Keynote Speakers

Rhythm Changes, Jazz Utopia is pleased to announce our Keynote Speakers, to be hosted at Birmingham City University for the fourth Rhythm Changes conference:

Ingrid Monson – Jazz Utopias Then and Now

Friday 15th April


Ingrid Monson is Quincy Jones Professor of African American music at Harvard University. She is the author of Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call Out to Jazz and Africa (Oxford University Press, 2007), winner of the Woody Guthrie Award of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music; Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996) winner of the Irving Lowens Book Award of the Society for American Music; and an edited a volume entitled the African Diaspora: A Musical Perspective (Garland/Routledge 2000). She has been a Guggenheim Fellow, served as chair of the Department of Music, and Interim Dean of the Arts and Humanities at Harvard. She served as an expert witness for the Marvin Gaye family in the Blurred Lines copyright infringement case in 2015. She is completing a new book called Kenedougou Visions, about Malian balafonist Neba Solo and is planning another book on copyright and African American music.


Raymond MacDonald – Utopia, Nirvana or Valhalla: Improvisation and all that jazz

Saturday 16th April




Raymond MacDonald is Professor of Music Psychology and Improvisation and Head of The Reid school of Music at Edinburgh University. After completing his PhD in Psychology at the University of Glasgow, investigating therapeutic applications of music, he worked as Artistic Director for a music company, Sounds of Progress, specializing in working with people who have special needs. He has published over 70 papers, was editor of the Journal Psychology of Music between 2006-2012 and has coedited five texts: Musical Identities (2002), Musical Communication (2005), Music Health and Wellbeing (2012), Musical Imaginations (2012) and the Handbook of Music Identities (in press). As a saxophonist and composer his work is informed by a view of improvisation as a social, collaborative and uniquely creative process that provides opportunities to develop new ways of working musically. Collaborating with musicians such as Evan Parker, David Byrne, Jim O’Rourke and Marilyn Crispell, he has released over 50 CDs and toured and broadcast worldwide. He has produced music for film, television, theatre and art installations and is a founder member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. He has a particular interest in cross-disciplinary collaboration and has extensive experience of working with artists and filmmakers.

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