On Saturday morning, June 18th, at 4:30am, the Consort and I will be presenting our 21st annual Summer Solstice Celebration at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine [ buy tickets ]. The players will be Eugene Friesen, cello; Paul McCandless, English horn and oboe; Jeff Holmes, piano; Ray Nagem, pipe organ; myself on soprano sax; and multiple percussionists.
This event is our musical welcome to the summer. Summer Solstice is one of the great turning points of the year, when the sun is at its peak and the days abound with the promise of life’s fullness. My dream, with this sunrise celebration, is to offer an experience of this resonance, in the mystical ambience of these early morning hours, through a deep listening journey within the awesome space of this largest cathedral in the world. Our music begins in total darkness, and proceeds in a continuous flow, emanating from different places in the Cathedral. Gradually, as the great stained glass windows begin to illuminate, the light joins the sound to carry us into the first dawning of the summer. Purchase tickets.
A member of the Paul Winter Consort since 1978, cellist Eugene Friesen has won Grammy Awards™ for his role on 4 Consort albums. He is renowned for breaking new ground for the cello, using it in a wide variety of non-classical settings and creating new techniques to expand its role as a solo and accompanying instrument. As Celloman, he has introduced his instruments to thousands of young people. A composer for cello and also full orchestra, Friesen is a professor at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, His book, Improvisation for Classical Musicians was published by Berklee Press/Hal Leonard.
Grammy Award™-winning multi-instrumentalist and composer Paul McCandless specializes on the oboe, English horn, bass clarinet, soprano and sopranino saxophones, as well as a collection of folk flutes. Grounded in jazz and classical traditions, McCandless’ soaring lyricism has been integral to the ensemble sound of two seminal world music bands, the original Paul Winter Consort and the quartet, OREGON. Founding member of the band Oregon, He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Steve Reich, the String Cheese Incident and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow. His collaboration with Béla Fleck won him a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental.
Pianist Jeff Holmes Holmes earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music. Featured on the Jazz at Kennedy Center Series with the Billy Taylor Trio, Holmes also plays regularly with the Paul Winter Consort. He has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Bellson, Vanguard Orchestra (Thad Jones/Mel Lewis), Sheila Jordan, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis, Mel Torme, David Goloschokin, John Abercrombie, Slide Hampton and numerous NYC Broadway shows. He is Professor of Music and Director of Jazz & African-American Music Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Raymond Nagem, Associate Organist at the Cathedral and C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the Julliard School, is one of the leading organists of his generation. He performs on the St. John the Divine’s Great Organ, widely considered to be the masterpiece of American pipe organ building and an acclaimed national treasure. The Great Organ has 8,514 pipes and several extraordinary features, including the world famous State Trumpet above the Cathedral’s West End, one of the most powerful organ stops in the world.