New Geller Jazz Concert Series set to open at Clark with legendary bassist Ron Carter, other greats

Ron Carter, jazz hall of famer and among the most-recorded bassists in jazz history, will perform at Clark University on March 12, the inaugural concert of the Geller Jazz Concert Series.(Photo: Fortuna Sung) Ron Carter, jazz hall of famer and among the most-recorded bassists in jazz history, will perform at Clark University on March 12, the inaugural concert of the Geller Jazz Concert Series.

The Visual & Performing Arts Department at Clark University has received a generous gift from The Estate of Selma Geller, which establishes a biannual jazz concert series that will pair new and emerging artists with jazz legends and support audience development programming.

The Geller family’s enthusiasm for jazz inspired their gift to Clark, which will support two concerts a year. Their key goal “is that Clark not only features a fabulous performer, but that the series does as much as it can to encourage people to participate, and to educate people on the significance and achievements of jazz,” said Clark professor of music Matt Malsky.

The inaugural Geller Jazz Concert will feature world-renowned bassist Ron Carter, who will perform with two bands. Opening will be the Juilliard Jazz Quartet with Carter, Frank Kimbrough (piano), Ron Blake (saxophones), and Carl Allen (drums). The second set will feature the hard-swinging trio of Carter with Donald Harrison (saxophone) and Billy Cobham on drums.

This exceptional lineup will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at Razzo Hall, in the Traina Center for the Arts, 92 Downing Street. Tickets will be $25; $10 with a Clark ID, and will be on sale starting Feb. 1.

Please visit ClarkArts on Facebook for further details, or contact the Visual & Performing Arts Department at 508-793-7113.


Clark University professor of music Matt Malsky Clark University professor of music Matt Malsky

“Jazz really deserves and needs to be supported in a tangible way, and the best way to do that is to introduce a generation of college students to the best that jazz can offer,” Malsky said. Carter is certainly one of the best that jazz offers, he noted, arguably the greatest jazz legend working today.

Selma Geller was a New York City philanthropist who died in 2007. She was deeply concerned about the lack of musical educational opportunities available to the current generation of students. Her gifts to Clark University for music scholarships and musical performances are a testament to her desire to bring the original American musical art form to the Clark community.

Programming details are still in development, Malsky noted. But last September, as a sneak preview of things to come under the auspices of the Geller gift, the V&PA Department organized a performance by The Noah Preminger Quartet with Ben Monder. Preminger, a Brooklyn-based saxophonist, and his band played to an appreciative audience outside of Jonas Clark Hall.

Plans include an exhibit by Jimmy Katz, a New York-based photographer who has been documenting the New York jazz scene for many years. The University’s music program also is looking forward to the possibility of hosting Carter for a residency program and master classes. Students from local Worcester public schools would be involved as well.

Malsky recounts influential jazz-related moments from his own undergraduate experience, such as when his school received an archival and experiential gift from the estate of Louis Armstrong. Malsky had the opportunity to witness jazz legends at their greatest. “It’s a life-changing experience for those that get to experience it, especially if you already come with a knowledge and interest in jazz,” he said. “My hope is that this new series at Clark will change some students’ lives in some ways. For a large number I hope it will be an eye-opening, broadening experience.”

Here are some upcoming V&PA musical events to watch for:

  • Noon Friday, February 14 | John and Kay Bassett Admissions Center

PETER SULSKI faculty concert

Violin/Viola Solo Recital J.S. Bach: The Complete Solo String Works, Part Six

Peter Sulski was a member of the London Symphony Orchestra for seven years. While in England, he served on the faculty of the Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music and Drama. He is currently on the faculty as teacher of violin/viola/chamber music at Clark University and College of the Holy Cross.

  • 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 19 | Razzo Hall, Traina Center for the Arts 


An Evening with Haydn at the Fortepiano

Sylvia Berry will present a recital of Haydn’s late keyboard works. The program will include Haydn’s final three sonatas, which were composed in London in the mid-1790s for two female pianists he befriended during his English sojourns. These works present Haydn’s musical thought at its most splendid and varied and show Haydn experimenting with the English pianos of that time, which were very different from the Viennese pianos to which he was accustomed. Berry will perform on a remarkable instrument, a Broadwood and Son fortepiano built in London in 1806 and fully restored by Dale Munschy in 2011. This event promises to be an evening of brilliant music rendered on an instrument built by a man Haydn knew personally. This concert follows a presentation by Berry and Munschy titled “Recapturing the Ravishing Tonal Expression of 17th- and 18th-Century Keyboard Music.”

  • 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 21 | Razzo Hall, Traina Center for the Arts 



A sonic hurricane! Keith Kirchoff presents new works for the piano with electronics and video. Started in 2009, the project has commissioned more than twenty different composers, and the program has been presented throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Germany, and England. The program will include the premiere of a new musical score by Matt Malsky for the 1928 Charley Bowers silent comedy "Egged On."


Founded in 1887 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Clark University is a small, liberal arts-based research university addressing social and human imperatives on a global scale. Nationally renowned as a college that changes lives, Clark is emerging as a transformative force in higher education today. LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) is Clark’s pioneering model of education that combines a robust liberal arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences. Clark’s faculty and students work across boundaries to develop solutions to complex challenges in the natural sciences, psychology, geography, management, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. The Clark educational experience embodies the University’s motto: Challenge convention. Change our world.

- by Daniel Deutsch BA'13, MSPC '14