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Jazz cellist Helen Gillet’00 in residence

September 15, 2016 at 12:39 pm
By Emmy Newman'17

This week marks a visit by Helen Gillet, the Victor E. Ferrall, Jr. Endowed Artist-in-Residence. A Beloit alumna of 2000, Gillet redefines the art of concert cello with influences of French pop, avant-garde jazz, folk, and rock in addition to classical styles. Named the Best Female Performer at the Big Easy Gambit Awards in New Orleans in 2014, Gillet has made a name for herself as an improviser and composer of non-classical cello music.

On Monday, Sept 19, Gillet will give a presentation at the Hendricks Center, room 212, at 8:45 a.m. She'll talk about synthesizing her experiences with Indian classical music, jazz, and the current New Orleans music scene into her unique musical style, demonstrate with music, and hold a Q & A.

On Tuesday, Sept 20, Gillet will host a conversation titled “Zen Cello and the Belgian Beets in a Funk Town” at 7 p.m. in Science Center room 150. On Friday, Sept 23, the artist will perform at C-Haus at 10 p.m.

On Saturday, Sept 24 at 7:30 p.m., Gillet will perform at Eaton Chapel. Her evening performance will include a dance piece tentatively titled “Social Construction,” choreographed by professor Chris Johnson and performed by student dancers. The dance piece is a work in progress of both dance and film and set to one of Gillet’s original compositions. The film component, created by professor Aaron Gurlly, will feature the dancers as well as shots of Gillet performing with her cello.

Designed to bring an outstanding visual or performing artist to campus each year to share his or her work and collaborate with students, the Ferrall Artist-in-Residence has included such luminaries as Nick Cave, a performance artist best known for his wearable sculptures called “Soundsuits” and Chanticleer, a 12-man a cappella “orchestra of voices.” Known for her innovative use of looping and the addition of vocals in her compositions, Gillet’s residency promises to be a week of musical exploration and collaboration.