Thelonious Monk: Modernist Pioneer

11 Oct 2017

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British Library

London, United Kingdom


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  • Tube: Kings Cross, St. Pancras, Euston

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Commemoration of the centenary of the birth of jazz composer Thelonious Monk. Culture&, in association with the British Library, curates an evening of live performance with an illustrated lecture featuring pianist Peter Edwards, vocalist Filomena Campus and compèred by Errol Francis.


To commemorate the centenary of the birth of iconic jazz composer and pianist Thelonious Monk, Culture&, in association with the British Library, presents a specially curated evening of live performance and an illustrated lecture featuring Peter Edwards on solo piano, vocalist and theatre director Filomena Campus, author and political activist Candace Allen and Artistic Director Errol Francis.

Epitomizing artistic originality, candid eccentricity and indifference to conventional rules of performance, Thelonious Monk emerged in the 1940s to become one of the high priests of bebop. Regarded as one of the most enigmatic and unusual jazz composers, Monk, whose unique improvisational style, with rigorously structured and surreal themes, created some of the most innovative and unsentimentally beautiful music in the history of jazz. The composer influenced musicians as diverse as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Chick Corea and Steve Lacy.

With Peter Edwards, pianist for the late trumpeter Abram Wilson and described by The Guardian as a ‘rising piano star’ on solo piano and award-winning Filomena Campus on vocals, Thelonious Monk: Modernist Pioneer will be Culture&’s second new music project of 2017 featuring contemporary composers in new dynamic configurations.

Peter Edwards will surprise us by playing a set of keyboard improvisations on Monk’s most famous compositions including ‘Round Midnight’, ‘Epistrophy’, and ‘Misterioso’. The pianist will be joined by vocalist Filomena Campus who will add to Monk’s wordless compositions with a mixture of scat, speech and gesture to bring a new dimension to classic tunes.

Discussion will include analysis, prose poetry and biographical commentary interspersed with interviews and conversations with panelists led by Artistic Director of Culture&, Errol Francis. The evening will also provide a chance to view rarely seen footage of Monk from The British Library collection.

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