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Microtones, Birdsongs, and J Dilla: David Fiuczynski's Guggenheim Fellowship Composition

Event Date: 
Friday, December 7, 2012 - 8:00pm

Berklee Professor David Fiuczynski will premiere an ambitious new musical work, "Flam! Pan-Asian MicroJam for J Dilla and Olivier Messiaen,"  The piece, which took nearly two years to write, is the result of a Guggenheim Fellowship the guitarist received in 2011. It breaks new ground by incorporating microtonal birdsong-based melodies, J Dilla-inspired hip-hop beats, Japanese court music, Chinese folk songs, Indian alaps, and Turkish invocations. At the concert, audience members will see various birds on a video screen and hear their birdcalls, then listen as those sounds are interwoven into the music. 

"Olivier Messiaen, a French composer and ornithologist who used birdsongs in his music, was a major influence," says Fiuczynski. "Messiaen's birdsongs, Dilla's beats, and Eastern music share a lot of the same rhythmic elements. I thought this would be a very unusual way to combine all of these styles that I love." 

Fiuczynski's composition, which he plans to record next year with Berklee students and faculty, is based on his "Planet MicroJam" concept, a new musical language combining microtones (notes between the notes of the Western scale), jazz harmonies, and complex rhythms. Fiuczynski uses a double-neck fretless/fretted guitar, quarter tone guitar, and whammy bar to master a vocabulary of notes "between the cracks."

Tickets are reserved seating, $8 (advance) and $12 (day of show).

Purchase tickets at, by calling 617-747-2261, or visit the BPC Box Office.

The venue is wheelchair-accessible. 


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