Music
28. 12. 2018
Irina Pavlović

Preservation of the Jazz Culture,
Its Roots and Traditions

“Jazz is not just music, it’s a way of life,
it’s a way of being, a way of thinking.”
Nina Simone

Jazz music, as the cultural phenomenon, arises from the African-
American underclass, slaves for which musical expression was the
only field of freedom.
The Afro-American music that we call jazz today, music that
originally arose from the songs of African slaves, Negro spirituals,
gospel, and blues, was an aural, improvisational music tradition and
phenomenon. It has developed from folk and dance music of Afro-
Americans, under influences of diverse cultures and multicultural so-
ciety, and evolved into intellectual and modern music art form of the
twentieth century.
Music is an essential part of every culture, tradition and national
identity that directly reflects the history and social status, consequent-
ly, influencing the spirit of a culture. Therefore, jazz history is also
part of the history and social studies in American primary schoolѕ
for example (since the “Jazz National Curriculum” was integrated in
2000: “…most importantly, explore the social, economic, and political
contexts within which jazz evolved.”) In a very unique and astounding
way, music reflects and contributes to the preservation of all cultural
and social aspects of one nation as cultural identity, lifestyle, religion,
social psychology, social relations, mentalities, etc. Especially jazz cul-
ture is an example of how music should be approached through the
convergence of history, culture and its cultural heritage. Musicians
have to be historians, researchers, and critics as well, in order to be
qualified in forming their own criteria and building their own taste.
In the same way that music drives emotions and it cannot be de-
scribed just as a group of single notes, knowledge of history is not
only the exact dates of historical events. Throughout the history, we
learn directly about the culture of one nation. In other words, we
explore history in order to perceive the culture and for the purpose
of better understanding the music as an important part of it, with
all its cultural and social aspects. The historian Walter Rodney has
important observations on this topic. He was also a political activist,
and scholar, who was assassinated in Guyana in 1980. Mr. Rodney
was a highly educated man who sacrificed his life for the sake of
the struggle for the rights of Afro American people. As a University
Professor of History, he shares the following description in his book
“How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”: “A culture is a total way of life.
It embraces what people ate and what they wore; the way they walked
and the way they talked; the manner in which they treated death and
greeted the new-born. Obviously, unique features came into existence
in virtually every locality with regard to all social details… For ex-
ample, music and dance had key roles in ‘uncontaminated’ African so-
ciety. Africa is the continent of drums and percussion. African peoples
reached the pinnacle of achievement in that sphere.” 1)
In order to perceive one culture and tradition, roots should be
well studied.
American jazz pianist and composer, Randy Weston, points out:
„It’s so important to teach the history of our music and the origins of
our music, which comes directly from the African continent… Musi-
cians have to be historians, too.“ The most creative and unique cul-
tural aspects of rhythm, creativity, improvisation, dance, tradition
of ritual, lifestyle, social aspects, etc. originate from African cultur-
al heritage. In spite of racism and discrimination, their creativity
did not crumble, but survived and evolved. Yet, if Afro-American
jazz musicians are very much dedicated to researching their roots,
to what extent should the jazz students of other cultural affiliations
devote themselves to studying it? Unfortunately, we are confronted
with the paradox that these most important aspects are neglected
even during jazz studies, especially in Western European schools,
among those students who are coming from completely different
cultures and environments. African impacts, roots and the tradition
of jazz music are ignored or forgotten by those students who should
be most concerned about that topic and should most seriously ap-
proach its study. One of the greatest leading figures and authorities of
jazz music, Dizzy Gillespie, shares an essential message: “A student
of our music, if he goes back far enough, will find out that the main
source of our music is Africa.” − Dizzy Gillespie. We are familiar with
the fact that jazz is created under the influence of diverse cultures,
for instance jazz harmony evolved under the influence of European
classical music, but jazz music is essentially and spiritually apparent-
ly different from Wagner’s opera and Western European tradition.
European impacts in jazz are far less than the importance of their
African origins. Gillespie also suggests what the main source of jazz
is. Obviously, the social differences and the rhythm have the most
important role. We cannot separate jazz music from Afro-American
culture or its society, especially because it is the social aspect the one
that characterizes it. Jazz music is social music, music that brings
people together. The jazz legend Benny Golson, a composer, arranger,
lyricist, producer and tenor saxophonist, shares the following: “All we
had was each other and 78 records.That was our school.”
Rhythm, and syncopation that was associated with јаzz music
“belonging to an inferior race” 2) according to German “Drittes Reich”,
a dance that was considered to be banal, provocative and animalistic
by Western Europeans, group improvisations and playing exclusive-
ly by ear and by feeling, tradition of ritual, audience participation,
creativity, lifestyle and social relations, music philosophy, etc. All
that adorns the Afro American culture and all aspects of the Afri-
can cultural heritage have been unprecedented and degraded by the
Western Europeans. Therefore, especially in Western European jazz
studies today, it is very important to pay attention to African roots,
origins in jazz, as well to perceive all their cultural and social aspects.
In general, those students coming from other areas should invest
much more time in learning and approaching African American
culture than students who are naturally part of it, as we are logically
white Europeans who are not stomping our foot with gospel music
every Sunday.
Under the social context we must consider the following topic as
a very important aspect of jazz: Students, jazz fans and audiences
need to get acquainted with racism, discrimination and exploitation
with which the Afro-American musicians have faced, dating back to
ancient times. “Men have died for this music. You can’t get more ser-
ious than that.” − Dizzy Gillespie. How should we understand their
message or protest in music if we do not truly understand their his-
tory and status? It doesn’t matter if we talk about jazz, blues, gospel
or Latin music, this cultural field is created by Afro American slaves.
Therefore, we should consider their music as a triumphant struggle
for the freedom and rights of Afro American people. „Jazz speaks for
life. This is triumphant music.“ − Dr. Martin Luther King.
The fact that, for example, at three jazz universities in Vienna,
Austria, jazz history is not even included in the curriculum, repre-
sents a major problem and paradox as the lack of knowledge of the
history of jazz music culture hampers learning and true understand-
ing of its essence. At the same time, many students who graduate
from these schools do not possess the expected knowledge and true
understanding of the culture from which this kind of music and
spirit stems. Therefore, they are unfortunately not sufficiently quali-
fied to present jazz as an artistic creation.
In addition to music and history, social, ethnological, psycho-
logical and all other important aspects should be thoroughly inves-
tigated in order to the preservation of jazz tradition, its spirit and
music philosophy. Young generations of musicians, and teachers as
their authorities, should fight for education that affects the forma-
tion of a more complete personality of musicians, the artists who
possesses a comprehensive view, understanding of essence but also
awareness of how the forgetting of aspects that contribute to the cul-
ture’s authenticity, spirit and beauty, sink the whole culture and its
tradition into oblivion.
_________________________
1)Rodney, Walter, “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”, 1973, p.53
2)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negermusik

Music
28. 12. 2018
Vedrana Subotić

Biography

Over the course of her vibrant and multi-faceted musical career,
pianist Vedrana Subotic has distinguished herself as an internation-
ally acclaimed concert artist, pedagogue, chamber musician, concert
producer, and administrator. Her 2018 schedule numbers 60 profes-
sional engagements in North and South Americas, Europe, and Asia.
Subotic’s concert repertoire features more than 500 works in the solo,
chamber, and concerto genres, including the 32 piano sonatas, com-
plete violin, cello, and French horn sonatas, and the complete piano
trios (60 works all together) by Beethoven.
Subotic, a Steinway Artist since 2003, is an award-winning As-
sociate Professor-Lecturer of Music at the University of Utah, and
a Visiting Professor of Piano at the University of Chile. She serves
as the newly appointed President of the World Piano Teachers As-
sociation USA, Executive Director of the USA Chapter Conference,
and as the Music Director (2002-present) of INTERMEZZO, a highly
esteemed concert series based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Subotic is also
the founding member of the Intermezzo Piano Trio.
An active soloist and chamber musician, Subotic has been lauded
by critics and audiences for her “fierce playing,” and “impressive
chops” (Salt Lake Tribune), and her “nuanced and expressive playing,
beautifully phrased lines, and a wonderfully light touch.” (Deseret
News). The recent review in Artists of Utah described her perform-
ance of Schubert piano trio (E-flat) as “one of the most intuitive-
ly verdant and emotionally draining performance of any of Franz
Schubert’s compositions that I have ever heard, live or on a record-
ing… truly astonishing.”
Subotic’s musical career began precociously at age nine, when
her performance of Debussy’s “Childrens’ Corner” aired on national
television in her native country, the former Yugoslavia, as part of the
series on emerging musical prodigies. Her training at the National
Music Conservatory “Josip Slavenski” was consequently intensified
and accelerated. At age fifteen, she was admitted to the University
of Belgrade Music Academy (FMU) as the youngest candidate ever
accepted. After winning the first prize in Yugoslavia’s National Piano
Competition at age nineteen, she moved to the United States, to
study with Ralph Votapek, the Gold Medalist of the first Van Cliburn
International Piano Competition, and later with MenahemPressler,
the founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio.
Subotic performs in at least thirty concerts a year in the Amer-
icas, Asia, and Europe, combining concerto appearances, solo re-
citals, chamber music collaborations, and orchestral performances.
Recent concerts include performances of concertos by Brahms
(No.2), Beethoven (No.4 and No.5), Chopin (No.1 and No.2), Prokof-
iev (No.3), and Berg (Chamber Concerto); concert tours in Russia,
China, Chile, Israel, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Croatia, and Puerto
Rico. Subotic has performed in such distinguished venues as Bolshoi
Theater’s Beethoven Hall in Moscow (Russia), Elena Obrazova Hall
in St. Petersburg (Russia), Martinu Hall in Prague (Czech Repub-
lic), Kolarac Hall in Belgrade (Serbia), Woolsey Hall and Morse Re-
cital Hall in New Haven, CT (USA), Chicago Symphony Hall (USA),
Steinway Hall and Paul Recital Hall in NYC (USA), Chautauqua
Amphitheater in NY (USA), Abravanel Hall and the Tabernacle in
Salt Lake City (USA), Targ Hall in Tel Aviv (Israel), Doge’s Palace in
Dubrovnik (Croatia), and the Purcell Room in London’s Southbank
Center for the Performing Arts (UK).
Subotic has played chamber music with distinguished musicians
such as Joseph Silverstein, and members of the Muir Quartet. As a
soloist and orchestra member, Subotic has worked with conductors
Pavel Kogan, Joseph Silverstein, Matthias Bamert, Hugh Wolff, Jan
Merkel, Thierry Fischer, Keith Lockhart, and Jean-Claude Casadesus,
among others.
At the University of Utah, Dr. Subotic teaches piano students in
the Bachelor, Masters, and Doctoral programs and oversees degree
recitals, Masters Thesis, and Doctoral Dissertations. She has taught
courses in undergraduate and graduate piano literature, piano peda-
gogy, accompanying, and chamber music. At the University of Chile,
Dr. Subotic teaches students in the Conservatory, undergraduate and
graduate piano program, and oversees degree recitals and Masters
Thesis.
Since 2009, Dr. Subotic has been teaching a highly successful
course in professional Career Development, for which she received
the Faculty Recognition Award from the University of Utah. She has
received fourteen grants from the University Teaching Committee,
the Dee Council, and the Fine Arts and Fees committee since her fac-
ulty appointment in 2008. Dr. Subotic created the Guest Artist Piano
Masterclasses Series for piano performance majors, in collaboration
with the Utah Symphony and the Gina Bachauer Foundation. She is
the Director of the Teacher Development Seminars (2015-present), a
collaboration with the Preparatory Piano program, and chief produ-
cer of the live-streaming faculty concert series Live@Libby.
Dr. Subotic has distinguished herself as a teacher who mentors
award-winning performers and scholars. Her University of Utah
college students have won numerous competitions, performed as
soloists and chamber musicians in Carnegie Hall, and have been ac-
cepted and awarded scholarships to prestigious international piano
programs at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg, the Royal Col-
lege of Music in London, the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana Uni-
versity, Yale University, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music,
the University of Michigan, Piano Texas International Academy and
Festival (in collaboration with the Van Cliburn Competition), and
the Interharmony International Music Festival. Her DMA students
have produced dissertations on subjects ranging from cataloguing
piano works by Manuel Ponce and works dedicated to exploration
of extended piano techniques for pedagogical purposes, to the influ-
ence of religious and folk music of former Yugoslavia on the emer-
gence of its pianistic style.
In 2014, Subotic began the unparalleled project of performing
the complete solo sonatas, duo sonatas, and piano trios by Beethoven
− 60 works total. She has since presented the Beethoven programs,
lectures, and master classes in national and international venues, at
the Sichuan Conservatory (China), Tel Aviv University (Israel), the
Jerusalem Academy of Music (Israel), Unbound Chamber Music
Festival (CA, USA), the InterHarmony International Music Festival
(Italy), World Piano Conference (Serbia), the Mistral Concert Series
in Santiago (Chile), University of Santiago (Chile), the Prague Acad-
emy of Music (Czech Republic), the Midsummer Piano Festival in
Prague, (Czech Republic), the Turgenev Memorial Library in Moscow
(Russia), and at Ohio State University (USA). Upcoming engage-
ments in 2018 include concerts and masterclasses in the US, Canada,
Russia, China, Italy, Brazil, Chile, and France.
Dr. Subotic received a Bachelor of Music degree from Belgrade Uni-
versity at age nineteen. As a full-scholarship student, she has earned a
Master of Music from Michigan State University, and an Artist Dip-
loma and Doctor of Music from Indiana University. Her Doctoral
dissertation explores the cultural and compositional connections be-
tween Claude Debussy’s and Toru Takemitsu’s piano works.
Her teachers were pianists Menahem Pressler, Ralph Votapek,
Evelyne Brancart, Arbo Valdma, Leonard Hokanson, Peter Frankl,
Gyorgy Sebok, and Byron Janis, and distinguished professors, cellist
Janos Starker and violinist Josef Gingold.

Selected by Marija Anđić
Edited by Nikol Marković

Рубрике

ДОНАЦИЈЕ

Претплатите се и дарујте независни часописи Људи говоре, да бисмо трајали заједно

даље

Људи говоре је српски загранични часопис за књижевност и културу који излази у Торонту од 2008.године. Поред књижевности и уметности, бави се свим областима које чине културу српског народа.

У часопису је петнаестак рубрика и свака почиње са по једном репродукцијом слика уметника о коме се пише у том броју. Излази 4 пута годишње на 150 страна, а некада и као двоброј на 300 страна.

Циљ му је да повеже српске писце и читаоце ма где они живели. Његова основна уређивачка начела су: естетско, етичко и духовно јединство.

Уредништво

Мило Ломпар
главни и одговорни уредник
(Београд, Србија)

Владимир Димитријевић
оперативни уредник за матичне земље
(Чачак, Србија)

Радомир Батуран
оперативни уредник за дијаспору
(Торонто, Канада)

Александар Петровић
уредник за културу
(Београд, Србија)

Жељко Продановић
уредник за поезију
(Окланд, Нови Зеланд)

 

Небојша Радић
уредник за језик и писмо
(Кембриџ, Енглеска)

Жељко Родић
уредник за уметност
(Оквил, Канада)

Никол Марковић
уредник енглеске секције и секретар Уредништва
(Торонто, Канада)

Џонатан Лок Харт
уредник енглеске секције
(Торонто, Канада)

Лектори

Душица Ивановић
Торонто

Сања Крстоношић
Торонто

Александра Крстовић
Торонто

Графички дизајн

Антоније Батуран
Лондон

Технички уредник

Радмило Вишњевац
Торонто

Издавач

Часопис "Људи говоре"
The Journal "People Say"

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