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2010 Events

Cultural Fusion

7:00pm September 16, 2010
Dryden H.S. Auditorium
Dryden, NY

Guest Artist:
Sandip Burman, sitar/tabla
With John Stetch, Nicholas Walker,
Rick Huyge, and Paul Merrill

Thursday, September 16, 7:00 PM
Dryden High School Auditorium

Friday, September 17, 8:00 PM
Barnes Hall Auditorium


During the week of September 16 to September 22, the Cornell Department of Music presents a pair of concerts. These events, as the majority of the over 120 events presented by the department each year, are free and open to the public.

From India, guest artist Sandip Burman plays both sitar and tabla along with four established jazz musicians from Ithaca in a pair of concerts entitled “Cultural Fusion.” Blending Indian classical and American contemporary jazz styles, Burman performs with pianist John Stetch, bassist Nicholas Walker, saxophonist Rick Huyge, and trumpeter Paul Merrill on Thursday, September 16 (7:00 PM, Dryden H.S. Auditorium) and on Friday, September 17 (8:00 PM, Barnes Hall Auditorium). These events are funded, in part, by grants from the Cornell Council for the Arts and the South Asia Program, as well as the Dryden High School Music Fund and BOCES.

The concerts will feature three sets of music, the first with Stetch, Walker, Huyge, and Merrill as a jazz quartet. For the second set, Burman will perform solo on sitar. The programs will close with Sandip Burman joining the quartet on tabla, which is where the real “fusion” will take place. Both John Stetch and Paul Merrill are contributing new original works to the program, including Stetch’s Balkan Baker, a complex-meter piece based loosely on an E-flat blues. Paul’s piece is drawn more directly from Indian traditions, featuring a 16-beat raga, yet orchestrated for a modern jazz combo.

During a tour of upstate New York a year ago, Sandip suggested a musical collaboration featuring leading Ithaca musicians. This pair of concerts, as well as lecture demonstrations at Dryden High School and Cornell, is the result.

A native of Durgapur, India, Sandip Burman is a disciple of the late distinguished tabla master, Pandit Shyamal Bose of Calcutta. His performances are marked with spontaneous innovation and tonal purity while delivering complex rhythmic patterns (tala) or melody (raga). Sandip has collaborated with several notable American jazz artists, including Bela Fleck, Randy Brecker, and Dave Pietro, and has performed as a soloist in the U.S. at the Kennedy Center, First Night Providence (Rhode Island), the Ravinia Festival, Percussive Arts Society Conference, and with the Nashville Symphony. His dazzling performances, combined with his rich and eloquent playing style, have enabled him to teach master classes and perform at prestigious institutions world-wide, including CalArts, San Francisco State, Stanford, UCSD, Brown, DePaul University, Texas Tech, Penn State, Dartmouth, University of Chicago, the Peabody Conservatory, and in Mexico, North Africa, Israel, Holland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Ireland.

Canadian born pianist and composer John Stetch moved to Ithaca in 2004 following a ten-year sojourn in New York City, where he performed with Rufus Reed, Charlie Hayden, and many other jazz luminaries. The Dryden Schools have enjoyed John’s amazing creativity in guest artist and master class settings, including a stunning live performance of an original sound track to the silent film classic Nosferatu in 2009.

Nicholas Walker is assistant professor of bass at Ithaca College, an accomplished performer, and composer in a variety of styles. He has received numerous awards and commissions for new works and has performed and recorded with a wide range of notable jazz and early music performers and ensembles.

Saxophonist Rick Huyge directs the Dryden Wind Ensemble and H.S. Jazz Ensemble and teaches music theory. Prior to moving to New York, he lived and taught in Seoul, Korea, where he studied traditional Korean percussion music, adapting Korean methods to Western classrooms. He is active as a performer in a variety of regional jazz ensembles.

Trumpeter, composer, and educator Paul Merrill is the Gussman Director of Jazz Ensembles at Cornell University. He has toured with Hank Roberts, Half Pint, John Brown’s Body, and the Grammy nominated Phil Woods Big Band. Currently pursuing a D.M.A. in Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music, Merrill remains active as a clinician, Area All-State director, improvisation teacher, freelance trumpeter, and member of the Central New York Jazz Orchestra.