Unique movie/music event will open Chamber Music and Jazz series Oct. 14

A unique event will open the Chamber Music and Jazz at Ripon series Friday, Oct. 14, at Ripon College. It will feature a showing of the classic 1922 silent film “HÄXAN” accompanied by a live score composed by Joe Clark and Chad McCullough.

The program will begin at 7 p.m. in Demmer Recital Hall, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts. The artists will give a pre-show talk at 6 p.m. All events in the Chamber Music and Jazz at Ripon series are free and open to the public.

Performers will be Joe Clark, conductor; Chad McCullough, trumpet; Allen Cordingley, saxophone; Dave Miller, guitar; and Alvin Cobb Jr., drums.

The program celebrates the 100th anniversary of the release of Benjamin Christensen’s film “HÄXAN” (“The Witch”), a silent horror essay work blending documentary-style storytelling with dramatized narrative sequences. The film charts the historical roots and superstitions surrounding witchcraft from the Middle Ages through the early 20th century, ultimately proposing that early witch hunts may have stemmed from misunderstandings of mental or neurological disorders, triggering mass hysteria.

Clark and McCullough are the composers of the piece. Praised as “haunting” (Chicago Tribune), “very intriguing and attractive” (Journal of Singing) and “a tour de force” (Chicago Classical Review), Clark is a composer and arranger of a wide range of musical traditions in “an emphatic new voice that should be heard” (All About Jazz).

His compositions and arrangements have been performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Jeff Hamilton, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Marquis Hill, Kurt Elling, Phil Woods, Ira Sullivan, Julia Bentley, the Minnesota Orchestra, Lake Forest Symphony, WDR Big Band, the Chicago Brass Quintet, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Bob Lark and his Alumni Big Band, the New Standard Jazz Orchestra, Quince, Chicago Q Ensemble, V3NTO, the Spektral Quartet, players from the Chicago Symphony, Grant Park Symphony, and Louisiana Philharmonic, and ensembles worldwide.

Heralded for his “solos of mercurial poetry and high craft” (Chicago Tribune), Chicago-based trumpeter/composer McCullough has received wide critical-acclaim. He has more than 20 albums. All About Jazz writes, “He is a rare instrumentalist who makes each note sound as if it were imbued with a deeper meaning. Certainly a player with great chops, his approach is one that is measured and deliberate, often introspective, sometimes gorgeously melancholic, and one that employs a continuity of mood and atmosphere …”

(Photo: Trumpeter and composer Chad McCullough)

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