LEWISTON – Grammy-Award winning cellist Eugene Friesen will return to Bates College with pianist Tim Ray for a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Olin Arts Center.

Friesen, a graduate of the Yale School of Music, is active as a performer, composer, teacher and recording artist.

His gift for improvisatory music has been featured in concerts all over the world with the Paul Winter Consort, Trio Globo and with poets Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Coleman Barks. He has performed as a soloist at the International Cello Festival in Manchester, England; Rencontres d’Ensembles de Violoncelles in Beauvais, France; and at the World Cello Congress in Baltimore.

His composition credits include five albums of original music: “Sono Miho,” “In the Shade of Angels,” “New Friend,” “Arms Around You” and “The Song of Rivers”; “Grasslands,” a symphony premiered on the Kansas prairie in 1997; “Earth Requiem: Stories of Hope,” an oratorio first performed in 1991; “The Brementown Musicians” with Bob Hoskins for Rabbit Ears Productions in 1992; “Sabbaths,” settings of poems by Wendell Berry premiered in Vermont in 1999; and numerous scores for documentary films.

He received a Grammy as a member of the Paul Winter Consort for the 1994 album “Spanish Angel.”

His latest CD, “Sono Miho,” is a collection of improvised pieces recorded last February in the Miho Museum of Japan, which was designed by I.M. Pei. He is joined on the project by guitarist Jody Elff and Koji Nakamura on the taiko drums.

Lovett, and all that jazz

Performing with Friesen will be Tim Ray, who has been Lyle Lovett’s pianist for the past 13 years as well as an active jazz artist since 1978.

He also performs with leading jazz musicians in the New York and New England areas, including Gary Burton, Scott Hamilton, Oliver Lake, Harvie Swartz, John Abercrombie, Bucky Pizzarelli, Duke Robillard, George Garzone, and Tiger Okoshi. Ray regularly performs, records and tours with vocalists Donna Byrne, Mili Bermejo and Lisa Thorson, and with Cercie Miller’s quartet from the Boston area. His numerous tours have included shows throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and included performances at Carnegie Hall, the White House and many major jazz festivals in the United States, Canada and Central America.

He recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and has performed numerous times on “The Tonight Show” (during Johnny Carson’s and Jay Leno’s tenure), “Late Night with David Letterman” and other national broadcasts.

He’s appeared on more than 50 recordings and released his first CD as a leader in 1997, “Ideas & Opinions,” featuring drummer Lewis Nash and bassist Rufus Reid. His second CD was released in 2003, “Tre Corda,” with Greg Hopkins on trumpet and Friesen on cello.

Ray, who received his master’s degree in jazz from the New England Conservatory, taught as an assistant professor at the Berklee College of Music until 1997.


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