Paul Winter’s 20th Annual Summer Solstice Celebration, June 20, 2015, 4.30am
The Grammy®-winning Paul Winter Consort, with special guest, Navajo singer Radmilla Cody, will celebrate the dawning of the summer during the 20th annual Summer Solstice concert on Saturday, June 20, at 4:30 AM at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine located at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street, Manhattan. This year’s event intends to affirm and honor the rights of the traditional peoples of the 11 tribes who live in Grand Canyon country, and to raise awareness about the serious threats being faced there, including a proposed mega resort, the Escalade, on the East Rim, with a tramway in the Canyon; proposed expansion of groundwater pumping; and radioactive pollution from uranium mining.
Delores Wilson-Aguirre and Wilson O. Wilson, Navajo representatives from the “Save the Confluence” campaign are coming from Arizona to the event to raise public awareness about their efforts to stop a the Escalade project.
The Consort will premiere new music inspired by the Grand Canyon, Paul Winter’s place of pilgrimage for many years, and by the canyon-esque space of the Cathedral, which he has long regarded as “Grand Canyon East.” Beginning in the pre-dawn darkness in the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, the musicians will surround the audience and play as the morning sun gradually illuminates the stained-glass windows of the Cathedral.
Consort musicians will include Eugene Friesen, cello; Paul McCandless, oboe, English horn and bass clarinet; John Clark, French horn; Ray Nagem on the Cathedral’s giant Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ; Matt Kilmer and Keita Ogawa, percussion.
The audience is invited to a tea and coffee reception following the concert.
General admission tickets are available for $40. Purchase tickets here.
Consort musicians at Summer Solstice:
Eugene Friesen has been cellist with the Paul Winter Consort for 35 years, where his passion for the responsive flow of improvisatory music has been featured in concerts all over the world. A graduate of the Yale School of Music where he studied with Brazilian cellist Aldo Parisot, Eugene has also worked and recorded with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Will Ackerman, Joe Lovano and Dream Theater. He teaches in Boston on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music and conducts the Berklee String Orchestra. A composer and arranger, he has created a repertoire of work for strings utilizing his love for improvisation and rhythm in contemporary, jazz and world fiddle styles.
A gifted multi-instrumentalist and composer Paul McCandless has been integral to the ensemble sound of two seminal world music bands, the Paul Winter Consort and Oregon. He is credited with more than 150 albums, and has performed with such musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Mark Isham, Steve Reich, Al Jarreau, Bruce Hornsby, Victor Wooten, Fred Simon, Michael Manring, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, and The String Cheese Incident.
Horn player, arranger, and composer, John Clark has performed around the world in a variety of musical arenas: from jazz and pop to classical. His collaborators include Gil Evans, Miles Davis, Joe Lovano, Jaco Pastorius, Hank Jones, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, P. “Diddy” Combs, Sting, Leonard Bernstein, the Boston Symphony, the Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Leroy Jenkins, Gerry Mulligan, Paquito d’Rivera, Natalie Cole, and Luther Vandross.
Raymond Nagem is Associate Organist at the Cathedral and C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the Julliard School.
Protect the Grand Canyon – “Save the Confluence“
The Grand Canyon is under siege on many fronts. Threats include a proposed multi-million dollar super-mall and tramway in the Canyon; proposed expansion of groundwater pumping; and radioactive pollution from uranium mining that could create a hazardous situation for the Navajo community that has been living on this land for generations. This year’s Summer Solstice event intends to affirm and honor the rights of the traditional peoples of the 11 tribes who live in Grand Canyon country, and to raise awareness about these serious threats. “KEEP THE CANYON GRAND” is the rallying cry of activists and traditional families who are responding to these challenges.
Tea and Coffee Reception
Following the performance, the audience is invited to a reception in the Nave of the Cathedral. We are grateful to our friends from the Shumei organization for hosting this reception for the fifth consecutive year. Shumei grows tea and coffee at their center in Japan, using their method of “natural agriculture,” which is based on a deep respect for nature. Shumei works around the world to build cooperation between peoples of different cultures. Shumei’s commitment to the arts led to the creation of the Miho Museum, designed by I.M. Pei, near Kyoto, Japan. Our album, Miho: Journey to the Mountain, celebrates this magnificent museum. Locally, Shumei runs the Catskills Mountain Foundation Farm, in Hunter, in the Hudson Valley; and a New York Center at 165 Elizabeth Street, 2nd Floor; New York,NY, 10012, USA; (347) 487-3869.shumei-na.org
Summer Solstice Tradition
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. Traditionally, people have paused at this time to reflect upon the journey of life.
The word solstice comes from Latin sol (sun) and stitium (to stand still). The winter solstice is when the Sun reaches it southernmost point from the equator and seems to pause before reversing its course; at summer solstice the Sun attains its northernmost point and, once again, seems to stand still before turning back.
It was believed that at the moment of solstice, time, flowing in a circle, stopped, before ends of the year were joined. These two great celestial milestones of the year, are perhaps humanity’s most ancient ritual observances.
For living music, Paul Winter
Summer Solstice Recollections
It’s always been difficult to describe Summer Solstice to someone who’s never attended. So recently we asked audience members who experienced the concert over the last two years to share their “summer solstice recollections.”
They said it better than we ever could:
“I’ve attended both the winter and summer solstice celebrations. I love both, but the summer solstice seems to resonate at a deeper level. The quiet darkness and smaller audience allows you to be more in tune with the music. You feel it throughout your whole body.”
“As my daughter and I found our seats among the hushed listeners, we felt the special peacefulness of the moment and the restorative calm of the dark morning hour. … As dawn approached the music changed with it. My daughter touched my shoulder to turn and see the stained-glass images that began to softly gather the early morning light.”
“From the first single note emerging from the darkness, all my senses are engaged.”
“It was not about seeing. It was about pure sound, the dawn of a new day.”
“I felt myself transported back to our earliest ancestors and their awe as the sun lined up to their sacred solstice markers.”