By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Jazz saxophonist David Pope will present "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall of the Weis Music Building at Bucknell University.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University's ongoing Gallery Series of both world music and experimental new music concerts, funded by the Bucknell department of music.
The piece is a set of meditations on the internal experiences of consciousness. The entire composition is performed while seated on the floor, using Asian flutes, African drums, saxophone and Tibetan-style overtone chanting.
The individual movements begin with the ringing of a Tibetan singing bowl, followed by a number of Tingsha (small Tibetan cymbal) strikes corresponding to the sequence of Roman numerals.
The first four stages involve the dissolution of the physical body into the four elements: earth, water, fire and wind. When the flame of life is exhausted, its light is replaced by the constant, luminous glow of consciousness. The final four stages represent the journey into a perfect awareness of reality, free from illusion or duality.
Professor of saxophone at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., since 2000, Pope is an active concert and jazz saxophonist who has presented performances and clinics throughout the United States and Europe. A composer and author, he has penned the regular column, "Creative Jazz Improvisation," in Saxophone Journal since 1995.
In 2011, he was featured on two recordings: Ted Wiprud's "Fire In Heaven and Earth" (Albany Records) and Matt Smiley's "Quartet Art" (Dazzle Recordings). He is an authority on multiphonic techniques and has publications with Hal Leonard and Dorn. He is a former student of Lynn Klock and Yusef Lateef (UMASS, Amherst), Fred Sturm (Eastman School of Music), and Gary Keller (University of Miami). He also blogs about effective practice techniques for musicians as Practice Monster.
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