This Studio Visit features with Maria Grand about her process putting together her piece Revés/Rêves: Dreams of a Departed Maestra.
On May 1st 2018, composer and saxophonist María Grand premieres her Roulette Jerome commissioned piece: Revés/Rêves: Dreams of a Departed Maestra—a tribute to her mentor, dancer Noemí Lapzeson—along with the release of her album “Magdalena,” a work exploring modern family relationships through the lens of Egyptian and early Christian myths.
The inspiration for Revés/Rêves: Dreams of a Departed Maestra comes from Combines, a solo dance piece Noemí performed alongside dancer Celeste Dandekar in 1972. The two solo performances were projected in split screens from each other; the piece will refer to that by using a split stage and playing around the notions of creating with and against each other. Noemí’s intimate knowledge of movement shaped María’s understanding of art; now with her legacy in mind, this piece explodes the notion of what music is to include movement as an instrument and use our placement on stage to create intentional spaces of sonic expression. María once sent Noemí a postcard of New York City – magic happened, and the postcard sent pictured a place where Noemí had lived, unbeknownst to María. It’s this telepathic connection in art that the piece celebrates.
María Grand was born in Switzerland in 1992, to a Swiss mother and an Argentinian father. Since her move to New York in 2011, she has become an important member of the city’s creative music scene, performing extensively in projects with musicians such as Vijay Iyer, Craig Taborn, Jen Shyu, Steve Lehman, Aaron Parks, Marcus Gilmore, Jonathan Finlayson, Miles Okazaki, etc. Her debut EP “TetraWind” was picked as “one of the 2017’s best debuts” by the NYC Jazz Record. The New York Times says “on TetraWind, Ms Grand unfurls a teetering logic. [..] She is both measured and frank, often venturing into gentle provocation”. María is a recipient of the 2017 Jazz Gallery Residency Commission and the 2018 Roulette Jerome Foundation Commission. She can be heard on Steve Coleman’s albums “Morphogenesis” and “Synovial Joints”. She was deemed a “revelation” by Jazz Magazine in 2016; AllAboutJazz said of her saxophone playing that it is “full of passion and sophisticated phrases and turns”, while the NYC Jazz Record says “Grand’s aching saxophone has the richness of the great breathy tenors of jazz history—Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Gene Ammons.” Vijay Iyer recently picked her as one of 5 musicians to watch for in 2018 in an article published on sfjazz.org – he said of her that she is “a fantastic young saxophonist, virtuosic, conceptually daring, with a lush tone, a powerful vision, and a deepening emotional resonance, María is poised to move this music forward with grace, strength, and passion.” María has performed across genres, appearing with mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran in her Breaking Ice piece premiered at Prototype Festival in NYC and MassMoca; she is a member of the Doug Hammond quintet, as well as with RAJAS, an ensemble led by Carnatic musician Raj- na Swaminathan, and Ouroboros, led by Grammy Award winner alto saxophonist Román Filiú,. She has toured Europe, the United States, and South America, playing in venues and festivals such as the Village Vanguard in NYC, La Villette Jazz Festival in Paris, Saafelden Jazz Festival in Austria, Millennium Park in Chicago, the Blue Whale in LA, IloJazz in Guadeloupe (FR), and many others.