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Department of Visual and Performing Arts Hosting Free Improvisational Concert March 19


The Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents improvisations by guest artists Jessica Ackerley, guitar; Alex Cunningham, violin; Dave Stone, reeds; and Damon Smith, bass.

The concert will be Tuesday, March 19, at 8 p.m. in the Mark Wilson Studio Theater located on the ground floor of Xavier Hall.

Featured artist Jessica Ackerley, currently based in Honolulu after ten years in New York City, will perform a duo with Alex Cunningham. Dave Stone and Damon Smith will open the evening with a duo performance.

This concert is free and open to the public.  Parking is available at the Queen's Daughters Hall lot at 3730 Lindell Blvd, located directly behind Xavier Hall.

About the Artists

During the past decade, Jessica Ackerley has established themselves on the Canadian and American music scenes as a unique and versatile guitarist, composer and improvisor. They have worked alongside notable musicians such as Tyshawn Sorey, Daniel Carter, Marc Edwards, Luke Stewart, Patrick Shiroishi, and Jason Nazary, to name a few. Notable performance venues include John Zorn’s The Stone, Canada Music Center, ESS Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Blue Note, and tours both as a bandleader and side musician throughout Canada and the United States. Since 2017, Ackerley released thirteen albums as a bandleader and collaborator to much acclaim, making critics’ year-end lists on Jazz Right Now, Avant Music News, Free Jazz Blog and Jazz Times Magazine. Their music has also been featured and reviewed in Wire Magazine, BBC Radio, Whole Note, Musicworks Magazine, New York City Jazz Record, and Bandcamp’s monthly “Best of” lists.

Alex Cunningham is a violinist, improviser, and visual artist based in St. Louis, MO. His recorded output spans free improvisation, drone, noise, and minimalist composition. Cunningham has recorded with Lisa Cameron, Damon Smith, claire rousay, Chris Trull (under the Apathist! moniker), Mark Shippy, Thom Nguyen, Patrick Shiroishi, and Weasel Walter. Past collaborations include the groups Vernacular String Trio, Hess/Cunningham Duo, and Hardbody. Cunningham has released music on Close/Far Recordings, Personal Archives, Already Dead Tapes and Records, Fort Evil Fruit, Working Man Lay Down, Orb Tapes, and Astral Spirits.

Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and has had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. Damon’s explorations into the sonic palette of the double bass have resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant-garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. Visual art, film and dance heavily influence his music, as evidenced by his CAMH performance of Ben Patterson’s Variations for Double Bass, collaborations with director Werner Herzog on soundtracks for Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World, and an early performance with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.