The four jazz artists who will create experimental work at festivals across England in 2023 are: Andrew Woodhead, Piera Onacko, Marcus Joseph and Raheel Khan.
Each artist has been awarded a Cheltenham Jazz Festival Jerwood Jazz Encounters Fellowship which will give them the chance to present jazz in unusual spaces and the digital realm. The 18-month programme produced in collaboration with Manchester Jazz Festival, Oxford Contemporary Music and Sage Gateshead will equip the artists with the skills and contacts they need to develop bold new work. Each Fellowship includes R&D funding, in-depth mentoring, a two-day Creative Lab hosted by Birmingham City University, specialist support from digital partner The Space and residency opportunities with partners Britten Pears Arts and 101 Outdoor Arts.
Sheffield-born composer and producer Andrew Woodhead’s projects include electro-acoustic duo ELDA with Aaron Diaz, Ideas of Noise with Sarah Farmer, and Mark Sanders’ CollapseUncollapse trio. He said: “It is a rare and wonderful thing to be given time, space and crucially the resources and support to explore a bold new idea. Developing my ‘Pendulums’ album into a large-scale installation will push me far from my comfort zone and challenge me to rethink my practice in ways I wouldn’t have conceived of. I am hugely excited to see where the path takes me over the next 18 months.”
Bandleader and composer Piera Onacko explores the world of synths and live electronics, performing as a soloist and in groups in a number of improvised settings She commented: “The Jerwood Jazz Encounters programme is the perfect opportunity for me to explore ideas that don’t fit into the traditional setting of stage and audience. Having the chance to develop my cross-collaborative relationships and learn more about presenting music in unusual ways is very exciting, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Jazz musician and spoken word artist Marcus Joseph who is already performing in his own virtual Jazz Club in AltspaceVR and through the fellowship is seeking to develop an immersive Jazz VR experience. He said: “I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Jerwood Jazz Encounters programme and exploring the limitless possibilities and capabilities of XR technologies within music. An immersive jazz experience that captures the heart and imaginations of the audience is something that I’m keen to develop on this programme. Having an opportunity like this is incredible as I get to be bold and innovative in my creativity with technology that is breaking new ground.”
Raheel Khan is an artist and musician working in sound, installation and performance. He explained: “The spaces between sound, music and installation are deeply rooted within my work and interests – this will be my most ambitious idea yet. Having the opportunity to develop the project in a lab/incubator style environment amongst peers, producers and mentors that have direct lineage to the sensibilities of Jazz, not only as a genre but as a movement is something I feel incredibly energised by.”
Jon Opie, Deputy Director of Jerwood Arts said: “Jerwood Arts is delighted to support these four outstanding artists for the second cohort of the Jerwood Jazz Encounters. The concepts Andrew, Piera, Marcus and Raheel have outlined are truly exciting, spot on for the brief for creating bold new works for festivals and unusual spaces. I know they will benefit from careful and encouraging support of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival team and partners, and look forward to seeing them develop over the next 18 months.”
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