Fellows Friday: Q&A with Hafez Javier Kotain

Hafez Javier Kotain, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

As part of our new “Fellows Friday” web feature, we focus on the artistic lives of our Pew Fellows: their aspirations, influences, and creative challenges. This week, we speak to 2013 Pew Fellow Hafez Javier Kotain, a percussionist and educator fluent in Arab and Latin rhythms. Born in Venezuela, Kotain works with various Philadelphia-area nonprofit cultural organizations to teach others about his musical traditions.

When did you know you were going to be an artist?

When I stepped onto a stage for the first time at the age of nine.

If you could collaborate with anyone alive today (someone you don’t know personally), who would it be?

Indian tabla player, composer, and percussionist Zakir Hussain.

Do you think about your legacy and, if so, how does your thinking about it affect your practice?

Thinking about my legacy helps me focus on practicing, learning, and teaching more people about Arab percussion and what I do as a professional percussionist. This is made possible by my work with Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture and Intercultural Journeys.

What images or things keep you company in the space where you work?

The voice of my deceased brother, as well as his picture in my wallet.

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WXPN is a public radio station operated by the University of Pennsylvania, best known for its World Cafe music program, distributed by National Public Radio.

Jazz Bridge presents a concert featuring sets by jazz guitarist Pat Martino and jazz pianist and Pew Fellow Uri Caine.

Grants & Grantees

Greg Osby (Pew Fellow, 2012) has made an indelible mark on contemporary jazz over the past 20 years, leading his own ensembles and performing with musical icons such as Dizzy Gillespie.

Pew Fellow Bhob Rainey discusses his approach to improvisation.

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Grants & Grantees

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Collaborators & Colleagues

Richard Schechner is a legendary downtown theater artist, currently on faculty at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was one of the founders of the Performance Studies department.

Grants & Grantees

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Grants & Grantees

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Grants & Grantees

In 2005 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 66 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.