About the Show
Nicole Mitchell: Maroon Cloud
with Aruan Ortiz (piano), Fay Victor (vocals), Tomeka Reid (cello), Nicole Mitchell (flutes, composition, electronics)
“That warm dark realness was a doorway between worlds and she visited often. This is where all sound, dreams, and ideas lived. A cloudy dark purple space where forms emerged from formlessness, some familiar, some new. In this space of memory, of future, she found an alignment between those that are remembered and those that are forgotten. They would appear and dissolve into patterns and sometimes plants or caverns. This new awareness, this realm of making, dark maroon cloud, it’s a hidden choice that we all have, but it’s been so lied about and covered up with opaque abuses and accusations. It’s hard to find. In truth, it’s a birthright to our species, perhaps the most important one. A gift directly from the blue marble that we all depend on. And now, like sight, the vision behind one’s closed eyes to the maroon clouds of otherness is a mine of our mind where we can excavate new designs of sound, paper, ink, words, and no one can stop us.” — Nicole M. Mitchell from “What Was Feared Lost”
About the Artist
Nicole Mitchell is an award-winning creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. Having emerged from Chicago’s innovative music scene in the late 90s, Mitchell’s music celebrates contemporary African American culture. She is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Sonic Projections and Ice Crystal, and she composes for contemporary ensembles of varied instrumentation and size, while incorporating improvisation and a wide aesthetic expression. The former first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Mitchell celebrates endless possibility by “creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar with the unknown.” As a flutist, she has developed her own unique improvisational language and has been repeatedly awarded “Top Flutist of the Year” by Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association (2010-2016). Her newest work with Black Earth Ensemble explores intercultural collaborations — Bamako*Chicago with Ballake Sissoko (kora) and Mandorla Awakening with Kojiro Umezaki and Tatsu Aoki. Another recent interest is multidisciplinary work, where Mitchell incorporates original video art with her music (Mandorla Awakening I and II, Interdimensional Interplay for Solo Disklavier and Prerecorded Flute). Mitchell has performed with creative music luminaries including Craig Taborn, Roscoe Mitchell, Joelle Leandre, Anthony Braxton, Geri Allen, James Newton, George Lewis, Mark Dresser, Steve Coleman, Anthony Davis, Myra Melford, Bill Dixon, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ed Wilkerson, David Boykin, Rob Mazurek, and Hamid Drake. Ms. Mitchell is a recipient of the Herb Alpert Award (2011), the Chicago 3Arts Award (2011) and the Doris Duke Artist Award (2012). As a composer, she has been commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the Stone, the French American Jazz Exchange, Chamber Music America, the Chicago Jazz Festival, ICE, and the Chicago Sinfonietta. She is a Professor of Music at University of California, Irvine.