Ed Sarath is Professor of Music and Director of the Department in Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at The University of Michigan School of Music. He divides his time between performing, composing, teaching and writing about the aesthetic, cognitive and transpersonal aspects of the creative process, and designing corresponding educational models.
Recent projects he has spearheaded at Michigan (see Educational Initiatives) include the ground-breaking BFA in Jazz and Contemplative Studies curriculum, which includes meditation and related studies in addition to jazz training, and the Faculty Network for Creativity and Consciousness Studies, which brings faculty together from all fields to probe the transpersonal core of the creative process. He has also designed an improvisation-based alternative to basic musicianship training (music theory, aural skills, rhythmic training, keyboard, diverse musical influences, etc.) which has been in place at Michigan since 1994, and he leads the Creative Arts Orchestra, a 20-plus member improvising ensemble which is one of the few ensembles of its size in the world which performs entirely improvised concerts.
Ed Saraths most recent CD release is Timescape, featuring his new 9-member ensemble of the same name. Karl Berger, pioneer in contemporary improvised music is guest soloist on the disc. Saraths previous CD release, Last Day in May, (Konnex Records- Berlin), features himself on flugelhorn, along with internationally-acclaimed artists Dave Liebman, Mick Goodrick, Harvie Swartz and Marvin "Smitty" Smith; the disc was called by Cadence magazine "a prime example of the best the genre has to offer". Jazz Times called Sarath's prior recording, Voice of the Wind (Owl Records- Paris) " a strong, varied program, brimming with intriguing formal propositions. . . Ed Sarath is a find". Fifth Fall, by the Iowa City Jazz Orchestra,which Sarath formerly directed, features five of his compositions for large jazz ensemble.
Ed Sarath has received fellowship grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in both jazz composition and performance, (including one of seven jazz composition grants issued nationally in 1987), and from the American Council of Learned Societies to design a course entitled "Creativity and Consciousness". His writings on the cognitive and aesthetic aspects of improvised music appear appear in the Journal of Music Theory, International Journal for Music Education, Jazz Research Papers, Jazz Educators Journal and Jazz Changes. He has performed at the Montreux, London, North Sea, Antibes, Orleans, Le Mans, Jyvaskyla (Finland) and Montreux-Detroit jazz festivals. He performs regularly with the French-based ensemble, Cache Cache, winners of the 1992 Radio France Jazz Competition and has performed and presented master classes throughout the U.S., Europe, and in Brazil. Schools at which he has appeared include the Eastman School of Music, the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Paris Conservatory, the Tatui Conservatory in Brazil, University of Colorado, University of North Carolina. He performs with the Brazilian ensemble, Interchanges, featuring Rui Carvalho, and Celio Barros; British composer Graham Collier and his London-based Jazz Ensemble; Dutch saxophonist Willem Helbreker, sound-painter Walter Thompsons multi-media orchestra in New York City, and John Wubbenhorsts Facing East, which features South Indian kanjira player, Ganesh Komar.
Recent compositions include Rites of Passage, commissioned by the WDR jazz orchestra and premiered in Cologne, Germany in April 1998. Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva for choir, string orchestra and improvisers, was premiered in the U.S. in the fall of 1998, and is scheduled to be performed in Brazil. Aquarium, for 8 piece ensemble, to accompany 22 dancers, was commissioned by choreographer Evelyn Velez-Aguayo, and was premiered in the U.S. in February, 1999.
Ed Sarath is
currently working on two books: A
Philosophy of Jazz Education: Creativity, Consciousness and the Contemporary
Musical Landscape, and Creative
Musicianship: An Improvisation-based, Multistylistic Approach to Music Theory
and Aural Skills. He serves on the Board of Directors and also
serves as U.S. coordinator of the International Association of Schools of
Jazz, for whose journal, Jazz Changes, he writes a regular column