Systemic Racism in the Arts Roundtable

How do we address systemic racism in the arts, specifically in music? Join a panel of artists, arts workers, and organizers to collectively address the matter and how we can move forward as individuals and organizations in dismantling white supremacy. This conversation, public brainstorm, and Q&A will be moderated by August Music Resident Amirtha Kidambi with panelists Shayna Dunkelman, Matana Roberts, Brice Rosenbloom, Rio Sakairi, and Luke Stewart.

Amirtha Kidambi is known for her improvisational vocabulary as a vocalist, utilizing experimental timbral techniques and infusing aesthetics and methodologies from Carnatic music, noise, rock, free jazz, and classical avant-gardes. Kidambi is drawn to the subversive, driven by social and political issues of inequity and injustice. She leads the vocal ensemble Lines of Light, is co-founder of a duo with Lea Bertucci, and is the bandleader of Elder Ones. She has received grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council, and has been Artist-in-Residence at Bucareli 69, Roulette, and EMPAC. She is also an educator working to decolonize academia, promoting racial and gender equity.

Shayna Dunkelman is a musician and percussionist based in Brooklyn, NY. Dunkelman is known for her versatile and unique techniques, and use of electronics to access a sonic pallet not found in acoustic percussion. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan to an Indonesian mother and an American father, Dunkelman became a multi-instrumentalist performing alongside her mother. In addition to solo performances, Dunkelman tours with Du Yun, Balún, Emily Wells, Peptalk, Ali Sethi, and her percussion duo Nomon with her sister Nava Dunkelman. Dunkelman has also performed with pioneers of avant-garde experimental musicians such as Yuka C. Honda, John Zorn, Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore, and Xiu Xiu.

Matana Roberts is an award winning American saxophonist, composer, and multidisciplinary artist. Her current body of work considers sonic abstraction thru narrativity, history, and political expression within improvisatory structures. Roberts is currently a guest fellow in music composition of the Berliner Kunstler Programm des DAAD this year representing the USA.

Le Poisson Rouge (LPR)’s Brice Rosenbloom helped curate an eclectic and culturally forward-thinking calendar from the venue’s inauguration and continues to defy any boundaries for an arts venue’s programming. Aside from his extraordinary work with LPR, Rosenbloom’s own music organization, BOOM Collective, programs concerts and festivals at various venues across New York City, including NYC Winter JazzFest, BRIC JazzFest, Undead Music Festival, The Town Hall, Celebrate Brooklyn, Littlefield, The Apollo Theater, and many more.

Rio Sakairi has singlehandedly influenced New York’s current jazz scene more than anyone I know,” proclaims jazz pianist and 2013 MacArthur “Genius” grant winner Vijay Iyer. As the Artistic Director and the Director of Programming at The Jazz Gallery since 2000, Rio Sakairi has helped to identify and nurture some of today’s most important jazz artists. By seeking out the next generation of creative jazz players and composers and by guiding and nourishing their artistic visions over the span of a decade, Rio has had a significant impact on the jazz scene in New York and beyond. Her focus and vision have been decisive in putting The Jazz Gallery on New York’s cultural map and gaining the worldwide recognition that the venue enjoys. In Iyer’s words, “Rio has helped launch the career of virtually every notable jazz artist under 40 that I can think of. Her tireless efforts have rejuvenated the music and galvanized the musical community.” Rio’s contributions were recognized in 2016, 2014, and 2010, when The Jazz Gallery received the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. Rio was also award the Jazz Hero Award from Jazz Journalist Association in 2016.

Luke Stewart is a force on the Washington DC scene not only as a performer (in Irreversible Entanglements, James Brandon Lewis Trio, Trio OOO, Ancestral Duo, and more) but also as a booker, promoter, radio DJ, and more. “Works for Upright Bass & Amplifier” is a long form piece Stewart composed using written & original improvised structures. He’s been performing various portions of the piece live at art exhibitions throughout 2017.

Please note, this online roundtable will begin promptly at the listed start time. In order to ensure the quality of the program for all participants, late entry will not be permitted. However, this conversation will be recorded and available upon request.