Special Projects and Ensembles
New School Brazilian Music Ensembles
His numerous artist residencies in North America and Brazil have presented Brazilian music in all its facets:
• exposure to the rich diversity of repertoire, regional genres and their relationship and influence upon American jazz, popular and classical/chamber music traditions;
• hands-on ensembles with students implementing essential elements of instrumental, vocal performance practice;
• comprehensive historical perspective on the development of Brazilian guitar, both as a solo and accompanimental instrument.
• in-depth theoretical analyses and transcriptions of contemporary Brazilian composers including Hermeto Pascoal and Guinga.
• efficient methods for vocalists interested in singing Brazilian repertoire in Portuguese.
A frequent guest clinician and performer at educational and professional conferences including the former IAJE (Int'l Assoc. for Jazz Education, now JEN, Jazz Education Network) and CMA (Chamber Music America), Boukas spearheaded the first IAJE Resource Chair in Brazilian Music in 2001. His numerous articles in publications including Just Jazz Guitar and Acoustic Guitar gave overdue exposure to master guitarist-composers in the context of the various genres they championed.
Brazilian Choro Ensemble
Of all the diverse Brazilian genres Boukas has performed, conducted research, written about and taught, it is probably Choro, Brazil's unique popular form of virtuoso instrumental music, which has engaged his energies most intensively. An offshoot of the New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble, in 2008 he founded the New School Brazilian Choro Ensemble– recognized to date as the only dedicated Brazilian Choro ensemble in universities throughout North America. The group features an historical collection of repertoire of over
fifty pieces, dating from Choro's seminal nationalist composers Ernesto Nazareth and Anacleto de Medeiros to twentieth century masters Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim, Garôto and Radamés Gnattali, to contemporary masters Hermeto Pascoal, Guinga and Mário Laginha (Portugal). The ensemble eliminates any preconceived walls between traditional classical chamber music and Choro.
In the Brazilian Choro Ensemble, Boukas uses his authoritative transcriptions and distillations of choro performance practice as vehicles for teaching its manifold subtleties and intrinsically contrapuntal nature. Instruments most commonly associated with choro are learned by the students as part of their ensemble duties.The instrumentation is: three guitars (combination of six and seven-string, cavaquinho), three woodwinds with extensive doubling, five-string electric bass and drums/percussion (including pandeiro). Boukas is a performing member of the ensemble, setting the high level of professionalism and work ethic essential to performing this repertoire with polish and authenticity.
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD PROGRAM AND NOTES for special ERNESTO NAZARETH 150th BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE concert.
Pixinguinha and Contemporaries
In December 2014, the acoustic ensemble premiered PIXINGUINHA AND CONTEMPORARIES, an ambitious program featuring sixteen Boukas arrangements of works by Pixinguinha and other central choro composers. The program received two debut performances: at New School Jazz and Mannes College Recital Hall. Visit the dedicated Pixinguinha and Contemporaries page which includes complete concert video, recordings, program notes,and scholarly resources..
Track #1 on the audio player is:
Ainda Me Recordo by Pixinguinha
performed by New School Brazilian Choro Ensemble
Track #2 is "Viajando Pelo Brasil" by Hermeto Pascoal
performed by New School Brazilian Jazz Ensemble
arrangements by Richard Boukas
For more audio and video of ensemble performances, visit their dedicated page links above.
Brazilian Jazz Ensemble
At the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City where he has been faculty since 1989, Boukas formed the school's first Brazilian Jazz Ensemble in 1995. The group's challenging repertoire features the works of Hermeto Pascoal and his lineage of composers: Jovino Santos Neto, Itiberê Zwarg, André Marques, and other brilliant composers including Guinga, Sérgio Santos and Mário Laginha.
The main source material for Boukas's arrangements are authoritative scores donated by the composers and his meticulous group transcriptions of landmark recordings. These recordings are studied carefully by the players to assimilate fundamental vocabularies in melodic phrasing, rhythm section interaction and improvisation. The instrumentation is for two saxophones (with doubling on other woodwinds), vocalist, guitar, piano, bass and drums. To date the ensemble has over thirty pieces in its repertoire.
For video and audio excerpts, visit the group's dedicated page.
The AUDIO player on this page (Track #2) features Viajando Pelo Brasil by Hermeto Pascoal.
STREAM BOUKAS'S COMPREHENSIVE LECTURE ON
THE MUSIC OF HERMETO PASCOAL
LESSONS IN BRAZILIAN MUSIC
An ambitious endeavor by Boukas whose preparations of scores, arrangements and rehearsals took over five months,
música mineira is a landmark project dedicated solely to composers from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais– most notably, the city of Belo Horizonte. Featuring classic repertoire by legendary composers Ary Barroso, Milton Nascimento, Toninho Horta, Sérgio Santos and João Bosco, the project was premiered as part of New School Jazz's "Jazz Presents" Series.
Boukas chose a repertoire of twenty pieces for the concert, and selected a stellar group comprised of guest Brazilian musicians, New School Jazz faculty, current New School Jazz students and alumni, and New School Jazz's first two Brazilian exchange students from Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). In a sense, the project was as much a celebration of this exciting new alliance as a presentation of repertoire rarely performed outside of Minas Gerais. See more below about the
New School Jazz / UFMG Exchange Program.
For more information about música mineira project including eight live audio tracks, Boukas's program notes, Foreword by heralded composer Sérgio Santos, visit the project's dedicated page.
Listen to Boukas Brazilian Choral Arrangements featuring Sérgio Santos compostions.
Richard Boukas's significant involvement in Queens College YEAR OF BRAZIL this past fall was capped off by a choral concert in by the Queens College Vocal Ensemble (QCVE). The diverse program featured four of Boukas's new Brazilian choral arrangements of music by Milton Nascimento, Sérgio Santos and Ernesto Nazareth (150th birthday tribute).
This spring the QCVE will perform another concert featuring more new Boukas arrangements of music by Sérgio Santos, Guinga and Radamés Gnattali. Boukas plans to expand this repertoire into a larger project of performances by Brazil's premier choirs and a definitive recording. For more info and to hear some of his arrangements, visit the CHORAL COMPOSITION PAGE.
The September 2012 launch of New School Jazz's first exchange program with Brazil was the result of more than two years of continuous effort by both music schools and their parent universities. With the forthcoming annual IASJ (Int'l Assoc. of Schools of Jazz) convention set to take place in July 2011 in São Paulo (hosted by Escola de Música Souza-Lima), Boukas was invited by NSJCM Executive Director Martin Mueller to be one of two faculty representatives.
Still early in the 2010-11 academic year, Boukas saw this as a fertile opportunity to conduct exploratory conversations with select Brazilian music schools regarding student and faculty exchange programs. His longtime Brazilian music colleague Cliff Korman (full-time faculty at UFMG in Belo Horizonte since 2010) was very proactive about the idea given UFMG's extensive prior experience with such programs. Further, Boukas initiated and moderated ongoing discussions in Portuguese with four other music schools based in São Paulo, establishing the groundwork for very productive in-person meetings during the IASJ convention.
The first official meeting between NSJCM and UFMG was preceded by Boukas visiting UFMG. There he presented workshops and attended pivotal meetings with ex-director Maurício Garcia Freire, Cliff Korman and other UFMG faculty. This vibrant creative environment, backlit by the stellar contributions of Minas composer-musicians and their impact on jazz within and outside Brazil, helped propel forward a formalized agreement between the two schools. The exchange would begin first with students, and the intention to expand to faculty exchange in the near future was also keenly discussed. He is the designated faculty representatives for the exchange program, serving prospective and current students at both universities.
The first two UFMG exchange students, Peu Cardoso and Maria Elisa Pompeu, were embraced openly by the NSJCM community. A highlight of their semester was Boukas's invitation to perform at the Jazz Presents música mineira concert.