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CMS Improvisers Orchestra Led By Karl Berger

The Creative Music Studio™ Improvisers Orchestra, conducted by Karl Berger, will commence its fall season on Saturday, September 30 at the El Taller Cultural Community Center at 215, East 99th Street in Manhattan. This performance features multi-instrumentalist and CMS™ associate artistic director Peter Apfelbaum, cornetist Graham Haynes, violin/viola virtuoso Jason Hwang, percussion wizard Warren Smith, and vocalist/poet Ingrid Sertso. The performance begins at 8:30 with a rehearsal open to ticket holders at 7:00 when listeners gain insights into the unique process that guides the CIO.  Tickets are $20 ($15 students).

In this performance, the CMS Improvisers Orchestra will play themes composed by Don Cherry, including “Om Nu,” “Remembrance” and “Thomas Mapfumo” inspired by the great Zimbabwean musician, as well as Jim Pepper’s “Witchi Tai To.” Cherry was and remains instrumental in the creation of CMS. The New York State Council on the Arts and the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation are generously underwriting this performance.

Since its inception in 2011, the CMS Improvisers Orchestra, comprised of 20 or more string, horn, reed, and percussion soloists, has performed nearly 90 times.  Conducted in Karl’s inimitable style developed over decades at the legendary Creative Music Studio™, the CMS™ Improvisers Orchestra explores Berger’s original compositions as well as melodies from the world’s folk traditions and themes by visionary composers such as Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman, creating a platform for musical ideas to arise spontaneously among the orchestra’s musicians. Karl’s conducting blends and harmonizes improvised sounds and rhythms in constantly shifting instrumentations and dynamics.  One of the orchestra’s trademarks is Ingrid Sertso’s unique vocalizations and poetry.

Additional artists in the CIO include: Jason Hwang, Leonor Falcon, Annemarie Wiesner, strings, Ras Moshe, flute and tenor sax; Sylvain Leroux, fula flutes; Haruna Fukazawa, Bill Horberg, flutes; Gene Coleman, alto flute, Nick Gianni, bass flute, Don Payne, clarinet; Christoph Knoche, bass clarinet; Richard Keene, oboe; Jason Candler, soprano sax; Welf Doerr, Patrick Brennan, alto sax; Bill Ylitalo, baritone sax; Westwood Johnson, trombones; Kenny Wessel, Ted Orr, guitars; Warren Smith, drums, Nicolas Letman, bass percussion; and surprise guests.

CIO will also perform at El Taller on Saturday, October 29 and again on December 8, in a performance showcasing its collaboration with the Chinese pipa virtuoso and composer, Min Xiao Fen. The CIO will perform with the Soldier/Kane Duo on November 25.

The CMS Improvisers Orchestra has received numerous critical reviews. In a glowing review, the Wall Street Journal said the orchestra’s sound “draws on lush harmonies and a well-defined relationship between foreground soloists and background.”  The arts blog Lucid Culture remarked that “the camaraderie and warmth of the repartee between the orchestra and conductor – and among the orchestra itself – was visceral,” and acclaimed jazz critic Howard Mandel wrote that the orchestra “can expand on simple themes paying utmost attention to dynamics and each other through ‘intuited communication.”