CULTURE

Django Bates, Britten Sinfonia: Jazz far from the beaten path

When Django Bates went to the Royal Academy of Music in England to study composition, he stuck it out for two weeks before deciding he wanted something less conventional that would come from within. Following studies in piano, violin and trumpet, the now 42-year-old composer and musician went on to use the inspiration he drew from listening to his father’s music collection of Romanian folk, African music and jazz, in freelance composing, turning out hybrid jazz/Indian/pop pieces, the most recent of which are «My Dream Kitchen» for Evelyn Glennie, «Fine Frenzy» for the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, a piano concerto, «What it’s Like to be Alive» for Joanna MacGregor, and music for the Circus Umbilicus, a circus orchestra of which he is a member. British-born Bates won the «Nobel» of jazz awards in 1997 with the Danish Jazzpar Prize, while in 2000, he conducted the European Jazz Youth Orchestra on a European tour. He has performed, and continues to perform, worldwide with his quartet Human Chain. On Monday, the capital’s jazz lovers will have the opportunity to see Bates in action as he and Human Chain make a stop at the Athens Concert Hall. Adding to the performance is the accompaniment of the Britten Sinfonia, who, according to The Times, «regularly [go] to places in music no other British ensemble have reached.» Formed in 1992, this ensemble has a rich resume including workshops around the UK, children’s activities, radio work, festival appearances, children’s educational programs and a long list of premieres for contemporary composers such as Bates, David Matthews, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Ray Davies of the Kinks and John Woolrich. On Monday at the Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 210.728.2000.