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Composer Dave Burrell's Civilians During War Time Premieres at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Jan. 18 & 21
(Published: December 29, 2011)

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2 - 3:30 p.m. and 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Rosenbach Museum & Library, 2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia

Free with museum admission, but RSVP is required. To RSVP, call (215) 732-1600, ext. 123 or email rsvp@rosenbach.org. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students and free for children under 5. For more information visit www.rosenbach.org.

The Rosenbach Museum & Library welcomes the return of celebrated jazz pianist and Rosenbach Musician-in-Residence Dave Burrell for the world premiere of Civilians During War Time. The series of six new compositions was inspired by Burrell's research into the lives of those experiencing the Civil War. Performances at the Rosenbach on Jan. 18 and 21 will feature Burrell on piano with accompaniment by accomplished Philadelphia-based violinist Odessa Balan.

Burrell dug deep into the Rosenbach's archive of Civil War materials to find inspiration for these bold new compositions that give voice to the thoughts and feelings of mothers, brothers, civilian spies and runaway slaves all living in the war but rarely seeing the battlefield. The pieces deliver a complementary perspective to Burrell's 2011 work, Portraits of Civil War Heroes.

"This year it gets even more personal I think, because we have the civilian that you would think would never, ever see war," says Burrell. "My research of writings on the Civil War fuels my current residency as a composer with knowledge that brings significant ideas to mind. The process of choosing the appropriate data is increasingly stimulating as I delve deeper into the Civil War's heart and soul."

Burrell's draft of the composition "Code Name: Cheap Shot" along with video of a recent performance are on display in the Inquiring Minds: Rosenbach Researchers Report Back exhibition, ongoing through March 25, 2012. Some of the documents that inspired his compositions include letters from Ulysses S. Grant to his father, several portraits and an 1861 letter by 19-year-old Carrie Spafford to her friends, informing them of the death of her fiancée in battle. These and other historical materials can be seen on the Rosenbach's five-year blog project Today in the Civil War, which presents the unfolding saga of the war online at www.rosenbach.org/civilwar.

The performances are made possible by a grant from the Helen Keeler Burke Charitable Foundation.

About the Artist

A performing artist of singular stature on the international contemporary music scene, Dave Burrell's dynamic compositions, with blues and gospel roots, recall the tradition of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson and Duke Ellington, as well as avant garde composers Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. Since the mid-1960s, Burrell has performed on over 115 recordings, 30 under his own name, in his over 30-year career. Burrell joined the prestigious Steinway Artist Roster in 2000 and has been hailed as a "living treasure" by The Village Voice and a "veteran pianist" who personifies "the best of neoclassicism-uncompromising individuality and in-the-moment gusto" by The New Yorker.

Burrell's recent releases include Dave Burrell Plays His Songs Featuring Leena Conquest (RAI Trade), Momentum (High Two Records) and Consequences (Amulet Records). His 2004 album Expansion (with bassist William Parker and drummer Andrew Cyrille) was critically acclaimed by NPR, Down Beat, Village Voice, Jazz Times and many others.

Since 1998, the Rosenbach Museum & Library has commissioned artists to bring its collections to life in unexpected ways and through a variety of projects. As Musician-in-Residence, Burrell's previous work with the Rosenbach includes: Western Extension of the United States, a look at the Rosenbach's collections related to the Oregon Territory; Bill of Sale for a Slave, inspired by the museum's African American collections; and Syllables of the Poetry of Marianne Moore, a series of compositions inspired by Modernist American poet and writer Marianne Moore.

About the Rosenbach

The Rosenbach Museum & Library seeks to inspire curiosity, inquiry and creativity by engaging broad audiences in exhibitions, programs and research based on its remarkable and expanding collections. The museum was founded by legendary book dealer A.S.W. Rosenbach and his brother and business partner Philip. With an outstanding collection of rare books, manuscripts, furniture and art, the Rosenbach is a museum and world-renowned research library, set within two historic 1865 townhouses, that reflects an age when great collectors lived among their treasures. The Rosenbach Museum & Library is located at 2008-2010 Delancey Place in Philadelphia and is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students and free for children under 5.

More Information: http://www.rosenbach.org/learn/events/civilians-during-war-time

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