The New School for
Jazz and Contemporary Music

The Sun Ra Arkestra Ensemble

For years the music of Sun Ra was only available to those brave enough to spend time in his Arkestra. A master composer, arranger, bandleader, and pianist, Sun Ra and his works are overdue for critical attention by music students. Sun Ra compositions give students a range of challenges with music of odd intervals covering territory from ballads to swing and beyond. In the Sun Ra Arkestra Ensemble, compositions are rehearsed in a very unusual big band format. They are presented in a unique style that offers an understanding of the philosophical underpinnings that gave rise to the music. His lyrics, speaking of space travel and a planet without cemeteries, challenge students to expand their horizons and understanding of art music. The multidisciplinary vision that combines poetry, music, and dance with lyrics, characteristic of the Sun Ra legacy, is allowed to develop within this ensemble class. Final enrollment is at the discretion of the instructor. 1–2 credits (Spring only)

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