Friday, November 20, 2009

The Beast to give music ed seminars at Triangle schools.

I'm copying this verbatim from a press release I just got from Pierce Freelon of The Beast. I wish they'd had cool events like this when I was in school!


The Beast will deliver jazz education workshops at Durham School of the Arts and Chapel Hill High School this semester.

Durham, NC – Local hip-hop/jazz quartet The Beast will be delivering music education workshops for the jazz ensemble and jazz artistry students of Durham School of the Arts on Tuesday November 24th. Three weeks later, The Beast will work with over fifty 10th through 12th graders in Chapel Hill High School's symphonic band on Tuesday, December 15th. Both workshops are a collaboration between The Beast and the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra (NCJRO) and are sponsored by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. 

In 2009 the NCJRO received a grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation to further educate high school students about jazz music. The Beast was chosen by the NCJRO to design and facilitate several educational workshops because of their extensive experience as performers and educators. As the former director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz' 
Bebop to Hip-Hop program, Beast emcee Pierce Freelon has lectured internationally on the relationships between jazz and rap. As a quartet The Beast has conducted hip-hop and jazz based workshops in New York, DC and Atlanta but never in their home town of Durham, North Carolina. The upcoming workshops at Durham School of the Arts and Chapel Hill High School provide The Beast with their first opportunity to connect with the Triangle's young jazz musicians. 

The relationship between The Beast and the NCJRO goes back to the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC pianist Eric Hirsh, bass player Pete Kimosh and drummer Stephen Coffman earned their music degrees under Professor James Ketch, the director of Jazz Studies. Ketch, who is also the president of the NCJRO helped facilitate The Beast's inaugural series of local workshops.

About The Beast
Equally comfortable in the worlds of hip-hop and jazz, The Beast developed its distinct sound on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill. While pianist Eric Hirsh, drummer Stephen Coffman and bassist Pete Kimosh were earning their music degrees, emcee Pierce Freelon was developing the foundation for his intelligent lyricism in the Department of African American Studies (where he currently teaches a course called, Blacks and Popular Culture). After graduating, the quartet joined forces in 2007 and quickly distinguished themselves as a pioneering force in the Triangle music scene through their high energy live show and exceptional compositions. "Built on the backs of three accomplished jazz kids who handle piano keys, drum sticks and bass strings like extensions of their own limbs, The Beast offers a dazzling springborad of beats, textures and solos for Pierce Freelon's positive but pragmatic verse" (Grayson Currin, Independent Weekly). The Beast released their debut album, Silence Fiction in October of 2009. Catch The Beast performing live at Tir Na Nog Irish Pub in Raleigh on December 3rd (9pm) and at Broad St. Cafe in Durham with Hammer no More the Fingers on December 31st (10pm).

For more information/interviews/inquires, please contact - Pierce Freelon: (919) 697-7728 -

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