Philosophy of Improvisation Workshop

St. Mary's Church (Next to Sage Gateshead)

A one-day workshop consisting of talks and discussions that explore the thinking behind improvisation.

The event aims to challenge the received view that improvisation in musical performance is a kind of instant composition, with lower artistic status than composition. Alternative approaches to thinking about the topic will be presented, including those considering the aesthetic value of spontaneity and energised performance.

The workshop will explore the concept of an aesthetics of imperfection in which spontaneous process is valued over finished product. While this aesthetic is expressed most clearly in the work of improvising musicians, it’s also necessary for higher level creative performance while following a score. The concept thus deepens our capacity to understand and appreciate both improvised and composed music.

The workshop is aimed at performers, promoters, producers, researchers, teachers and jazz enthusiasts.

Participants include improvising musicians Louise Gibbs and Steve Beresford from the UK, Mike Baggetta and Kris Tiner from the US, writers Philip Clark and Andy Hamilton, as well as promoters and record producers.

The event is free, and you are welcome to join the workshop for either all or just part of the day. More workshop details can be found here.


11am – 11.20am: Introduction from Andy Hamilton
11.20am – 12noon: Louise Gibbs: “Capturing Clouds: Evaluating Art in Musical Improvisation”
12noon – 12.40pm: Donnchadh O’Conail: “Risk in Improvisation and in Comedy”


1.40pm – 2.20pm: Gargi Shinde: “Improvisation in Hindustani Music”
2.20pm – 3pm: Kris Tiner: “Exploding the Classical Ideal of Composition”


3.30pm – 4.10pm: Paul Edis: “Decisions, revisions, intention and integrity – a subjective understanding of composition and improvisation”
4.10pm – 5pm: Panel – Steve Beresford, Nick Southgate (plus selection of other contributors)

The workshop will continue for a second day at Durham University Music Department on Monday 18th April. Schedule for the Monday workshop is at!improvisation-workshop/dfijt
Please contact for details and to join.

Part of Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2016

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