progress is a collection of sonnets that “complicates and contemporizes the tradition of war poems.”
An evening of theater, dance, and multimedia performances inspired by the Center-funded project Cliveden’s Living Kitchens.
Orrin Evans (Pew Fellow, 2010) never stops thinking about the traditions and evolution of jazz music, as well as renewing jazz’s legacy in the African-American community.
The company is dedicated to making critically important performance opportunities available to the current generation of opera and theatrical performers, designers, and directors.
The Crossing presented its second festival of contemporary choral music featuring commissioned works by Lansing McLoskey, Paul Fowler, and Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang.
The New Year brings to the region an exciting array of Center-funded projects that promise to inspire, inform, and captivate audiences—from interdisciplinary works that blur boundaries in imaginative ways to unique commissions from international artists.
Kent De Spain is a dancer and a 1992 Pew Fellow.
James Sugg (Pew Fellow, 2010) describes himself as a bridge—a bridge between music and theater, composer and performer, and traditional and ensemble-generated theater.
The Academy of Natural Sciences upgraded their financial software to a more efficient system, which made possible major developments.
Founded in 1982, Choral Arts Philadelphia has performed nearly 300 works by more than 100 composers.
John Zorn visits Philadelphia for a rare solo organ performance at Girard College Chapel.