Faculty Tuesdays (2021)

Faculty Tuesdays (2021)

Jan 19, 2021

Faculty Tuesdays (2021)

Free or pay what you can

Free or pay what you can

  • Presented by: CU Boulder College of Music
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Intermission: One

In this concert, double bassist Paul Erhard is joined by painters Leslie Laskey and James Jordan, photographer Patti Sevensma and dancer Yali Rivlin. In an outgrowth of Paul’s classical bass performance and his jazz and Indian raga improvising, these collaborators journey inside a fresh creative process of improvised music, visual arts and dance.

Renowned faculty artists perform with students and colleagues in chamber music recitals featuring world premieres and beloved classics. Free most Tuesdays September through March.

Streamed performance

Even though we are not gathering in person, you can still enjoy this performance from the comfort of your home. Stream this performance Tuesday, January 19, 7:30 p.m. MST right here at cupresents.org.

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This is a pay-what-you-can performance

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Featuring Paul Erhard, double bass; Leslie Laskey, painter; James Jordan, photographer; and Yali Rivlin, modern dancer

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Program notes

Time Art – Space Art is Paul Erhard’s newest venture into the creative world of improvisation, drawing upon his performance background as a classical double bassist (solo, orchestra, chamber music), jazz bassist and explorer of improvised raga music of India as he and his “bowed double bass” create improvised music collaborations with painters, photographers, poets and dancers. Time Art – Space Art was launched in November 2019 during Erhard’s sabbatical in rural Northern Michigan, with Jim Jordan’s newly completed Southwest painting perched on a chair. Impromptu, Erhard’s bass and bow dove into the painting and journeyed around many of the sections and details of the painting. A particular scale emerged along with melodic ideas that for Erhard conveyed the mood of various facets of the painting. After Erhard’s “performance,” Jordan remarked that what Erhard had just done is “TTime Art – Space Art because music happens in time and art happens in space.”

This unexpected creative meeting of sounds and painted images opened a new world of possibilities for Erhard and Jordan, including Jordan painting to Erhard’s recorded improvisations and their summer 2020 outdoor sessions, where the two explored the process of responding to each other at the same time through their respective mediums to create new works of art. In addition to his work with Jordan, Erhard has branched out to use improvisation as a means of finding languages for collaborating with photographers, other painters, a poet, and most recently dancer Yali Rivlin. This evening’s performance pairs Erhard with four wonderful artists. All of the works on the program are rooted in Erhard’s double bass improvisations. 

Hidden Treasures

Patti Sevensma writes: “After discussions about our common love for the Lake Michigan shoreline I chose about 50 photographs all relating to water. I put these into a video for us to view together. We worked to narrow down the images … eliminating some and giving others more time by introducing cropped segments of several. Then it was Paul’s turn to create the music, perform it on his double bass and make our video collaboration come to life. Our video Hidden Treasures is alive and I am humbly proud and pleased to be part of this artistic collaboration, a first for me.”

Paul Erhard writes: “Once Patti and I had the 26 photographs organized into a slide show, with my bass in hand and an audio recorder running, I looked at each photo, felt the response that each photograph elicited in me and began to play.  Improvised music emerged from my bass. The initial translating of the photos into sound went very quickly, with often no more than a few minutes per photo. Once I had musical sketches for all 26 photos, I notated what I had played, and made a few adjustments. This process was the first time I have created music in this way.  Like Patti, I too am very pleased with the outcome.”

Two by Two painting/music improvisations

Paul Erhard and Jim Jordan’s outdoor improvisations in summer 2020 involved Jim with canvas on easel, brushes and paint, and Paul and his bass seated close by. Before beginning, Jordan had marveled at the fascinating texture and knots on the trunk of a large cedar tree nearby. Using these shapes as inspiration, the two began and created for 25 minutes. It was an exhilarating experience. This kind of live painter/musician communicating was a first for both. A number of other painting/music improvisational conversational pieces followed. With each piece, Jordan and Erhard analyzed the process, and began to distill what seemed to be most essential. With this evening’s improvisations Two by Two Erhard and Jordan explore the immediacy of responding in gesture, motion and color.

Sand Box Trilogy

Paul Erhard and Yali Rivlin have been friends for a number of years. Erhard knew of Rivlin’s background as a dancer, but had never seen him dance.  In January 2020, Rivlin was visiting Boulder, and Erhard invited him to come to Erhard’s Basic Improvisation class in the CU College of Music to interact with the students. Rivlin’s dancing was astonishingly powerful, fresh and energetic, stimulating amazing creativity between Rivlin and the students. So impressed by Rivlin’s dancing, Erhard invited Yali to attend a subsequent class. Again the results were inspiring. Thinking in terms of Time Art – Space Art, Erhard was intrigued to explore dance/music improvisations with Rivlin. In the summer of 2020 in Northern Michigan where Rivlin lives, the two agreed to get together to dance and play. An artistic rapport quickly established between the two. More meetings followed, leading to the preparation and presenting of their first public outdoor concert. Rivlin shared a video of the performance with dance performer/pedagogue Tal Haran in Tel Aviv. Haran’s encouraging response gave added impetus to Rivlin and Erhard’s interest in continuing to develop their duo.

This evening’s collaboration is Erhard and Rivlin’s second concert, the culmination of three weeks of rehearsals in Boulder. Haran attended several  rehearsals via zoom from Tel Aviv, offering valuable guidance. Her excellence and wisdom as an artist and pedagogue has helped Rivlin and Erhard in the maturing of their improvisational communication. One of the many inspiring thoughts that Haran imparted is “there is nothing more serious than children at play.” Rivlin and Erhard have taken this as inspiration for the three improvisations they present this evening in their Sandbox Trilogy.

Sand Box Trilogy Part 1 is based musically on the Indian raga Keervani, with the notes of the Western D harmonic minor scale. Sand Box Trilogy Parts 2 and 3 are being performed without any previously written scores.

Acorns on the Roof: Solo double bass reflections on a Leslie Laskey painting

Acorns on the Roof is inspired by Paul Erhard’s painting/music collaborations with painter Leslie Laskey during the 2020 summer in Michigan, and is a musical rendering of specific painting that Laskey came up with in one of their meetings last summer.  The work is in a compact rondo form A B A’ C A” D A”’ E A (coda). With each return, the rondo theme is varied from the original. The work, focusing on the lower register of the double bass, incorporates a number of Laskey observations of polka dance feel, low, high, dark, percussive, lyrical, connected ... Acorns on the Roof was composed for a documentary film on Laskey that is being made by film maker David Wild. Acorns is dedicated to Laskey.

Marks and Music: A painting/music improvisation

Artist, painter and educator Leslie Laskey has been a strong creative influence on Paul Erhard’s work interfacing music and visual arts. In 2016, Erhard and his family began spending time with Leslie at his summer studio in Northern Michigan. In Laskey’s studio there is a steady flow of former art students from Washington University coming to be revitalized in their professional careers. Laskey is a master at encouraging looking at life and one’s surroundings in new ways, always challenging his students to keep their creative process growing. Being with Laskey and his students has given Erhard a deeper understanding of visual arts and inspired Erhard to expand his musical creativity in ways that led to Time Art – Space Art.

In May 2020, Erhard and Laskey’s summer collaboration began with Erhard recording more than 70 improvisations seeking to capture in music elements of Laskey’s 2020 painting project he calls The Poetry of Landscape. This was followed by multiple sessions in Michigan as Erhard and Laskey explored developing a language for their music/painting creations. Laskey refers to his painted gestures on paper as marks, which for him have musical sounds. Laskey and Erhard’s work involves a dialogue of Laskey finding words to express what he “hears” with each mark, and Erhard translating Laskey’s explanations into sound. The two discuss and play back and forth until Laskey is satisfied with Erhard’s musical renditions. This evening’s Marks and Music is a continuation of the fascination Laskey and Paul have for their artistic journey together.


Paul Erhard

double bass

Read Bio for Paul Erhard

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