Page Seven

Creative Music Foundation Receives Second Grammy Foundation Grant To Restore, Preserve and Digitize The CMS Archive

For the second year in a row, the nonprofit Creative Music Foundation has received a preservation grant from the Grammy Foundation to help restore, preserve and digitize the CMS Archive, 551 concerts conducted at the Creative Music Studio in the 1970s and 1980s.  CMF was one of only 14 organizations to receive the prestigious grant.  The grant, for $13,720, will help CMF digitize 121 newly discovered recordings in the CMS Archive, which is being preserved and housed by the Columbia University Library.

“The Recording Academy is proud to provide the financial support for our GRAMMY Foundation’s longstanding Grant Program,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation. “Not only have we awarded more than $6 million to more than 300 worthwhile initiatives over the course of this program, but we have funded such a diverse and outstanding group of grantees and significant projects that the Foundation has become a driving philanthropic force in the fields of archiving, preservation and scientific research.”

Generously funded by The Recording Academy, the Grant Program provides funding annually to organizations and individuals to support efforts that advance the archiving and preservation of the recorded sound heritage of the Americas for future generations, as well as research projects related to the impact of music on the human condition. In 2008, the Grant Program expanded its categories to include assistance grants for individuals and small- to mid-sized organizations to aid collections held by individuals and organizations that may not have access to the expertise needed to create a preservation plan. The assistance planning process, which may include inventorying and stabilizing a collection, articulates the steps to be taken to ultimately archive recorded sound materials for future generations.

“We are honored to receive a Grammy grant for the second straight year,” said Rob Saffer, CMF executive director.  “The credibility of this prestigious grant cannot be overstated.  Along with our association with Columbia University, receiving a Grammy grant will help elevate the importance of the CMS and will fuel fundraising for all of our activities, from workshop scholarships and recordings to our Oral History and Archive Projects. ”

In a statement, the Grammy Foundation said, “The Creative Music Foundation will finalize the restoration of 121 newly discovered audiotapes from the Creative Music Studio Archive, totaling 551 recordings of innovative performances by pioneer composer/performers of jazz, world music and contemporary music. The CMS collection of recordings is unique in its artistic scope and depth.”

Some of the artists in the CMS Archive include Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Frederic Rzewski, Cecil Taylor, Pauline Oliveros, Paul Motian, Trilok Gurtu, Colin Walcott, Baba Olatunji, Nana Vasconcelos, Oliver Lake, Karl Berger, Garrett List, Carla Bley, Sam Rivers, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jimmy Giuffre and many more.

The Creative Music Foundation has partnered with Columbia University’s Library to preserve the CMS Archive for posterity. CMS is giving Columbia the full archive of recorded tapes, along with memorabilia and photographs from CMS. CMS co-founder and artistic director Karl Berger and audio engineer (and former CMS participant) Ted Orr are going through each tape, digitizing and re-mastering them, a time consuming process.  The digitized, re-mastered recordings will be available at the Columbia University Library for scholars or others who want to enjoy and learn from them. A CMS Oral History Project is also being conducted to further understand and preserve CMS’s effect on creative, improvised music in the musicians’ own words.

Recordings from the CMS Archive are available here.

More information about the CMS Archive Project is here.

Peter Apfelbaum, Billy Martin and Rudresh Mahanthappa Join CMS Co-Founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso To Lead Fall 2015 Workshop, October 5 – 9

October 5 – 9 Workshop Features Intensive Workshops, Jam Sessions and Intimate Concerts in a Spectacular Mountainside Setting
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Composer/multi-instrumentalist and Creative Music Studio alumnus Peter Apfelbaum, master percussionist/educator Billy Martin, and composer/saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa will join CMS Artistic Directors/Co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso as Guiding Artists for the Creative Music Studio Fall 2015 Workshop Intensive, October 5 – 9, at the ear-inspiring Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY.

CMS’s Fall 2015 Workshop features a new format designed to create more opportunities for participants and Guiding Artists to interact directly, both formally and informally.  CMS tested this format in its 2014 workshops and received excellent feedback from participants. This workshop, during the height of the autumn colors, features one Guiding Artist working with participants in two workshops each day, whereas past CMS workshops offered multiple workshops with three or more Guiding Artists each day. As in the past, there will be daily CMS Basic Practice (body movement, breath work, rhythm and vocal training), as well as 90 minutes each day with Karl Berger leading orchestra of improvisers.   Additional Guiding Artists will be on hand to work with participants on a more personal level, informally coaching, playing and tutoring daily.  They will be named soon.

“Surveys with workshop participants provide the insights we need to continually tweak the workshop format,” said Rob Saffer, Creative Music Foundation’s executive director.   “We heard that both participants and Guiding Artists wanted to work more deeply. By simplifying the format, we gave artists and participants a better chance to get to know each other in both formal workshop settings and more intimate informal settings such as meals.”

CMS Workshop Guiding Artists in 2013 and 2104 included: Vijay Iyer, Dave Douglas, John Medeski, Henry Threadgill, Joe Lovano, Marty Ehrlich, John Hollenbeck, Oliver Lake, Don Byron, Tyshawn Sorey, Peter Apfelbaum, Tony Malaby, Cyro Baptista, Marilyn Crispell, Steven Bernstein, Jason Hwang, Kirk Knuffke, Kenny Wessel, Steve Gorn, Mark Helias, Tom Rainey, Thomas Buckner, Judi Silvano, Harvey Sorgen, Tani Tabbal, Ken Filiano, Badal Roy, Omar Tamez, and John Menegon, in addition to Creative Music Foundation co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso.   Steven Bernstein, Amir ElSaffar and Warren Smith are Guiding Artists for CMS’s Spring 2015 Workshop.

CMS Workshops feature four days of intensive workshops, master classes, intimate concerts and informal jam sessions that inspire active listening, personal expression, improvisation and musical exploration. Musicians on any instrument, including voice, are welcome, as are non-musicians.  Adults who played music earlier in their lives can benefit from this lifelong learning opportunity that offers participants a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from and play with music masters, and to simply spend time with them in an informal, personal setting.   The non-traditional atmosphere of the Creative Music Studio Workshop encourages participants to experiment, push beyond limits, genres and categories, to take risks, and to develop their own deeply personal musical expression.

“CMS has always been about musical sharing across cultures,” said Karl Berger.  “This workshop delivers on that promise. We’re excited to learn more about Indian Carnatic music from Rudresh and are blessed to be joined by Billy, an extraordinary drummer who is equally as committed to education. And, of course Peter, is the consummate CMS artist, originally coming to CMS as a teenager in the 1970s.”

A recap of all CMS Workshops, along with highlight videos, is at:

A typical day at the CMS Workshop is:

8:00 – 9:30                   Breakfast

9:30 – 10:00                 Body Awareness

10:15 – 11:00             Rhythm/Voice Awareness, including GaMaLa Taki rhythm practice

11:30 – 1:00                 Master Class/Workshop

1:00 – 2:15                   Lunch

2:30 – 5:00                   All Instruments Workshop

5:15 – 6:30                   Improvisers Orchestra

6:30 – 7:00                   Listening Meditation

7:00 – 8:15                   Dinner

8:30 – 10:00                 Concert with Guiding Artists

10:00 – ?                      Participant concerts and jams, unscheduled sessions

Late night consists of playing music, unscheduled sessions, conversations, bonfires, or simply stargazing at Full Moon’s gorgeous location in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, with the historic Esopus Creek running through the expansive property.

CMS’s parent nonprofit, the Creative Music Foundation, is fundraising in order to offer full and partial scholarships for the workshop. For more information and online registration, please call the Full Moon Resort, 845-254-8009, email:, or click this link to register:

Register Now!


Daily Schedule (subject to improvisation)

Monday, October 5

4:00 pm Meet and Greet on Front Lawn with Open Bar and Hors D’Oeuvres

5:00 pm Opening orientation in the main building, hosted by Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso and other Guiding Artists

  • Introducing featured artists and any special guests
  • Brief review of daily workshops, activities, performances

7:00 pm Dinner

8:30 pm Opening night performance in the “Roadhouse” performance space

10:30 pm – ? Late night jams among participants  


Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, October 6, 7, 8

8:00 – 9:30                      Breakfast

9:30 – 10:00                    Body Awareness

10:15 – 11:00              Rhythm/Voice Awareness, including GaMaLa Taki rhythm practice

11:30 – 1:00                    Master Class/Workshop

1:00 – 2:15                      Lunch

2:30 – 5:00                      All Instruments Workshop

5:15 – 6:30                      Improvisers Orchestra

6:30 – 7:00                      Listening Meditation

7:00 – 8:15                      Dinner

8:30 – 10:00                    Concert with Guiding Artists

10:00 – ?                          Participant concerts and jams, unscheduled sessions

October 9

8:00 am Breakfast

10:00 am Farewell and Departure

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Register Now!



Guiding Artist Biographies

Rudresh Mahanthappa (sax, composer) 

Few musicians share the ability of saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to so fully embody the expansive possibilities of his music and his culture. Jazz is unparalleled in its ability to absorb other styles and genres and emerge with a new form still recognizably jazz, just as its country of origin, America, is unique in encompassing so many people with deep roots in all corners of the world who can still be called American. Mahanthappa has eloquently expressed both of those concepts throughout his singular career, which has seen him emerge as one of modern jazz’s most visionary composers while pursuing a deeply personal and individual approach.

What has emerged is a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa’s own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American. Just as his personal experience is never wholly lived on one side of the hyphenate or the other, his music refuses to create simple fusions, instead speaking in a voice fluent in both and dedicated to forging a new path forward.

The current manifestations of that path include the latest version of his longstanding quartet,now featuring guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski, whose own microtonal vocabulary has opened new possibilities for Mahanthappa’s compositional imagination; and Samdhi, a multi-cultural ensemble that advances Mahanthappa’s blend of jazz and Indian music with modernist electronic music. The group’s self-titled debut, released in 2010 by ACT Music + Vision, was hailed by JazzTimes as “a landmark convergence of styles that didn’t lend itself to easy analysis… new music of this caliber hasn’t been attempted before.”

He also continues to partner with Pakistani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi and innovative percussionist Dan Weiss in the Indo-Pak Coalition. Other recent projects run the gamut from the cross-generational alto summit Apex featuring Bunky Green, to the  trios MSG and Mauger, the quintet Dual Identity co-led with fellow altoist Steve Lehman, and Raw Materials, his long-running duo project with pianist Vijay Iyer. Despite the vast variety of influences on display throughout these disparate projects, one constant is the voice that the New York Times has hailed as possessing “a roving intellect and a bladelike articulation.”

His success has been recognized by giants in both jazz and South Indian music. Most recently, Mahanthappa was asked to join the working group of legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette, while a collaboration with the renowned Carnatic saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath resulted in Mahanthappa’s critically-acclaimed 2008 CD Kinsmen (Pi). He has been awarded with a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year three years running in Downbeat Magazine’s International Critics Polls (2011-2013) and for five years running by the Jazz Journalists’ Association (2009-2013). In April 2013, he received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, one of the most prominent arts awards in the world.

These impressive accolades, as well as critical praise from such influential outlets as NPR, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice and the New Yorker, spotlight Mahanthappa’s growing role as a pioneer in the contemporary jazz world. His early years growing up in Colorado, his studies at Berklee College of Music and DePaul University, and his staggering wealth of experiences playing alongside elders and contemporary masters from a number of musical disciplines, are all refracted into his stunning and still-evolving body of work.



Billy Martin (percussionist/educator) 

Above all else, Billy Martin believes in the power of unguarded expression to capture glimpses of the truth – sometimes only fleetingly, sometimes for extended, intoxicating stretches. He pursues the ecstatic and the insightful from a variety of vantage points: as a drummer and percussionist, as a composer, as a filmmaker, sculptor, visual artist, and even as a carpenter. To varying degrees, each endeavor is marked by Martin’s dearly held belief that unfettered improvisation and an honest commitment to the moment at hand can bring about new levels of understanding, new perspectives, new sonic textures, and a more profound emotional impact. “In any circumstance, any medium,” he reflects, “you need to be sincere with yourself and with your audience. This is who you are, and you’ve got to be trying as hard as you can to create something for the situation that’s new and fresh. There are going to be some mistakes, it may not be perfect, but you’ve got to be willing to take that chance at any given moment.”

While Billy Martin’s own creative journey has had innumerable forks and bends, he is best known to music enthusiasts as one-third of the indescribable Medeski Martin & Wood. About to enter their twentieth year as a performing and recording aggregation, Medeski Martin & Wood are an entirely unique instrumental ensemble, able to apply principles from a staggering range of traditions (from free and modern jazz to classic R&B and well beyond) while remaining eminently accessible. Via fifteen albums, tireless touring (performing everywhere from jazz clubs to jamband festivals), and collaborations with the likes of John Scofield and John Zorn, the trio has united audiences from disparate corners of the musical universe who react with equal awe and enthusiasm to the band’s infectious grooves and undiminished exploratory zeal.

Few if any major acts are able to simultaneously function so successfully – both artistically and commercially – as a laboratory as Medeski Martin & Wood have, and their work exemplifies many of Martin’s ideals and principles as an improvising composer/performer. Forever refining and rediscovering his own signature sound, Martin vividly explores these notions of creative identity, of surrendering to the moment, of developing one’s own artistic voice, in Life on Drums, his feature-length directorial debut, which will be released on DVD by Vongole Films on October 8th, 2010. Sumptuously filmed in a disused New Jersey radio station, both informative and atmospheric, Life on Drums combines conversations with solo and group performances (some improvised, some composed) to create an engrossing portrait of Martin’s evolving musical aesthetic.

Life on Drums is my reaction to all the bad instructional videos I’ve seen,” Martin elaborates. “Much of what’s out there tends to put a lot of focus on technique, but most creative things don’t come from technique. I want the viewer to see this and come away with the idea that they can be an artist – you don’t need this full spectrum of technique before you can start thinking creatively.” Accompanying Martin on this voyage is Allen Herman, Martin’s first drum teacher. The two converse about matters both practical and artistic, and it is their easy yet insightful rapport that helps to illuminate even the most elusive ideas. “It’s this strange kind of karma, this nurturing feeling I get from him,” Martin continues. “We first met in 1974, when he was my teacher. He has been in and out of my life a few times since then. He even stopped playing drums for a while. But now he’s turned it around, saying I am the one who is nurturing him. He is ecstatic to be back in the drumming world…

When Martin first began studying with Herman, he was an energized, precocious teenager, residing in New Jersey – having relocated from Manhattan at age ten. His father, a classical violinist, photographer, and audiophile, ensured that Martin was surrounded by music for as long has he can remember. When recorded music wasn’t blasting from the ample sound system in the basement, the Martin home was alive with rehearsals and young Billy’s growing percussive prowess – initially sparked by the discovery of his older brother’s abandoned trap set. By high school, Martin’s musical obsessions began to flower: he was writing percussion cadences for the school marching band, performing with the student jazz ensemble, and had his first garage band – a power trio whose repertoire ranged from George Benson to Van Halen. He even subbed for Herman in the pit band of the Broadway show Bob Fosse’s Dancin’.

Upon graduation from high school, Martin bypassed full-time college, electing to make a go at being a professional musician in New York City. His arrival there in 1981 coincided with the emergence of a downtown music scene that dovetailed perfectly with Martin’s own sensibilities, holding equal reverence (or irreverence) for free improvisation, classic jazz, film music, and even the kitschiest of pop culture. Embracing every possible opportunity, Martin performed alongside such luminaries as John Scofield, Bob Moses, Bill Frissel, Cyro Baptista, Dave Liebman, Jerome Harris, and more. He went on his first tour as a member of Moses’s ensemble, and indulged his fascination with Brazilian rhythms by co-founding the group Batucada, who were a fixture on New York’s Brazilian scene for two years. After touring and recording with Chuck Mangione for two years (1987-1989), Martin reinvested himself in the downtown scene, participating in John Zorn’s Cobra improvisational game pieces and performing with John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards.

Medeski Martin & Wood first convened in 1991, embarking on their remarkable journey, which continues to this day. By then, Martin was a formidable musician, armed with a rich cultural understanding of rhythm and a vast, tastefully deployed technical vocabulary. Over the past ten years, he has begun to impart unique musical philosophy in instructional contexts ranging from master classes to private instruction to his book, Riddim: Claves of African Origin, released in 2006. “I think that teaching can be as creative as performing and composing,” he explains. “I believe strongly that creativity and individual style is important. I feel so strongly about that, and the only way to be active or push people in that direction is to offer my teaching. Hopefully that will have a little ripple effect on the next generation of musicians.”

When not performing with Medeski Martin & Wood, Martin continues to collaborate with other musicians in improvisational projects, many of which are documented on his own Amulet Records imprint, which he founded in 1995. He also records and performs solo – with results ranging from the exploratory to the downright funky, as heard on his triple-LP/CD breakbeat extravaganza illy B Eats – and has taken an increased interest in composing for both percussion and chamber ensembles. An album of Martin’s chamber works, Starlings, was released by John Zorn’s Tzadik label in 2006. “My way of composing is to write sketches out to musicians,” he explains, “and to then let them work in a way that allows them to improvise based on the limitations I have given. Even when I work with my students and my percussion ensembles, there is always a little room for them to interpret my compositions. It’s exciting to me because you never know exactly what’s going to happen – it’s more rewarding for me and for the listener.”

Parallel to his musical adventures, Martin is an accomplished visual artist, whose drawings have been featured on album covers and in gallery exhibitions. His burgeoning interest in filmmaking has resulted in several music videos and short subjects, with Life on Drums being his first feature-length project. “Making videos and films – the whole idea of images moving along in a time frame: that’s very musical and rhythmic,” he reflects. “Whether it’s music or films or my drawings, I take the same approach: I improvise. I do have conceptual ideas I try to realize, but I think the best stuff comes out of improvisation. It comes from the same place, the same creative part of myself in the moment.”

With so many outlets existing for his creative energies, Martin is always in the midst of multiple projects. Even now, as he is helping to formulate Medeski Martin & Wood’s upcoming 20th anniversary celebrations, he is working to bring to light recently-recorded chamber compositions for a bass clarinet quartet, a documentary of the making of Medeski Martin & Wood’s Shackman album from recently-recovered videotape footage, and a sculpture project that combines composition with visual arts via graphically notated scores welded to oversized metal canvases. “It’s all more complicated than ever,” Martin concludes, “because now I have two boys, who are going to turn seven and ten soon. Handling the family life and home life with my work and creative projects is a delicate balance – but I have a studio-slash-shed in my backyard that I can use to get away and still be home. Honestly, I try not to keep everything too separate: it’s all creative living, it’s all satisfying. It feels good with each little thing I accomplish. I just have to give myself the time to improvise, to experiment. Usually I find the meaning later, after I’ve created it.”



Karl Berger – PhD, Founder Creative Music Foundation, composer, vibraphonist, pianist 

Founder and director of the nonprofit Creative Music Foundation, Inc., and creative leader of the legendary Creative Music Studio, Karl Berger is dedicated to the research of the power of music and sound and the elements common to all of the world’s music forms. In addition to his composing and playing, Karl is known around the world for educational presentations through workshops, concerts, recordings, and with a growing network of artists and CMS members worldwide.

Karl Berger is a six time winner of the Downbeat Critics Poll as a jazz soloist, recipient of numerous Composition Awards (commissions by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, European Radio and Television: WDR, NDR, SWF, Radio France, Rai Italy. SWF-Prize 1994). Professor of Composition, Artist-in- Residence at universities, schools and festivals worldwide, PhD in Music Esthetics.

Karl Berger became noted for his innovative arrangements for recordings by Jeff Buckley (“Grace”), Natalie Merchant (“Ophelia”), Better Than Ezra, The Cardigans, Jonatha Brooke, Buckethead, Bootsie Collins, The Swans, Sly + Robbie, Angelique Kidjo and others; and for his collaborations with producers Bill Laswell, Alan Douglas (“Operazone”), Peter Collins, Andy Wallace, Craig Street, Alain Mallet, Malcolm Burn, Bob Marlett and many others in Woodstock, New York City, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Paris and Rome.

He recorded and performed with Don Cherry, Lee Konitz, John McLaughlin, Gunther Schuller, the Mingus Epitaph Orchestra, Dave Brubeck, Ingrid Sertso, Dave Holland, Ed Blackwell, Ray Anderson, Carlos Ward, Pharoah Sanders, Blood Ulmer, Hozan Yamamoto and many others at festivals and concerts in the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, India, Phillippines, Japan, Mexico and Brazil.

His recordings and arrangements appear on the Atlantic, Axiom, Black Saint, Blue Note, Capitol, CBS, Columbia Double Moon, Douglas Music, Elektra, EMI, Enja, Island, JVC, Knitting Factory, In&Out, MCA, Milestone, Polygram, Pye, RCA, SONY, Stockholm, Vogue and others.

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Ingrid Sertso  – voice, poet, co-founder, Creative Music Foundation 

Through her work with such avant-jazz musicians as Don Cherry and Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso established herself as a captivating, adventurous vocalist, capable of blending jazz, African, South American and other worldbeat influences into a distinctive, hypnotic sound.

Although Sertso didn’t become well-known until the release of Dance with It in 1994, she spent over 20 years honing her art. During the late ’60s, she lived in Europe, leading her own trios and performing with the likes of Eric Dolphy, Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, Karl Berger and Leo Wright; she also worked as a music teacher at several institutions in Europe. In 1972, she became a permanent resident of the United States and she released her first album, We Are You, on Calig Records. Over the next few years she taught, while she performed in North America and Europe with the likes of Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Lee Konitz, Sam Rivers, Jimmy Giuffre, Bob Moses, Dave Holland, Perry Robinson and Jumma Santos. In 1974, she released Kalaparush on Trio Records in Japan. It was followed in 1975 by Peace Church Concerts on India Navigation/CMC Records.

In 1975, Sertso became a faculty member at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. She stayed there through 1975 and 1976, before moving to the Banff Centre of Fine Arts in Calgary, Canada. She had two residencies at Banff before moving to the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York, where she became the co-director. While working at the Creative Music Studio, she began singing in the Art of Improvisation with Berger and David Inzenon. In 1979, she toured major European cities as a solo artists, supported by the Woodstock Workshop Orchestra. She also released an album on MPS Records that year.

During the early ’80s, Sertso remained a co-director at the Creative Music Studio, while continuing to record and perform with a variety of musicians, including such mainstays as Don Cherry and Karl Berger, as well as Paulo Moura, Nana Vasconcelos, Steve Gorn, Dan Brubeck and Mike Richmond. In 1984, she performed with the Music Universe Orchestra at the Kool Festival in New York and released a duet album, Changing the Time, with Berger on Horo Records in Italy. She also toured Europe twice during this time and she also toured West Africa with Olatunji and Aiyb Dieng.

Sertso’s career picked up momentum during the latter half of the ’90s. She held a series of concerts and workshops in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and she regularly tour the US on club and festival circuit. Sertso also toured Europe twice and sang solo vocals on Berger’s orchestral ballet, The Bird. She was one of the co-leaders of Rhythm Changes, who released the Jazzdance album on ITM Records. During these five years, she also performed and recorded with a variety of artists, including Pauline Oliveros, Lee Konitz, Frank Luther, Anthony Cox, Leroy Jenkins, Jimmy Cobber, Linda Montano and Karl Berger.

In 1990, Sertso catapulted back into the mainstream jazz spotlight through her version “Until the Rain Comes” on Don Cherry’s Multi Kulti album. Shortly afterward, she began working on a new album, but she became sidetracked by collaborating with Karl Berger and guitarist Paul Koji Shigihara. The trio blended original compositions with Sertso’s poetry, improvisations and interpretations of traditional tune. Sertso also regularly performed poetry readings at the Tinker Street Cafe in Woodstock and the Knitting Factory in New York, and she also regularly played clubs along the Northeast coast. In 1994, she released her comeback album Dance with It, which earned postitive reviews. – Stephen Thomas Erlewine (All Music Guide)


Peter Apfelbaum – sax, drums, composition 

Peter Apfelbaum (born 1960) is an American avant-garde jazz pianist, tenor saxophonist, drummer and composer born in Berkeley, California. He first emerged on the jazz scene in the late 1970s, performing with Carla Bley from 1978–1982 and touring with Warren Smith and Karl Berger. Around this time Apfelbaum also studied and worked with musicians involved with the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York. He graduated from Berkeley High School in 1978 in a class that included jazz pianist Benny Green.

Apfelbaum has made an impact on the avant-garde jazz and world music scene since the late 1970s and 1980s. He is a well known multi-instrumentalist and composer. His three main instruments are tenor saxophone, piano, and drums, but he has recorded and performed with a diverse array of percussion, wind, and other instruments. He has composed suites for various artists (including Don Cherry) as well as his 17-piece group The Hieroglyphics Ensemble. In 1990 Apfelbaum toured and recorded with Cherry in the group Multikulti, playing both piano and saxophone.

In the early 1990s, Apfelbaum opened shows for The Grateful Dead with The Hieroglyphics Ensemble. Apfelbaum formed The Hieroglyphics Ensemble with jazz musicians from the San Francisco Bay Area, including Jeff Cressman, Will Bernard, Norbert Stachel, Jessica Jones, Tony Jones, Peck Almond, Dezon Claiborne, Josh Jones, Jai Uttal, and many others. In 1991 his album “Signs Of Life,” recorded with The Hieroglyphics Ensemble, went to No. 14 on Billboard (magazine)’s “top contemporary jazz albums.[1]

The latest incarnation of this group, The New York Hieroglyphics, released “It Is Written” in 2005, featuring members from the original group and New York-based musicians such as Patrice Blanchard, Dafnis Prieto, Josh Roseman, and Abdoulaye Diabate as well as Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, for whom Peter was music director. His compositions and performances have influenced many artists active in the contemporary jazz fusion scene. His work recombines and synthesizes varieties of world music (i.e. various non-Western diasporic musical traditions) with experimental jazz idioms.[2] Of how his music came into being, Apfelbaum writes: “My vocabulary reflects the fact that I started life as a drummer, was trained in jazz theory, blues and gospel music as a pre-teenager, became absorbed in African and Latin music as a teenager, listened to a lot of contemporary classical music, worked in R&B, reggae, blues, Latin, African, jazz, funk, Middle Eastern and Indian bands and, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by how sounds can be fitted together.”


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About Full Moon Resort

Full Moon, located one half hour west of Woodstock, New York, “the most famous small town in the world,” is a year-round mountain resort located in the heart of the “Forever Wild” Catskill Forest Preserve.  Dedicated to the celebration of nature, music and the arts, this one hundred-acre wonderland of mountains, fields, and streams is a world of its own.

Full Moon is an alternative to more traditional country inns and resorts – with educational, recreational and artistic workshopsweekend-long destination country weddings, cutting-edge music camps, and art exhibits all part of its magical landscape.

“Music and art in nature” is a central theme at Full Moon Resort. Music is always in the air with the Music Masters Camp series, a special mid-week interactive musical experience with world renowned artists – complete with superb dining, comfortable country inn accommodations, and camping options.

Lovingly prepared, fresh, healthy cuisine served by a friendly, professional staff is the trademark of Full Moon Catering.  The menus offer a full range of possibilities – hot buffet breakfasts and lunches, down-home country barbeques …tantalizing hors d’oeuvres and formal gourmet dinners in the Tent Pavilion.  Fresh, natural ingredients (often organic) are the common thread throughout.

Accommodations are charming in their simplicity, with guest rooms available in a variety of lodges  – some in a simple B&B style with shared hallway baths and others with private bath options.

In all, Full Moon Resort, with its picturesque grounds, cozy guest accommodations, excellent cuisine and friendly, professional staff, sets the stage for highly memorable experiences for those attending the Music Masters Camps.

Full Moon contact info:
Telephone: 845-254-8009
Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm (EST)

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When will my deposit be run?
 Your deposit will be run at the time of your registration.

What gear do I need?
 Bring your instrument(s) if they fit! Amps are not required. For more information, email to see what will be provided.

Can I still come if I’m not a musician? 
Non-musicians are more than welcome and encouraged to attend.

What skill level is required to attend? 
Classes and curriculum are developed to accommodate all ranges of playing. All classes are optional and open to everyone.

Is there an age requirement?
 No. Minors are required to submit a parent/legal guardian consent form.

Are meals included?
 Yes, three gourmet meals a day and snacks are included in your tuition.

If I want to bring my spouse, but they don’t want to attend classes, can I?
 Yes. In order to bring a non-participant, you would need to purchase a “single occupancy” package. Non-participants have access to all meals, and can observe classes or workshops.

When is check in and check out?
 Check in is at 3pm on arrival day and check out is at 11am on departure day. Due to Full Moon’s busy event calendar, it is generally not possible to check in early or check out late.

How do I get there?
 Please see the ‘Directions/Transportation’ section below.

Is there cell phone reception at camp?
 There is no cell phone reception at Full Moon Resort.  Complimentary phone service for all calls within the U.S. is available at all times at the Inn. Also, there is complimentary Wi-Fi available throughout the facility.

How do I make my final payment?
 Your final payment will be automatically run on the credit card on file on the due date noted in your registration form. You may provide an alternative method of payment as long as it is received before the due date.

Can I take photos, video or audio recordings? 
Yes. You may be required to sign a waiver stating all recordings, footage and/or photos will be used strictly for personal use and not commercially. CMS will videotape the proceedings for its promotional and fundraising efforts.

What is the weather like at camp?
 Weather in the Catskills varies. In the spring and fall, you can expect warm days (50s to 70s) and cooler nights (lower 40s to lower 60s).

What do you suggest I bring with me?
 Audio recording devices
. Camera
 Clothes & Toiletries (toothbrush, soap, shampoo etc.)
 Tent Campers- don’t forget towels, sleeping bags, tarps, etc.!
 Insect Repellent
. Swimwear
. Flashlight
. Writing Utensils & composition note Paper
. Water bottle
. Cash (There is no ATM on-site.)

Do you provide equipment storage for tent campers? 
This can be arranged on an as needed basis.

Can I select my own roommate?
 Yes – if that person is signed up as well. We cannot hold a spot for someone unless they have already registered.

How does the facility select my roommate?
 Full Moon Resort selects roommates based on age and gender. You will always be placed with a same-sex roommate.

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Pricing and Registration

CMS Workshop Packages are All-Inclusive!

Monday to Friday you will have access to all workshops, seminars, gourmet meals, performances, and camp activities. The only thing you have to do after signing up is get here!

All camp activities will be held at Full Moon Resort. Full Moon features an eclectic array of comfortable, rustic country-inn accommodations including simple B&B style guest rooms with shared hallway baths and guest rooms with private baths. “Primitive” campsites are also available. All accommodations are just steps away from daily music camp activities. The grounds offer one hundred acres of meadows, forests and streams providing a natural backdrop for an unforgettable, enriching experience.

Guest rooms at Full Moon do not have telephones, TV’s, air conditioning or daily housekeeping service. Wi-Fi, cable television and complimentary phone service are all available at the Inn (please bring a phone card for international calls).   Enjoy the spring-fed swimming pool, on-site access to the Esopus Creek, and explore the splendors of the Catskills on the nearby network of hiking trails.

Please Note: There is no cell phone reception at Full Moon Resort or in Big Indian.

Package Pricing
  Note: Prices do not include applicable taxes

Full Moon Resort Accommodations:

Note: Prices include Full Moon Resort lodging, food and CMS workshops. Prices do not include applicable taxes.


  • $695 Tent Camping
  • $895 Double Occupancy, Shared Bath
  • $995 Double Occupancy, Private Bath
  • $1,295 Single Occupancy, Shared Bath
  • $1,595 Single Occupancy, Private Bath
  • $495 Non-participant rates for spouse/children

Registration, Payment and Cancellation Terms and Conditions:

Your decision to register for Full Moon Resort Music Masters Camps constitutes your acknowledgement of and consent to all of the registration, payment and cancellation terms and conditions listed below.

Registration and Payments:

  • All rates are per-person
  • All rates are subject to a 2% county tax, 8% New York State Tax and a 1.5% online registration fee
  • Upon registration, a non-refundable deposit of $350 is charged to your credit card
  • 100% of the remaining balance due is automatically charged to the credit card on file on September 1, 2015.
  • Any registrations received after September 1, 2015 must be paid in full at the time of registration 


  • All payments and deposits are non-refundable, except when approved by the Creative Music Foundation.
  • Cancellations received before September 1, 2015 will not be charged the remaining balance
  • Cancellations received after September 1, 2015 will be charged the full remaining balance

Due to the nature of our events and strict cancellation policies, Creative Environments, LLC DBA Full Moon Resort strongly suggests purchasing travel insurance.


Full Moon contact info:
Telephone: 845-254-8009
Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm (EST)



Full Moon Resort 
1 Valley View Road  
Big Indian, NY 12410

By Car:

Car parking is complimentary to all participants.

From Albany and points North:
Take the New York State Thruway (I-87) South towards New York City
Take Exit 19, Kingston (see below)

From New York City and Points South:
Take the New York State Thruway (I-87) North/West to Exit 19, Kingston
After toll, merge slightly right onto Route 28 West (towards Pine Hill)
Travel approximately 30 miles on Route 28 West to Big Indian/Oliverea
Turn left onto County Route 47 (just after a brown sign on Route 28 which says Oliverea 3 miles)
Proceed 5 miles on County Route 47 (Oliverea Road)
You will see signs for Full Moon on the right-hand side.

By Plane:
The closest airports to Big Indian are one hour and thirty minutes away:
Albany International Airport and Stewart/Newburgh International Airport

Albany International Airport (ALB):
737 Albany Shaker Rd
Albany, NY 12211
(518) 242.2222

Stewart-Newburgh International Airport (SWF):
1180 1st Street
New Windsor, NY 12553
(845) 564-2100

JFK and LaGuardia Airports in New York City are approximately two and a half hours from Big Indian.

Airport Car Services:Woodstock Town Car: (845) 679-6656 / INFO@WOODSTOCKTOWNCAR.COM
Black Diamond Transportation: (845) 338-8426

By Bus:Adirondack Trailways buses run from NYC and Kingston, NY. There is a stop on Route 28 at the Big Indian post office just five miles from Full Moon Resort. Email us to arrange a pick up from the Big Indian bus stop to Full Moon Resort.

NYC buses depart from the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan at 9.30am, 12.30pm and 3.30pm (EST) daily and take approximately three hours to reach Big Indian. One way fare is approximately $35, return is approximately $70.
For additional schedule information and bus stop locations, call 1-800-776-7548

Big Indian Bus Stop Located At the Big Indian Post Office:
8279 State Route 28
Big Indian, NY 12410

*Email to let us know when you will be arriving and we will be sure to have a shuttle waiting to bring you to camp!

By Train:
 The closest train station is in Rhinecliff, NY which is approximately one hour away from Big Indian.

Rhinecliff Amtrak Station (RHI)
Hutton St. and Charles St.,
Rhinecliff, NY 12574
Phone: 1 (800) 872-7245
Station and Service Hours: Open 7 Days a Week: 5:30am-10:30pm

**Carpooling is suggested!

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Archive Selections Volume 2

A torrid first encounter between avant-garde jazz titan Anthony Braxton and Marilyn Crispell, a rare chance to hear Don Cherry playing with and conducting an orchestra, and a workshop peek at the roots of the nascent “world jazz super-group” Codona are among the highlights of the Creative Music Foundation’s Creative Music Studio Archive Selections Vol. 2, to be released at retail and on iTunes and Amazon on October 15, 2015 by Planet Arts Recordings.

Order CMS Archive Selections Volume 2, 3 CD set

Item price: $25

Full price

Download CD liner notes in PDF format

 The second 3-CD set drawn from the CMS Archive Project of more than 500 concerts at Woodstock’s legendary Creative Music Studio between 1973 and 1984, also features some jazz luminaries not typically associated with the CMF avant-garde/world music sphere, such as the late percussionist/composer/ bandleader Paul Motian, and the great bebop alto saxophonist Lee Konitz (who actually helped pioneer “free jazz” in the late 1940s with Lennie Tristano).

The music press gave rave reviews to CMF’s Creative Music Studio Archive Selections Vol. 1, featuring Roscoe Mitchell, Oliver Lake, Olu Dara, Leroy Jenkins, Ed Blackwell, Ursula Oppens, Foday Musa Suso and others. Jazz Times named it “Best Historic Reissue” of 2014 with Cadence calling it “Best Historical Jazz Album” of 2014 and a ‘treasure trove.’ (See reviews here)

The second edition of the 3-CD set features:

Small Ensembles: Anthony Braxton/Marilyn Crispell; Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre; Frederic Rzewski/Karl Berger; Paul Motian/Charles Brackeen/David Izenzon; Lee Konitz/Karl Berger/Peter Apfelbaum

Large Ensembles: Don Cherry; Baikida Carroll; Gerry Hemingway

World Music: Ismet Siral/Steve Gorn/Trilok Gurtu; Collin Walcott/Aiyb Dieng/Nana Vasconcelos/Trilok Gurtu; Amadou Jarr; Aiyb Dieng/Karl Berger; Paulo Moura

“These recordings present a cross-section of the cross pollination that occurred regularly at CMS,” said CMF co-founder and artistic director, Karl Berger. “We divided them up neatly for these CDs, but it was far from divided or neat at CMS! These gems show the free flow of creative energy at CMS.”

Like Vol. 1, the new set captures some of the greatest names in avant-garde jazz and world music in unusually informal and intimate settings, or in the case of Don Cherry, in an usually large ensemble setting. And, like the first set, Vol. 2 crucially expands the unfortunately limited body of available work by musicians such as reed player Charles Brackeen and bassist David Izenzon (heard here with Paul Motian) and Turkish music master Ismet Siral. The Braxton-Crispell duet was the first time these two Woodstock-area residents had ever met and played together, and was so electrifying that when it was over, Braxton announced, “This is my new pianist.” Meanwhile the Kalaparusha track links CMF to none other than Jimi Hendrix. These stories and more background color and info are included in the full-length liner notes which, as on Vol. 1, also cover the history of CMS and its Archive Project, include rare photos from the CMS Archive, and will be available online as a PDF. Additionally, CMF’s Oral History Project has conducted interviews with some of the artists, including Marilyn Crispell, Lee Konitz, Steve Gorn and Frederic Rzewski, and has published transcripts on its website,

The recordings are part of the CMS Archive Project. The Creative Music Foundation has partnered with Columbia University’s Library to preserve the CMS Archive for posterity. CMS co-founder Karl Berger and audio engineer (and former CMS participant) Ted Orr are going through each tape, digitizing and re-mastering them. The digitized, re-mastered recordings will be available at the Columbia University Library for scholars or others who want to enjoy and learn from them. The CMS Archive Project took over four years and was generously funded by Columbia University, The Grammy Foundation and scores of crowd-funding supporters.

The Creative Music Foundation, a 501C(3) nonprofit corporation, makes it possible to profoundly experience and express our deep connection with the transforming energies of music, our universal language. CMF programs focus on the common elements of all music, emphasizing keen awareness, personal expression, intensive listening and cross-cultural communication, and providing unique opportunities for musicians, students and listeners from different backgrounds and traditions to explore together, share, develop, and broaden their musical understanding and sensitivity. CMF pursues its mission through workshops, residencies, coaching, concerts, recordings and archival projects that engage both listeners and musicians in the USA and around the world.

Planet Arts, a GRAMMY and ASCAP award winning, tax exempt, not-for-profit 501(c) 3 company, is dedicated to working with artists and educators on the development, production and documentation of culturally diverse projects that explore the creative process.

CMS Spring 2015 Workshop: Requiem for Ornette!


Workshop Notes by Marc Epstein

Concert Notes by Michael Shore


Monday, June 8TH orientation:

At the evening orientation for this exciting four-day event, Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso introduced themselves and gave a brief history of CMS workshops, which date back to 1973. The 23 participants then introduced themselves.  They are a mix of “veterans” and “newbies” to CMS workshops, and several returning participants commented that the experience is the most important and influential thing they do each year.  Day one concluded with a concert in the Roadhouse by the Guiding Artists:



This was one of those concerts where the line is blurred between the warmup and the “actual music” — where you become aware the warming up never stopped and instead transmuted into rolling waves of sound, and you realize from the casual mastery displayed by such musicians as CMS Spring 2015 Workshop Guiding Artists Karl Berger (piano, vibraphone), Omar Tamez (guitar, percussion), Ken Filiano (bass) and Warren Smith (drums) that loosening up and tuning up IS in fact music…a way of approaching and striking up a conversation with their instrument, not “as if” it’s a living partner — it IS a living partner, no less than their fellow musicians are partners.  Later, CMS Executive Director Rob Saffer will sidle over to me and whisper that just as I’d been noting how the warmup bled into those waves of sound, he’d asked the videographer if he was rolling — and the reply? “Oh, have they actually started playing?”

The extended warmup/overture finally dissolves as Karl hits on an Afro-Latin piano vamp — a handful of notes, repeated just-so with that particular rhythmic feel and emphasis Jelly Roll Morton called “the Latin Tinge,” so central to jazz syncopation — and they’re off, sailing along on Warren’s classic bop ride cymbal…Karl, rakish in a fedora, hustles across the stage to his vibes for an emphatic and exultant solo, crouching in time to the decay of sustained notes, then tapping out rapid repeated runs…a scrabbling Omar Tamez solo leads to a free interlude dominated by Omar’s assortment of sirens, whistles and bells…Karl’s stately piano ruminations morph into a vaguely Spanish vamp over which Omar peals out gorgeous sweet-sustained licks and reverbed trills…for an ecstatic and too-brief moment the whole band catches hold of a beautiful cycling groove one wishes would last all night.  Then — a brief free interlude, some reflective piano…and Piece One is over.

Piece Two starts of with Karl’s repeating piano runs, leading the foursome into a prolonged free meditation, dark and stormy like the weather outside on this rainy night.  It finally subsides for a superb bowed solo by Ken Filiano, making the bass sing in that solemn, cantorial way that the late great Ronnie Boykins had with the Sun Ra Arkestra…Warren Smith clacks out quiet patterns on the rims and shells of his drums before all subsides for Omar’s kalimba solo, Filiano rubbing the body of his bass to produce scrapes and moans — like rubbing a balloon on a flannel shirt…or like a whale sighing in its sleep.  Karl ruminates on piano, Warren taps out a steady bass drum pulse — and it’s over.

Seemingly with hardly any effort at all, these four have taken The Roadhouse on quite the sonic journey.  This, folks, is how it’s done.  Now let’s see what Guiding Artists Amir elSaffar and Steven Bernstein, and this spring’s class of participants, can bring these next few nights!


Tuesday, June 9th

The first part of every morning CMS workshop is a body movement session led by Savia Berger, which helps participants stretch and energize themselves for the day. Ingrid Sertso then leads vocal exercises which “loosen the ears” and Karl then leads a rhythm exercise based on the Gamalataki rhythm. Some of Karl’s advice to the group is:

“You need to play from the heart, not from the head, the head is too slow. Music needs to be spontaneous, not thought out.  Spontaneity cannot be practiced; you need to reconnect with it because you already have it. We need to constantly retrain our minds to be spontaneous.”

Steven Bernstein – Guiding Artist for Tuesday, June 9th

The trumpeter Steven Bernstein, a returning Guiding Artist, led the morning and afternoon sessions on the first full day of the workshop. He gave the participants philosophical and practical advice and then led them through a number of lively group musical exercises.

Bernstein has been involved with CMS since 1977 when he was fifteen years old. He shared a wealth of musical philosophy that had a number of major points, starting with the idea that there are four elements or building blocks of music. Sound is what people hear, and it’s important to “develop your sound, your tune. Next is rhythm, which is the next thing people feel and is what makes styles different, as defined by the drummer. Then comes melody, the overarching song. Finally, there is the magic of individual sound, which involves understanding sound, rhythm and melody.”

His practical advice included “never have your instrument in your case — play it when you wake up, develop a relationship with it every day, even only a few notes. You practice to get beyond your instrument. You have to love practice.”  Quoting fellow trumpeter Nicholas Payton, he added, “you practice to earn the right to make mistakes.“

He also urged the participants to “listen to all music, even music you don’t like. Learn all parts of the song. Every piece of music is a learning opportunity. That’s how you get a style, by grabbing a little bit of what the masters are doing. It’s all there ready for your taking. “
As he ran the group through classic songs like “St. Louis Blues” and “My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It,” Bernstein’s basic message was “learn the scales of every chord, and learn arpeggios. Think about your options — don’t go to the obvious. Learn to sing the drum and bass parts when you learn a tune.“ As the group ran through several songs and every participant took a solo, Bernstein explained that “these simple songs are the key to everything — complicated songs have the same chords. It’s a science where there are only so many relationships. You can use these simple songs to play almost everything. The more you hear, the more you can play. “

Most in line with CMS’ overall philosophy was his comment that “if you know where the chords are, you can bring your own internal mind to the song.”
As the group played, Bernstein had each musician play chords and he offered hints and suggestions to participants, with assistance from two other Guiding Artists, drummer Emilio Tamez and reedman Don Davis.

Bernstein’s workshop got the week off to an excellent start and you could feel the energy that he brought to the participants. His main goal was for them to find their individual style of “magic.” He said, “the things you learned that weren’t quite right, that’s important and could become your style. We all want to play like our heroes and then we play something that is not quite right, that could be our own style.” His most trenchant piece of advice was that “music is about love, that love is magic and there is science to that magic.”

Improviser’s Orchestra Workshop:

Following up on Steven Bernstein’s session, Karl Berger then brought the participants into his concept of the Improviser’s Orchestra, telling them “Our goal is to blend and harmonize, with no theatrical gestures. Keep your ears way open. Think of the whole sound, you are the whole sound. Play short, memorable phrases.” Guiding Artists Ken Filiano, Warren Smith and Steven Bernstein provided musical support as Berger, using hand signals, directed the musicians as they created a vibrant and propulsive group work, right on the spot.

Berger then led the participants in a ten-minute meditation exercise titled “Listen to the Sounds Disappearing” based on Tibetan Buddhist practice, ending a busy musical day on a peaceful note.


Tuesday, the first full day of the CMS Spring 2015 Workshop, featured two sessions in The Barn led by guiding artist Steven Bernstein — who was onstage at The Roadhouse, slide trumpet in hand and trumpet at the ready, to end the day with a concert also featuring CMS founders Karl Berger (piano, vibraphone) and Ingrid Sertso (voice) plus Guiding Artist Warren Smith (drums), CMS stalwarts Ken Filiano (bass, eyebrows) and Donny Davis (reeds), and the brothers Tamez, Omar (guitar, ocarina, digeridoo, percussion) and Emilio (drums, percussion).  Bernstein the Guiding Artist broke down music not as art but as science, with four key areas of focus: sound (not just the sound a musician makes but their personal sound on their instrument), melody, rhythm and magic.   A good grounding for sizing up the presence of all those elements, including the latter, in the music this evening.

As Bernstein had done earlier in the day as a Guiding Artist, Sertso onstage offers bracingly direct perspective on music-making with a spoken opening about words and music being her job, with the players immediately falling in line with soft yet strong prayerful accompaniment.  It builds in very controlled, deliberate fashion until Berger lays down a piano figure which, on an unseen and unspoken signal, cues a fleet freebop groove, Bernstein stepping forward to deliver an authoritative, declamatory trumpet solo, at one point holding a high note an impossibly long time (he does practice circular breathing but later says “not on that note — too high — that was just one really big breath”), Davis eventually joining in, equally fiery on alto.  Berger moves to vibes — its motor turned off to provide a bright, crisp, xylophone-like sound instead of the usual, watery vibrato. As always, his mallet-work invigorates the music, as Sertso intones “In Africa, all the women are sisters, In Africa the sun is on fire…”  The music swells as Bernstein and Davis join in a noble, improvised fanfare, while Ingrid scats rhythmically repeated hard-consonant syllables — “dugga-dugga-dugga-dugga-DAT” — highly reminiscent of the Indian singer Sheila Chandra’s Konakkol percussive vocalizing (though both Karl and Ingrid say she’s been doing it, unaware of any similar Indian style, since before Chandra began recording it in the early 1990s).  Karl taps out a repeating 6 or 7-note line on vibes — it’s his composition “Dakar Dance,” and Ingrid instantly sings wordlessly along.  It is sound, it is melody, it is rhythm, and yes, it is magic.  Sertso’s harmonizing cues the horns to join in, and the rhythm goes positively airborne, lifting the bandstand and the entire room into that particular heavenly orbit that only on-the-spot communal creativity of a very high order can achieve.  Bernstein takes wing, soaring and darting as the drummers roll and surge around Filiano’s bounding vamp, Berger’s vibes sprinkling shiny harmonic stardust over the ecstatic communion they’d just launched.  Davis steps forward with an exuberant, spiraling soprano sax solo, finally hitting on a 6-note phrase that echoes Berger’s launchpad motif again — and Karl and Bernstein pick it up immediately.  THIS is higher musical education, before our eyes and ears!  Bernstein delivers a brief, fluttering trumpet solo as the music quiets, both drummers gently clicking sticks on the rims of their toms…and as it fades to silence, Ingrid waits a perfect beat and says — “The End,” to laughter and well-deserved applause.

Piece Two begins with Omar Tamez on kalimba — giving the African thumb-piano uncommon expressiveness with exaggerated plucking motions that turn into arm-sweeps, his wide-eyed glee and forward-leaning posture engaging the other players and the audience. Davis pipes up on a small wooden flute, the drummers conjure a forest of clicks and clacks with sticks on rims again, and the ghost of CMS stalwart Don Cherry can be felt smiling down on The Roadhouse.  Warren Smith gives an object lesson in dynamics, s-l-o-w-l-y building  a rumble into a maelstrom behind Davis before switching to mallets as Berger hits the vibes for a freebop turn. Bernstein delivers a burning slide-trumpet solo as the full band roars, the clamor finally subsiding as Sertso says “My time, is your time…”  And as it fades to quiet, Sertso this time asks, rather than declares — “that’s it?  We’re done?”

Only for a moment.  Berger, Bernstein and Smith leave the stand, as Omar Tamez picks up a digeridoo to engage Filiano, brandishing a bow — and we know from last night just how skilled an arco player he is.  Davis makes this a full-on subterranean convocation, busting out a long tall contralto clarinet on which he not only hits tummy-tingling foghorn lows, but some rather astounding high-harmonics that sound frankly more like something from a brass instrument.  Omar Tamez resourcefully slices through the deep thickness with an ocarina, on which he emits eerie, sustained wails that sound far richer and more musical than one might expect from this child’s toy, while his brother Emilio rustles round his kit, Sertso telling us “Once there was a bird most beautiful, who could fly and soar — until it was seen by a man most rich…”  The piece ends as she discloses the poor bird’s untimely fate.

After a brief break, Karl announces he has a new composition to debut.  He’s joined by CMS participants Leigh Daniels and bass and Yasuno Katsuki on euphonium.  It’s a lovely, unhurried unfolding of gentleness and insistence, Katsuki pecking out some agile staccatos and Berger’s vibes dominant, featuring extra-bright notes hit with the butt ends of his mallets.  A quietly thoughtful way to end a thought-provoking day.


Wednesday, June 10th

At the morning Body Work, Vocal Workshop and Rhythm Workshop, CMS participants were energized, stretched and put into tune for another day of musical exploration.

Guiding Artist Amir ElSaffar

Trumpeter and composer Amir ElSaffar introduced Arabic music at a CMS workshop for the first time. He explained that “maqam is a general term for a modal tradition used throughout the Arab World and Central Asia to western China. It’s a tradition of melody. One of the modes was used in Ellington’s ‘Caravan.’ It goes back to the Crusades and Moorish culture in Spain.”
ElSaffar then described his musical journey. His father is Iraqi and his mother is American.  He grew up in Chicago listening to jazz and blues, with Arabic music only in the background. After playing jazz and classical music, he ended up studying with a grand master of the maqam style. He said that “my teacher was very patient and I listened to maqam for several years.  I immersed myself in it. I studied in Iraq until a few months before the invasion. There was something special about maqam for me — my cells were resonating and you had to surrender to it.”  To explain its appeal, he said, “this sound transcends cultures. It reaches what in Arabic is called tarad — the state of no boundary, where the singer, instruments and audience transcend and move upward into a sort of ecstasy. It creates a group response, like you would see at an Umm Kulthum concert.”

For the first hour, ElSaffar led the group in vocal exercises as they got comfortable with the mode he was teaching. He told the group “don’t think in terms of notes. There is no such thing as a note — think in terms of something much bigger outside of us that you’re creating.” He then gave them the lyrics in Arabic for the Iraqi song “Sleep is Unattainable” and introduced the song’s rhythm, commenting that “the most important beat is S for silence, which is given a value in this music.”

In the afternoon, ElSaffar led the group through vocal exercises and then an instrumental session, set to the hypnotic dum-tek rhythm where the pauses are positively felt, bearing out his “S for silence” instruction.  He demonstrated on trumpet the overtones he uses. “Intonation, rhythm, timbre, orchestration are all combined in this music,” he said.  As the participants repeated the piece that Amir had taught them, their sound grew in accuracy, intensity and beauty.

The day’s session ended with Karl’s Improviser’s Orchestra workshop and the “Listen to the Sounds Disappearing” exercise that concludes each day.



Can there be too much of a good thing?  Day Two of the CMS Spring Workshop ended with a bang – a whole LOT of bangs, as if it were fireworks on the Fourth of July – in the form of a marathon concert where the music just. Would. Not. Stop.   All three of this week’s Guiding Artists – Steven Bernstein, Amir ElSaffar and Warren Smith – took unforgettable star turns, while many workshop participants also made their marks.

The night began with trumpeters Bernstein and ElSaffar and drummer Smith joining CMS founders Karl Berger (vibes) and Ingrid Sertso (voice), Ken Filiano (bass), Donny Davis (reeds), Omar Tamez (guitar) and his brother Emilio (drums).   Berger invited two-time workshop participant and Official Coolest Guy In History Robert Bresnan (hey – he hired the Sun Ra Arkestra to play his wedding 20-plus years ago, okay?) to sit in on piano.   A collective rustle built as the horns and vibes entered as one, holding long clarion tones over Filiano’s driving vamp, the two trumpets spitting rapid unison lines before ElSaffar delivered a fiery, fluttering turn.  After the full band percolated behind some Sertso scat, Smith played a fractured march over which Bernstein blared a rowdy slide trumpet solo before both drummers built from a busy low boil for Berger’s vibes, to volcanic fury as the horns reunited in ferocious free harmony.  The group settled into a modal groove as Davis chanted on alto, before ending quietly.  Any jazz outfit would have been happy to call this a meaty chunk of its set.  It turned out to be mere prelude.

Next up:  Ornette Coleman’s “When Will The Blues Leave” with Berger and Bernstein stating the fleet, darting boppish melody before all three horns traded several furious 12-bar choruses, then united to baptize The Roadhouse in righteous fire.  Filiano soloed, plucking high up on the neck of his bass as Smith played soft, fast, intricate hi-hat/ride bell patterns, then all three horns faced Berger as his vibes cued their fanfare – which gave way to a thunderous double-drum feature, before the horns stepped back to the fore to reprise the theme.  The next morning, participants learned the terribly sad news that some 12 hours after we’d thrilled to “When Will The Blues Leave,” Ornette – the jazz giant who co-founded CMS, whom Karl and Ingrid say convinced them to stay in the U.S. – had left us.

Back to Wednesday’s concert, and one of the night’s highlights – everyone left the stage but Bernstein and ElSaffar, who dropped the room’s collective jaw with a dazzling display of witty, pithy telepathic togetherness, running march-derived spitfire riffs in unison, in parallel, around and against each other – before Bernstein began rudely blowing Lester Bowie-style blats, snorts and whinnies at ElSaffar’s urgent soloing.   Bernstein meandered to the back of the stage to blow into the drums, finally hitting a floor tom with a resounding thud – at which point ElSaffar began squawking and squealing back, and they began going at it that way, with as much focus and intensity as they’d given to the supersonic figures with which they’d started.  Finally, ElSaffar blew a mocking version of the familiar horse-racing posthorn call – and Bernstein could only bow in “I know when I’m licked” fashion.   Displays of genius are hardly out of the ordinary at CMS concerts – but slapstick genius?  The radiant smiles on the faces of these two friends, hugging as the crowd erupted in hoots, hollers and cheers, said it all.  Except for the part about how, aside from a big band gig a dozen or so years ago, they’d never played together.  Memo to CMS Executive Director Rob Saffer:  do NOT wait for some distant future Archive Series release – put this out on record ASAP!

“Let’s have some more conversations” Karl Berger announced, introducing a trio he called “KIK — Ken” (Filiano) “Ingrid and Karl.”  Filiano was especially striking in this context, hitting his strings with his bow to produce a percussive popping effect as Ingrid intoned “Music is an energy – like the sun…” Their second piece was a bouncy, spritely version of Karl and Ingrid’s “Africa/DakarDance,” which they’d also played last night – and again one was struck by just how terrific a bassist Filiano is, everything he plays so propulsive and responsive.

Warren Smith returned to the stage and Karl joked “now it’s KWIK!” – but he and Ingrid took a break, leaving Smith and Filiano to back Donny Davis on reeds and Omar Tamez on guitar.  Davis led the way with an Oriental meditation on wood flute, as Smith softly rustled his cymbals and Tamez emitted eerie tones from his prepared guitar, a drumstick stuck under the strings midway up the neck.  Suddenly he was on digeridoo and Davis on kalimba, as Filiano provided yet another irresistible rhythmelodic vamp.  Smith built the rhythm back up on mallets as Davis soloed sinuously on soprano sax – and before we knew it the music had built and built to such intensity that Warren Smith, 81 years young, was standing up AND GOING NUTS NOT JUST ON HIS KIT BUT ALSO ON EMILIO TAMEZ’S KIT NEXT TO HIS.  In 40-plus years of concert-going I can safely say, I’ve seen Han Bennink go to the men’s room mid-set and play the plumbing, and I’ve seen Paul Burwell play drums with rolled-up newspapers — but I have NEVER seen a drummer play TWO kits at once.  And of course, this being Warren Smith, it was completely musical.  I’m just doing the “I’m not worthy” bow in his general direction, and thanking the lord I was able to witness such a thing.

While I was finding my lower jaw on the floor, the piece was continuing – with Filiano locking into a beautiful Middle Eastern dum-tek groove (possibly inspired by the maqam piece ElSaffar had taught the participants during his workshop earlier this day) behind a tart, cliché-free Omar Tamez guitar solo.  Donny Davis joined in on alto and things got heated again darned quick, staying at a high-energy pitch for several minutes before subsiding into another Davis wood-flute interlude.   But the puckish comedy theme Bernstein and ElSaffar had introduced earlier reared its head again as Tamez suddenly appeared right over Davis’s shoulder blowing crazy birdcalls on a small whistle  – Davis shrank back in mock horror before removing his alto mouthpiece to respond with duck calls, a la John Zorn.  And still the delights kept coming, in the form of a brilliant Warren Smith drum solo – vocalizing with whoops and grunts and moans in time AND IN TUNE with his hands, then sticks, round his kit before proving his mastery of dynamics yet again, taking it down to a whisper, ending by shooing the sound off his ride cymbal as if flicking away a mosquito.    You know the drill: I’m not worthy, thanking the lord…

And still the musical conversations did not stop.  Berger, Davis (on the sepulchural contralto clarinet, as tall as he is if not taller), the brothers Tamez and CMS participant Michael Gassmann on guitar…a bass quartet with Filiano and participants Jeff Schwartz, John Dreschler and Leigh Daniels, eventually joined by participant Anne-Marie Weisner on violin as Warren Smith tapped out patterns on his plastic drinking cup in the third row…a big participant band with Weisner, vocalists Hillary Carr, Yasuno Katsuki and Chuck ver Stratten, Daniels, and guitarists Lucas Marti, Esteban Fredin, Stuart Leigh and Rick Warren – ver Stratten speaking in tongues against a chorus of sustained sighs from the women, all of it over a tinkling, twinkly tapestry of overtones from all those guitarists…

Um, Thursday?  Final night of this CMS Spring Workshop?  You’ve got your work cut out for you.


Thursday, July 11th 

Thursday had a somber start with the announcement of Ornette Coleman’s death that morning. His music has been played just a few hours earlier at Wednesday night’s Roadhouse concert and what followed was a sort of “jazz wake” for Ornette. Karl described him as a “crusader for the rights of musicians who suggested that musicians go on strike for a year to raise prices. He was tough about getting paid before playing or when he was being televised.”

Karl and Ingrid also attributed the birth of CMS to Ornette, who insisted that he and Ingrid stay in America because “you have something to say in our music.” When the Creative Music Foundation was incorporated in 1971, Ornette advised that it “should have a broad artistic spectrum” with an advisory board that included John Cage, Willem de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller and Gunther Schuller. Commenting on Coleman’s humility and humor, Karl described asking him why he never came to CMS to teach, and Ornette’s response was “people would think I know something.”

Ingrid recalled how Ornette had suffered at the start of his career. He was beaten up by other musicians but, according to Ingrid, “he never said negative things about those musicians. “  Ornette’s cousin James Jordan was head of the New York Council of the Arts and secured funding for CMS in the 1970s and 1980s. While Ornette was happy with CMS’s success, he told Karl “you do the nonprofit, I’ll do the profit.”

Guiding Artist Warren Smith

Warren Smith’s morning and afternoon sessions were in the spirit of the Improviser’s Orchestra, with his main message being, “listen outside of yourself. There is a lot of possibility if you listen outside of yourself.”  He introduced the idea of “outward concentration” where the musicians “observe everything, including the audience. Be aware of the peripheral aura.”

Smith led the group through exercises like clapping the rhythm to Leonard Bernstein’s “America” from West Side Story (he played in the pit band for that legendary Broadway show in 1958) while giving broader philosophical advice like “there are sounds out there to inspire us — birds and other sounds – let’s open up our ears” and “everybody has to be precise rhythmically.”  He taught the group vintage riff and head-arrangement techniques used by swing-era big bands, and by the afternoon, the group was swinging nicely.

Warren explained how he came upon Ornette’s composition “Lonely Woman,” which the group worked on for most of the afternoon session. “I was a bebop maniac. I first heard ‘Lonely Woman’ in a listening booth in a record store near my home in Chicago.  I said ‘I can’t buy this’ and I bought a Bill Evans record instead. Next week, I give it another chance and still couldn’t buy it. But it grabbed me a third time — something was drawing me in. I bought it, listened to it every day and it mesmerized me. I could feel the sorrow in Ornette’s melody.“  Warren’s workshop ended with a stirring and energetic version of “Lonely Woman.”

Thursday’s schedule wrapped up with Karl convening the group as the Improviser’s Orchestra and blowing a melodica to teach them the tune they’d heard at last night’s concert, Ornette’s “When Will the Blues Leave,” followed by the Tibetan meditation CMS uses to close each day. Thursday was an emotional day at the CMS Workshop that turned into a fitting tribute to a jazz giant.


Wednesday night’s concert, a marathon featuring high art, low comedy and highlight after highlight in between, left us wondering how Thursday night’s finale could possibly top it.  But any such thoughts vanished Thursday morning, as word spread through the early workshop session that Ornette Coleman — giant of American music and driving force in the creation of CMS – had left us at age 85.   The eerie irony of the CMS All-Stars playing Ornette’s “When Will The Blues Leave” Wednesday night, some 12 hours before the news came of his passing, was inescapable.   As Marc Epstein recounts on the CMS Facebook page, much of the morning was given over to Karl Berger and a visibly shaken Ingrid Sertso remembering their friend Ornette with warm, witty and wonderful stories of his singular, sweet yet uncompromising character.

Thursday night picked up where the afternoon workshop had left off, with the best form of CMS tribute to Ornette:  his music.  Guiding Artist Warren Smith painstakingly assembled a breathtaking orchestral version of what many, this writer included, consider Ornette’s greatest, most hauntingly beautiful composition, “Lonely Woman” – fresh, felt, and faithful to the original’s unforgettably stark contrast of mournful melody unfurling in long, slow notes over a soft but swift and unrelenting bebop ride-cymbal rhythm, so fast it almost seems to stand still.  Incredibly, Smith told the participants he’d planned this before the news of Ornette’s passing had broken.   Even more incredibly, he pointed out something I’d never noticed in more than three decades of loving “Lonely Woman,” of being mesmerized by it as Smith said he’d been:  the last five notes of its majestic melody are basically “a long way from home,” the last line of the great spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child.”  Could there be a more fitting requiem for Ornette than some 20-plus musicians, young to middle-aged, professional and amateur, playing this tune on this day – in the place Ornette was key to creating?

It was in that spirit that Thursday’s concert began, with no fanfare whatsoever, as Karl Berger’s meditative piano solo set up Coleman’s classic “Blues Connotation,” with Berger, Sertso, Smith, reedman Donny Davis, trumpeter and Guiding Artist Amir ElSaffar (who was driving to visit his uncle upstate but had to pull over as he passed The Roadhouse, explaining he realized he needed to be there playing one more tune before going on his way), bassist Ken Filiano, and Omar (guitar) and Emilio (drums) Tamez doing justice to its quirkily twisting yet oh-so-songful post-bop melody.   As Berger had begun the piece so he ended it, with a heated vibraphone solo, but only after a double-drum feature and an extended opportunity for Omar Tamez to show what a refreshingly distinctive and original guitarist he is – left-field and unexpected in tone, attack and conception, in a completely natural and unforced way.  He also stood out on the next tune – a reprise of Ornette’s “When Will The Blues Leave,” which Berger had the workshop band play to end Thursday’s session (and the week’s).   And what a joy to hear Warren Smith’s playing behind Tamez:  a model of taste, efficiency, logic, and dynamic control.  Emilio Tamez eventually joined in on drums, turning the heat way up, leading to an intense finale where Omar and Donny Davis wove a tintinnabulating tapestry of ringing, shrieking high notes – so different from Berger’s spontaneous workshop arrangement, which had emphasized the tune’s child-like sing-songy charm.

A free improv followed, led by Davis’s wood flute and Sertso’s scatting, with Smith on mallets and Omar Tamez on bells and whistles (no, really – literally, bells and whistles).  Ingrid brought intense emotion to what one witness, CMS supporter Lloyd Trufelman, later called “a séance” — chanting “Ornette is here with us, Ornette is here with us…”  and “Say it isn’t so, say it isn’t so…” as Davis’s gorgeous, prayerful alto solo evoked “Lonely Woman” without outright quoting it, just as “Lonely Woman” treats that line from “Motherless Child.”

Ingrid said “You know, it’s hard to make a musical celebration of the passing of a beloved friend…” before reading a brief Ornette poem.  Karl played a wonderful fast and intricate vibes line which had the distinct feel of a typical twisting, long-lined Ornette post-bop melody, Smith tapping delicate cymbal patterns as Davis’s kalimba entwined with Berger’s vibes to form a sort of mini-gamelan…and suddenly Karl was playing “Theme From A Symphony,” familiar from Coleman’s Skies of America and his landmark 1977 electric recording Dancing In Your Head, over Smith’s fast shuffle on brushed snare.  I wished it had kept going longer than it had, but too soon, it and the set were over.  It had lasted more than an hour and felt much, much faster than that.

After a break, however, Warren Smith assembled the participants to bid a public farewell to Ornette, and the week’s workshop activities and festivities, with his lovely arrangement of “Lonely Woman.”  And he asked, or actually told your correspondent — a rank amateur so out of practice he’s a virtual non-musician, who’d tried to stay out of everyone’s way at the workshops on small percussion devices (slit drum, tambourine, shakers) — to “sit at my kit while I conduct, and play some real drums for once!”  Focused as I was, in a suddenly heightened state of excitement and terror, on keeping that supersonic bebop time while trying to keep in mind Warren’s lesson that afternoon about “listening outside yourself,” I can’t provide a review – but it seemed to go okay.  Thank you, Warren Smith, for the privilege. Thank you Emilio Tamez for so graciously helping this rusty Tin Man through it.    Thank you all the other participants, and Guiding Artists Steven Bernstein and Amir ElSaffar.  Thank you Karl and Ingrid and CMS, and thank you Ornette Coleman for the music that leaves us feeling not such a long way from home after all.


Notes from Rob Saffer, CMF Executive Director 

CMS would like to thank all the participants for joining us with open minds, hearts and ears; our tireless sound scientist Matthew Cullen; our nearly invisible videographer Geoff Baer and Woodstock Films;  guiding artists Steven Bernstein, Amir ElSaffar, Warren Smith, Ken Filiano, the Tamez brothers and of course CMS co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso and their daughter Savia.

On a more personal note, this was a deeply poignant workshop, marking Ingrid’s amazing return to health and Ornette’s passing.  There was no better place to grieve and celebrate than at this workshop, surrounded by people who loved Ornette and his music, playing his compositions with heartfelt emotion on the day he died.

Ornette and I were friends and his influence on the shape of my life was huge; as I told him last year, he gave me a “strategy for living.”  In my last visit with Ornette, I asked him what he was listening to, intending to inquire about what music he was listening to. He responded, “Everything is music.”  Could there be a truer sentiment?


Participant Testimonials:

As someone who has spent much of his professional career – nearly 40 years – writing about music from the outside, as a listener, it was revelatory and insightful beyond words to get to experience music-making from the inside, musician to musician(s).

The most important things that I learned were not always in the workshops but during meal time, when we could hang out and ask questions of the guiding artists.

What is taught at a CMS workshop goes way beyond music, or at least what is generally considered music. At its core it is a system to become fully present,  to be in tune and in time through music in order to receive the gift of being full present in the moment. This is an invaluable lesson when trying to keep up to today’s frenetic and neurotic pace. What  CMS has to offer goes way beyond the musical, it’s therapeutic. Learning to explore the terse and infinite relation between silence and sound can be more healing than years of psychotherapy. It allows you to communicate through your entire being, vibrating in harmony at different frequencies, as opposed to just bricking yourself in linguistically and intellectually. This allows you to experience yourself in continuous flow with the world and the people around you; it’s organic. When the ensemble plays, the piece comes into being just ever more present than any of its individual makers/conjurers. I think that’s the magic Steve Bernstein was talking about. Healing and magic are rare gemstones in an increasingly cynical world. Experiencing this has been invaluable to me, that is why I give you my sincerest thanks.

CMS workshops always show what is most important to make music and I always rediscover why I am playing music.

The workshop was outstanding, inspiring, extremely fun, and creatively productive. It was an empowering, confidence-building experience for me as a musician and personally.  It is truly extraordinary to find oneself in such a genuinely warm, supportive, artistic environment where individual expression and group collaboration are nurtured, invited, and constantly elicited.

I feel very privileged to have worked and played with the exceptional guiding artists there as well as with my fellow workshop participants. I love the way at CMS, players of all levels are mixed together…beginning and intermediate musicians all the way up to highly professional ones. I also appreciate the way participants and guiding artists frequently play together. The musical results are amazing when we are not separated by the usual divisions of students/staff that often exist at other other schools. It feels like everyone’s creative input is valued equally, regardless of previous experience or skill level, and everyone benefits from each other’s input.

The community formed at CMS is a precious gift that I wish all people had the chance to experience. One is shepherded by fellow participants and guiding artists who have known each other for more than 30 years, so one is welcomed into a family of creative friends. The newcomers also added SO MUCH to the our group with their varied backgrounds, talents, and colorful personalities. With many participants from last year’s workshops returning this spring, connections were strengthened and the ensemble cooperation was excellent.

It’s a very supportive environment to reflect on what it is you’re trying to do in life, to receive assistance in that inquiry from others and then be able to go home with more clarity and a lot more inspiration.

CMS workshops are indescribable! It’s a gathering of people of widely varied experience in music learning together, working together to make music, to harmonize.

It’s workshop in which you get to learn about music, not in a intellectual way but in a more primal/intuitive (way deeper) level. It changes your relationship with sound. All in a really really friendly atmosphere.

Even though I’ve attended a few CMS workshops, you get to experience new things the more times you attend. You pick up different things each time.

News and Events


Creative Music Studio Workshop – Spring 2016

Featured Video

Karl Berger’s Stone Workshop Orchestra

Jack DeJohnette, Marilyn Crispell, Peter Apfelbaum, Steve Gorn, Marc Black And Many More To Perform Two Benefit Concerts Celebrate Ingrid Sertso’s Recovery

Two upcoming concerts will celebrate vocalist/poet and Creative Music Foundation co-founder Ingrid Sertso’s recovery from a four-months-long hospitalization.  Proceeds from the concerts will help to offset the staggering medical co-payments Ingrid and her family endured.

On Monday, September 28 at the Falcon in Marlboro, NY Ingrid will be joined by her husband, CMF co-founder Karl Berger (piano, vibes), Peter Apfelbaum (reeds), Joe Fonda (bass), Harvey Sorgen (drums), Steve Gorn (bansuri flute), Kenny Wessel (guitar) and other special guests.  The performance starts promptly at 7pm.

On Saturday, October 17, from 5pm – 11pm, the Kleinert James Gallery in Woodstock will host an evening party and performances to celebrate Ingrid’s recovery and to help recover costs from her medical bills. Highlights from this concert include:  Jack DeJohnette (solo piano); Woodstock Percussion founder Gary Kvistad (solo percussion); Marilyn Crispell piano with Doug James drums; Steve Gorn (flutes) with Ingrid Sertso (vocals), Karl Berger (piano/vibes) and Tani Tabbal (drums); John Menegon (bass), Teri Roiger (vocals), Ted Orr (guitar), Marc Black (vocals), Nina Sheldon (piano); and other well-known musicians from the Hudson Valley and beyond.

In December 2014, Ingrid Sertso fell and went into hospital for a brief stay. Unknown to her and her doctors, she became very ill with the MRSA virus and was in hospital until April, followed by a stay in a rehabilitation facility.  She is well on the road to recovery, performing at the Vision Festival in NYC and teaching at CMS workshops.  For those who cannot attend the benefit concerts but want to make a financial contribution, donations can be made on the Creative Music Foundation website with a note that says “For Ingrid.”

Four Concerts October 5 – 8 Offer Intimate Setting to Hear Peter Apfelbaum, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Billy Martin and Others

World-class musicians taking part in the Creative Music Studio’s Fall Workshop, including  composer/multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum, Carnatic saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and percussionist/multi-media artist Billy Martin, along with CMS co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso are participating in four concerts Monday, October 5 through Thursday, October 8 at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY. The concerts start each night at 8:30 pm in The Roadhouse, an intimate setting to see artists who often play large concert halls or festivals.   A donation of $20 to CMS is suggested at the door and seating in the Roadhouse is limited.

These concerts will also feature Ken Filiano on bass, Jenifer Shyu on vocals, and other special guest artists soon to be named. The CMS Fall Workshop performance line up is scheduled to be:


Monday October 5:  Karl Berger (piano, vibes), Ingrid Sertso (vocals), Peter Apfelbaum (drums, reeds, piano) and Ken Filiano (bass).
Tuesday, October 6: Rudresh Mahanthappa (sax), Jenifer Shyu (vocals) Karl Berger (piano, vibes), Ingrid Sertso (vocals), Peter Apfelbaum (drums, reeds, piano) and Ken Filiano (bass)
Wednesday, October 7: Billy Martin (percussion), Karl Berger (piano, vibes), Ingrid Sertso (vocals), Peter Apfelbaum (drums, reeds, piano) and Ken Filiano (bass).
Thursday, October 8 Billy Martin (percussion), Karl Berger (piano, vibes), Ingrid Sertso (vocals), Peter Apfelbaum (drums, reeds, piano) and Ken Filiano (bass).


Directions or information about the Full Moon Resort is available by calling 845.254.5117. More information about the Creative Music Studio’s Fall Workshop is here.


Like CMS workshops held at the Full Moon Resort in 2013, the Creative Music Studio’s Spring Workshop will feature four days of intensive workshops, master classes, concerts and informal jam sessions that inspire deep listening, personal expression, improvisation and musical exploration. Musicians of any instrument, including voice, are welcome as are non-musicians.  Adults who played music earlier in their lives can benefit from this lifelong learning opportunity that offers participants a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from and play with music masters, and to simply spend time with them in an informal, personal setting.


CMS Workshop Guiding Artists and concert performers in 2013 – 15 included Vijay Iyer, Dave Douglas, John Medeski, Henry Threadgill, Joe Lovano, Marty Ehrlich, John Hollenbeck, Amir elSaffar, Warren Smith, Oliver Lake, Don Byron, Tyshawn Sorey, Peter Apfelbaum, Tony Malaby, Cyro Baptista, Marilyn Crispell, Steven Bernstein, Jason Hwang, Kirk Knuffke, Kenny Wessel, Steve Gorn, Mark Helias, Tom Rainey, Thomas Buckner, Judi Silvano, Harvey Sorgen, Tani Tabbal, Ken Filiano, Badal Roy, Omar Tamez, and John Menegon, in addition to Creative Music Foundation co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso.

CMS To Be Focus of Five-Hour WKCR “Jazz Profile” on Sunday, October 25
The Creative Music Studio and its archive of over 550 rare recordings will be the subject of a five hour “Jazz Profile” on WKCR-FM on Sunday, October 25 from 2:00 pm (ET) – 7:00 pm (ET).  Hosted by Kat Whatley and featuring live interviews with Steven Bernstein and Peter Apfelbaum, the program can be heard on 89.9 FM in the NYC area and streamed online via and the Tune-In radio app.  WKCR is the radio station of Columbia University, which has acquired and is housing the CMS Archive for posterity. Bernstein and Apfelbaum are intimately involved with CMS, having first come as teenagers in the late 1970s and currently teaching at CMS Workshops.