The Carr Center Arts Academy
Professional Development

Detroit… the city where music never sleeps… has always played a pivotal role in the creation, foundation and continued development of that singular, life affirming American musical legacy simply known as … Jazz!

Since its inception the legacy of Jazz has been transmitted across generations of  musicians through mentors, seasoned veterans taking  the “up and comers” under their wings , giving them an opportunity to learn and play together while creating new work and advancing the art form. The Carr Center, following the vision of our former Artistic Director the late, great  jazz artist, Geri Allen, formalized and institutionalized this tradition and The Gathering Orchestra, our Geri Allen Fellows, was born, in October 2017.

The Gathering Orchestra is a two-year fellowship program, under the artistic direction of renowned bassist Rodney Whitaker, former member of the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra, Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University and Carr Center Resident Artist. The Gathering is comprised of 4 seasoned jazz veterans and 14 emerging and highly talented young musicians,(ages 18 – 28). Fellows rehearse and perform with their mentors on standards, large ensemble classics, new music and their own original compositions. 

Like the rest of the world, the orchestra was sidelined by the COVID-19 Pandemic, however, a nonet of orchestra members was brought together by Rodney Whitaker, to complete a week long Detroit residency in May 2021 and to engage in a very exciting cultural exchange with the Uralskiy Dixieland Ensemble out of Chelyabinsk, Russia which culminated in a documentary film chronicling that amazing project.

The Gathering Orchestra Nonet most recently came back together for their fourth Detroit residency during May 2022. The week-long residency included full day rehearsals and intensive one-on-one work with the renowned pianist, composer, arranger and educator, Patrice Rushen.

The result was a stunning performance of  The Resonate Suite, a new work written by Ms. Rushen specifically for The Gathering Nonet. This new work was commissioned as part of a multi-year collaboration with 7 different institutions, each exploring the African Diaspora through the lens of contemporary American chamber music.
 
For more on Resonate click here