Hosted by Composers Now founder and artistic director Tania León, Dialogues No. 11 celebrates Bronx composers Oliver Caplan, Mimi Jones, Huang Ruo, and Hilliard Greene who is joined by The Jazz Expressions (TK Blue, saxophone and flute; Dwayne (Cook) Broadnax, drums; and Sharp Radway, keyboard). Followed by thought-provoking town hall-style conversations, a forum for meaningful exchanges of ideas, between composers, performers, and audiences, the event is co-presented with Bronx Arts Ensemble and Van Cortlandt Park Alliance.
Dialogues is a concert series initiative of Composers Now, hosted by Tania León, founder and artistic director of the advocacy organization for living composers. It turns a spotlight on the intriguing creators working with today’s sounds with performances followed by thought-provoking town hall-style conversations, a forum for meaningful exchanges of ideas, between composers, performers and audiences.
Canciones de Monteverde for string quartet (2020) – Oliver Caplan
Peformed by the Bronx Arts Ensemle String Quartet
The Black Madonna Project (2018) – Mimi Jones
commissioned by Bronx Arts Ensemble premiered in February 2018
Mimi Jones on Bass, Roy Ben Bashat on Guitar, Zach Brown on Cello, Koleby Royston on Drums
A Dust In Time (a passacaglia for string quartet – short version) (2020) – Huang Ruo
Peformed by the Bronx Arts Ensemle String Quartet
Me Long Go & Jah Bop
Hilliard Greene and the Jazz Expressions
Hilliard Greene, bass; TK Blue, saxophone and flute; Dwayne (Cook) Broadnax, drums; and Sharp Radway, keyboard
Conversation with Tania León and composers
Award-winning composer Oliver Caplan writes melodies that nourish our souls, offering a voice of hope in an uncertain world. Mr. Caplan’s works have been performed in over 175 performances nationwide. He has been commissioned by the Atlanta Chamber Players, Bella Piano Trio and Bronx Arts Ensemble, among others. Winner of a Special Citation for the American Prize in Orchestral Composition, additional recognitions include Veridian Symphony Competition Wins and the Fifth House Ensemble Competition Grand Prize. His 2017 album You Are Not Alone was featured on Apple Music’s Classical A-list and has been streamed over 200,000 times. Mr. Caplan is the Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble. (www.olivercaplan.com)
Mimi Jones (born Miriam Sullivan in New York City to parents from Barbados) was raised in the Bronx. Jones grew up listening to a variety of music including Al Green, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Earth, Wind & Fire, and more. She took up the guitar at the age of twelve, studying classical guitar with her first music instructor, James Bartow, at the Harlem School of the Arts. She also studied percussion, songwriting, voice, drums, and dance. Jones switched to cello after being accepted at the famed LaGuardia High School of Music and Art because the school had no guitar teacher at that time. Band director Justin DiCioccio heard her messing around with an acoustic bass and recruited her to play in the school jazz band, which at the time included budding young lions such as Abraham Burton, Eric McPherson, Walter Blanding Jr., and Michael Leonhart.
The Jazz Expressions was launched by famed jazz balladeer Jimmy Scott as his backup band. With his urging and blessing, it has flourished with Hilliard Greene as its music director and bassist since 1994. His collaborators are: TK Blue, saxophone and flute; Dwayne (Cook) Broadnax, drums; and Sharp Radway, keyboard.
Bronx-based Hilliard Greene began composing at grade school age and never plans to stop. With formal training from master composer James Forte and vast experience as an improviser, he has developed a composition style and format of musical pieces that are notated and improvised simultaneously. Several of his compositions are commercially recorded and the song Jah Bop ranked number one in the Be-bop category @ MP3.com. He has performed and recorded with Cecil Taylor where he was Concertmaster for his group “Phtongos”. He has also worked with Gloria Lynne, James Carter, Frank Lacy, The Ink Spots, Rashied Ali, Leroy Jenkins, Vanessa Rubin, Electric Symphony, Charles Gayle, Jack Walrath, Don Pullen, Dave Douglas, Bobby Watson, Greg Osby, Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, John Hicks, Roy Campbell, Barry Atchual and the Vanguard Orchestra. He has been teaching private students and classes for over 25 years and is twice a recipient of the Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) Award. (www.hilliardgreene.com)
TK Blue enjoys extensive touring, performing, teaching, and studies with many jazz greats, TK’s music shows a rich absorption of diverse music and cultural influences. He worked for a quarter of a century with Randy Weston as his musical director on countless tours, recordings, concerts, radio and television appearances. TK Blue (aka Talib Kibwe) was born in NYC of a Trinidadian mother and Jamaican father. His studies came early at age 8 with trumpet. The Jazzmobile in NYC gave him training in jazz theory and performance, studying with Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Jimmy Owens, Thad Jones and Billy Taylor.
Dwayne (Cook) Broadnax, born in Philadelphia but a longtime Brooklyn resident, studied at Berklee College of Music and went on to work with many musical greats, including Kevin Eubanks, Eartha Kitt, Illinois Jacquet, Savion Glover, and a 14-year run with the legendary Little Jimmy Scott. Broadnax has worked in film (Spike Lee’s Malcolm X), television (“Madame Secretary”); has toured Europe and Japan; and has played for 3 presidential inaugurations. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Long Island University and a proud father of two children.
Sharp Radway is a pianist, composer, arranger and author who is a native of Hartford, Connecticut and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. He is a self-taught pianist whose roots can be found in the church. As a jazz pianist he has played throughout the country and abroad. Among the recording artists whom he has worked and/or recorded with are Bucky Pizzarelli, Yusef Lateef, Benny Golson, Slide Hampton, Steve Turre, Diane Schuur, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Kevin Mahogany, Nnenna Freelon, James Spaulding, Vincent Herring, Louis Hayes, Candido, and Winard Harper to name a few. In addition to playing the piano he is also a prolific composer and arranger who has composed and arranged for renowned recording artists such as Greg Tardy and The Celebration of Lionel Hampton Big Band. Some of his main influences as a pianist are Bud Powell, Red Garland, Thelonious Monk, McCoy Tyner, and Ahmad Jamal. Radway is the author of the book “Musicianship 101 (What They Don’t Tell You In School)”, published by Outskirts Press, and on faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.
Composers Now empowers all living composers, celebrates the diversity of their voices and honors the significance of their artistic contributions to the cultural fabric of society.
Composers Now provides opportunities in the form of concerts, commissions, creative residencies, mentorship and professional development, video documentation, promotion, and networking forums to further living composers’ creativity, advance their careers, celebrate their successes, and build audiences for their work.
The organization embodies diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its dimensions — not only in the living composers the organization advocates on behalf of, but also across historical and cultural influences, genres, styles, collaborations that engage artists in other disciplines, the use of technologies, in traditional venues, non-traditional performance spaces and on virtual platforms.
Founder and artistic director Tania León leads the organization since 2010. Symphony Space served as an incubator for the development of the Composers Now Festival. The Fund for the City of New York invited Composers Now to become a project partner in 2013. Amy Roberts Frawley served as the first Program Director from 2013 to 2017. Mary G. Madigan served as Executive Director from June 2017 to December 2019. Composers Now became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in May 2019. Béatriz Hernández joined as Executive Producer in December 2019.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Tania León is highly regarded as a composer, conductor, educator, and advisor to arts organizations. She is a recipient of the 2022 Kennedy Center Honors, along with fellow honorees George Clooney, Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, and U2. Her orchestral work Stride, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, was awarded the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Her most recent honors are being named the Debs Creative Chair for Carnegie Hall’s 2023/24 season and as composer-in-residence for the London Philharmonic for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons.