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  • El Taller 215 East 99th Street New York, NY, 10029 United States (map)

 CMS Improvisers Orchestra Performance

 Saturday, June 10 at the El Taller Cultural Community Center, NYC

With special guest Valerie Naranjo, West African Mallet Percussions

The Music:

Since its inception in 2011, the CMS Improvisers Orchestra, comprised of 20 or more string, horn, reed, and percussion soloists, has performed nearly 90 times.  Conducted in Karl Berger's inimitable style developed over decades at the legendary Creative Music Studio™, the CMS™ Improvisers Orchestra explores original compositions as well as melodies from the world's folk traditions and themes by visionary composers such as Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman, creating a platform for musical ideas to arise spontaneously among the orchestra’s musicians. Karl’s conducting blends and harmonizes improvised sounds and rhythms in constantly shifting instrumentations and dynamics.  One of the orchestra’s trademarks is Ingrid Sertso's unique vocalizations and poetry.

In this June 10 performance, the CMS Improvisers Orchestra will play themes from CIO conductor Karl Berger’s ‘African Echoes’ based on West African folk melodies and will feature percussionist/vocalist Valerie Naranjo. The performance begins at 8:30 pm with a rehearsal open to ticket holders at 7:00 pm when listeners gain insights into the unique process that guides the CIO. 

The CMS Improvisers Orchestra has received numerous critical reviews.  In a glowing notice, the Wall Street Journal said the orchestra’s sound “draws on lush harmonies and a well-defined relationship between foreground soloists and background.”  The arts blog Lucid Culture remarked that “the camaraderie and warmth of the repartee between the orchestra and conductor – and among the orchestra itself – was visceral,” and acclaimed jazz critic Howard Mandel wrote that the orchestra “can expand on simple themes paying utmost attention to dynamics and each other through ‘intuited communication.’”

The Musicians:

Valerie Dee Naranjo is a percussionist, vocalist, and composer known for her pioneering efforts in West African keyboard percussion music. She plays percussion for NBC's Saturday Night Live Band, and has recorded and performed with Broadway's The Lion King, The Philip Glass Ensemble, David Byrne, The Paul Winter Consort, Tori Amos, Airto Moreira, and the international percussion ensemble MEGADRUMS, which includes Milton Cardona, Zakir Hussein, and Glen Velez.

CIO musicians featured in this performances include: Karl Berger, vibes, Ingrid Sertso, vocals and poetry;  Peter Apfelbaum, Ras Moshe, flute and tenor sax; Sylvain Leroux, fula flutes; Haruna Fukazawa, , flutes; Andy Laties, shakuhachi; Brian Groder, Aaron Shragge, trumpet; Lee Odom, Don Payne, clarinets; Michael Lytle, Christoph Knoche, bass clarinet; Bohdan Hilash, contra bass clarinet; Sana Nagano, Annemarie Wiesner, violin; Leonor Falcon, viola; Richard Keene, oboe; Jason Candler, soprano sax; Welf Dorr, Patrick Brennan, alto sax; Bill Ylitalo, baritone sax; Westwood Johnson, trombones; Kenny Wessel, Harvey Valdez, Ted Orr, guitars;  John Ehlis, mandolin; Ken Filiano;  basses; Warren Smith, Aaron Latos, percussion; and surprise guests.