This fall is Harper and Miyake’s 2nd collaboration. They are SGI Buddhists who met at the Florida Nature & Culture Center in September 2016. They resolved to perform together the next year. In September 2017, Miyake came from New York for a five-concert tour with Harper and his musical friends. They recorded their first CD “ Before Dawn” at the end of the tour.
The theme of this year’s tour “ Ending the war on trees,” is a reflection on the current conditions of humans and nature; a call to action to transform the dynamic of mindless consumption and destruction to one of appreciation and sustainability. Some compositions have solemn messages “ Forgotten Forests” and “Kids who Hate Trees”. There is also hope in works such as” The Green Belt,” dedicated to Wangari Maathai, Kenyan Ecologist/ Activist/ Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and founder of the Green Belt Movement. There will be 7 new works presented in the series, with both composed and invented aspects.
Todd Harper is the son of an ecologist, high school biology teacher Herbert Harper. It’s a theme the younger Harper is never far from, as seen in compositions such as: The Power of Rivers (for nonet, 1997) The River Inside of Trees (art song cycles for soprano Kim Sueoka 2010) Bear and Rabbit Want the Same Apple (jazz opera, 2009). Harper has performed at various venues, including: The Walker Arts Center, First Avenue, Patrick’s Cabaret, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Northern Spark Festival, and Studio Z. His compositions have been performed by the Temporal Mechanics Union percussion ensemble, Dr. Michael Jorgenson, Bill Banfield’s B Magic Orchestra, and the Edgewild players of Bigfork. Harper has co-collaborated with pianists/composers Paul Cantrell & Carei Thomas, for a 16 year annual concert “ Keys Please”.
Recently Harper has been focused on creating new works for mid sized ensembles, which combine structure and adequate room for invention/exploration by the players.
Jun Miyake is a flutist and saxophonist born in Toyo’oka in Hyogo Japan. He is a graduate of the An Jazz School of Kyoto and studied woodwinds privately with Kenji Mori. He accomplished honors in flute study at Berklee College of Music with Matt Marvgulio. He piloted an ensemble that toured the Northeast named Groove Merchant in the late 1990’s. He plays regularly on the upper West Side of Manhattan in addition to making occasional re-visits to Japan, sharing his gifts.