S1. E18. Akropolis
April 28, 2021
Clarinetist and saxophonist Kari and Matt Landry of the Akropolis Reed Quintet join the Soundweavers team to discuss their approach to growing the repertoire for a new ensemble through arrangements and commissions—and their work publishing and sharing this music through their website. Kari and Matt share their excitement about forming collaborations that generate new perspectives, create new sounds, and stretch genres. They talk about teaching composition and premiering students' works through their engagement programs in Detroit. We chat about the challenges of elitism in the music world and the need to make space for meaningful, beautiful, and challenging music for untrained musicians. Kari and Matt describe the fundamental importance of organizational transparency and their strategies for succeeding as a small nonprofit. We wrap with a discussion about the need for self-reflection and commitment to your dreams in the pursuit of career success.
Celebrating their 12th year and hailed by Fanfare Magazine for their “imagination, infallible musicality, and huge vitality,” the Akropolis Reed Quintet was founded in 2009 at the University of Michigan and has won seven national chamber music prizes including the Fischoff Gold Medal and Fischoff Educator Award. The San Francisco Chronicle dubbed Akropolis’ recent third album release, The Space Between Us, “pure gold.”
A nonprofit organization supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and numerous foundations and individuals nationwide, Akropolis delivers more than 120 annual performances and workshops. Current projects include a collaboration with Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Pascal Le Boeuf, and Christian Euman, touring drummer for Grammy Award-winning artist Jacob Collier. Akropolis is collaborating with BodyVox Dance on a full-length music and dance production celebrating the 1920s and the fight for suffrage. In June 2021 they will premiere a new work by Annika Socolofsky in collaboration with video artist, XUAN, celebrating diversity in small businesses around America. Their 4th album, Ghost Light, will be released on April 9, 2021 on New Focus Recordings.
Akropolis’ 2019-20 season featured 10 commissions including Storm Warning, the first concerto for reed quintet and wind band by Roshanne Etezady; Homage to Paradise Valley by Jeff Scott with support from the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Fund, celebrating the history of Detroit’s razed Black neighborhoods; and Sprocket, for reed quintet and rideable percussion bicycle by Steven Snowden.
Akropolis has premiered more than 100 new works by students and professionals and was selected to adjudicate and premiere the 2018 Barlow Prize funded by the Barlow Endowment. Akropolis’ members are the first of any reed quintet to judge major chamber music competitions including the Fischoff Junior (2018 and 2021) and Chamber Music Yellow Springs (2019) competitions.
Each June in Detroit, Akropolis presents its own 16-event festival, Together We Sound, featuring multidisciplinary collaborators, a workplace concert series, and educational outreach. Akropolis reaches more than 5,000 K-12 students annually, including a school year-long residency with students at three Detroit high schools.
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