Program: Derek Gripper

October 23, 2021
Crystal Ballroom at the Somerville Theatre

Interpreting Kora Music, by Derek Gripper

In the western classical tradition, the idea of the composer has changed over time, but it has usually involved some form of written score that is then interpreted by the performer. Today there are many composers whose works are never committed to paper: songwriters, electronic musicians, world musicians, jazz musicians. We sometimes say they improvise or play traditional music, but when it comes to assigning performing rights, we talk about them as having composed the music they perform and record. So the realm of composition is one that has greatly enlarged, and this recital seeks to do this too, to enlarge the ideas of what makes up a composition and what defines a composer.  

Classical musicians are primarily interpreters. They take a given text and find a way to bring it to life in sound. There are many different approaches, academic or personal. But this art of interpretation, which is the core of classical music, has not always taken into account today’s enlarged realm of the composer. There have been many successful collaborations across the musical divides, for example Kronos Quartet’s recent collaboration with Malian Trio da Kali, a recent recording of works composed by griots living an aural/oral tradition, collaborating with a classically trained string arranger and a string quartet reading scores. But it is rare that a work from a composer outside of the classical discipline of written composition is interpreted by a classically trained musician. There is almost always some sort of intermediary or arranger involved. The barriers are many, from both sides, but it is mostly a problem of translation.   
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Derek Gripper — Classic Guitar

Program Notes from Derek Gripper

Interpreting Kora Music
A Little Background

About Derek Gripper
Recent Recording


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