Steve Lehman Octet
Named a Rising Star on the alto saxophone four years in a row by the Downbeat Magazine International Critics Poll, acclaimed by publications from The Wire to The New York Times, Steve Lehman is a saxophonist and composer whose multilayered work stands at the frontiers of contemporary music. He marries the esoteric math- and computer-driven compositional principles of “spectral harmony” to the looseness and fluidity of jazz. Lehman will be playing with his handpicked octet, whose luscious smears of horns and vibraphone float over a sizzling rhythm section.
Steve Lehman (b. New York City, 1978) is a composer, performer, educator, and scholar who works across a broad spectrum of experimental musical idioms.Lehman’s pieces for large orchestra and chamber ensembles have been performed by the Janacek Philharmonic, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), So Percussion, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, members of the Argento and Wet Ink Ensembles, and by the pianist Marilyn Nonken. An alto and sopranino saxophonist, Lehman has performed and recorded nationally and internationally with his own ensembles and with those led by Anthony Braxton, Dave Burrell, Mark Dresser, Vijay Iyer, Oliver Lake, Meshell Ndegeocello, David Wessel, and High Priest of Anti-Pop Consortium. His recent electro-acoustic music has focused on the development of computer-driven models for improvisation, based in the Max/MSP programming environment. Lehman’s work has been favorably reviewed in The Wire, The New York Times, and Downbeat Magazine, among others, and on National Public Radio and the BBC. As a Fulbright scholar in France during the 2002-2003 academic year, Lehman began researching the reception of African-American experimental composers working in France during the 1970s, and was invited to teach a weekly undergraduate course on current trends in improvised music at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. His article in the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation, I Love You with an Asterisk: African-American Experimental Composers and the French Jazz Press, 1970-1980, is based on his Fulbright research. Lehman received his B.A. (2000) and M.A. in Composition (2002) from Wesleyan University where he studied under Anthony Braxton and Alvin Lucier, while concurrently working with Jackie McLean at the Hartt School of Music. He completed post-graduate studies in Orchestration and Saxophone Performance at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (2003), where he studied with François Thébèrge and Claude Delangle. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Music Composition at Columbia University where he is a departmental fellow and studies under Tristan Murail, George Lewis, and Fabien Levy. Lehman has taught undergraduate courses at Columbia University, The Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, The New School, and Wesleyan University, and lectured at Amherst College, The Berklee School of Music, CalArts, The School for Improvisational Music, and UC Irvine.
“Music of genuinely visionary importance, a way forward to the art.”
— Penguin Guide to Jazz
“Superb…immediately gripping…perfectly ultramodern.”
— The New York Times
“One of the most exciting saxophone voices on the current scene.”
— The Wire
“Astonishing…If you listen more than once – and you should try – the brainy music of Lehman constantly reveals layer after layer of fresh and inventive progressive sounds that should turn any sensibilities about face.”