Impulse Festival Concert 1 - Origins

with UVA Baroque Ensemble, UVA Jazz Small Group Stephanie Nakasian and Swaraprabha Indian Vocal Ensemble, with Nirmal Bajekal
January 26, 2018 - 8:00pm
Old Cabell Hall
Free and Open to the Public

The first concert in the Impulse Festival, entitled "ORIGINS" takes place on Friday, January 26, 2018 at 8pm in Old Cabell Hall.  This free concert includes performances by the UVA Baroque Music Orchestra, UVA Small Jazz Group with guest vocalist Stephanie Nakasian, Swaraprabha Hindustani Classical Indian Vocal Ensemble with Nirmal Bajekal - voice, and Mayuresh Abhyankar - tabla.

Improvisation is a key part of many traditional musical forms. Players know the chords, scales, melodies and rhythms, and put their own voice into them. ORIGINS features three stylistically different traditional musical groups, each of which calls on players to use improvisation in unique ways: European Baroque music, jazz and Hindustani Classical Indian music.

UVA Baroque Orchestra - directed by David Sariti

The Baroque Orchestra, directed by faculty violinist David Sariti, presents dynamic, vital performances of music from the 17th and 18th centuries with the instruments and performance practices for which it was writ- ten, without a conductor. The experience will challenge preconceived notions of music performance, and build musicianship and listening skills. Period instruments at Baroque pitch from the University’s extensive collection are used, and students receive personal instruction on their specific techniques.

The “Classical” musician of the 17th-18th centuries was a versatile breed. The lines we draw today between performers, composers, and scholars were much less clearly defined; the well-rounded musician was expected to be able to perform on one or more instruments, think about music (theory), and create music. Foremost was that most spontaneous creative process of all, improvisation. We’ll illustrate several of the ways in which improvisation is central to the performance of Early Music, including figured bass realization, ornamentation, and the practice of Divisions. —David Sariti


UVA Small Jazz Group with guest vocalist Stephanie Nakasian - directed by Pete Spaar

Stephanie Nakasian is a world-renowned jazz vocalist, author and teacher of vocal improvisation. Her jazz style is compared to Ella Fitzgerald, June Christy and Rosemary Clooney and her improvisation workshops are popular with students from elementary school through professional levels and teacher training seminars around the U.S. and in Europe. Her performances as a headliner include the Kennedy Center, Lincoln center and the Northsea Jazz Festival,

Jazz is the American art form defined by improvisation, and the small jazz combo is built on improvisational interaction between the musicians. Players interpret the harmony de ned by a song’s melody and chords, with each player creating their parts in response to what’s happening around them, and taking turns as a soloist.

The small jazz groups at UVA are student ensembles “coached” by jazz faculty.

“I find Indian music very funky. I mean it’s very soulful, with their own kind of blues. But it’s the only other school on the planet that develops improvisation to the high degree that you and in jazz music. So we have a lot of common ground.” —Mahavishnu John McLaughlin


Swaraprabha Hindustani Classical Indian Vocal Ensemble with Nirmal Bajekal - voice, and Mayuzsh Abhyankar - tabla

Hindustani Classical music performances can be divided into two parts, the first part, Alaap, is largely melodic where the performer has the ability to express greater creativity. In the second part the rhythmic accompaniment of drums/Tabla shows how skillfully the performer improvises and innovates within the structure of specific beat cycles. The seven notes of the music scale are combined in a myriad of different ways while maintaining the rigors of Raga and Tala, one may compare to looking at the various permutations and combinations of designs using seven colors when seen through a kaleidoscope.

Ms. Bajekal is a Hindustani (North Indian classical) vocalist and disciple of the renowned singer Padma Bushan Dr Prabha Atre. Ms. Bajekal is the founder of the Indian Music School in Richmond, and established the first overseas center affiliated with Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva University (Mumbai, India). She has also taught at Reed College (Oregon), Lewis and Clark College (Oregon), and the University of Richmond. Since September 2015, she has led Swaraprabha at UVA, an ensemble of student and faculty performers.

For a complete schedule of Impulse Festival events for the Golden Quintet residency, please see: Tickets for the Wadada Leo Smith and the Golden Quintet concert are available from the UVA Box Office, All other listed events are free and open to the general public.

Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA's historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda (map). Parking is available in the Central Grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Road, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner. 

The Impulse Festival is sponsored by the following UVA entities: Arts Administration program, Arts Council, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences’ Collective Response: Moving Forward committee, McIntire Department of Art, McIntire Department of Music, Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts, Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity, President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, University Programs Council, and WTJU Radio.  Generous support was given by The Acquavella Family, Charlottesville Jazz Society, Gassmann Fund for Innovation in Music, Hampton Inn and Suites, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.




UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176