Creative Music Studio to celebrate its 40th anniversary

Karl Berger (photo by Dion Ogust)

Woodstock’s Creative Music Studio (CMS) avoids such self-descriptions as “experimental,” “avant-garde” and “revolutionary” in its literature, preferring to emphasize the cross-cultural universality of music and such kernel virtues as “keen awareness,” “personal expression” and “intensive listening.” There can be little question, however, that CMS is one the world’s foremost incubators of radical, experimental and norm-challenging music and musical thought.

CMS was founded 40 years ago by saxophonist Ornette Coleman, composer and pianist/vibraphonist Karl Berger and avant-garde vocalist Ingrid Sertso. Berger and Sertso remain intimately involved in the project. The list of “Guiding Artists” – CMS’s term for teachers and workshops leaders – reads like a comprehensive Who’s Who of outsiders, revolutionaries and envelope-pushers; and not just in jazz, or in music alone. Names such as Buckminster Fuller, Allen Ginsberg and John Cage sit alongside those of progressive jazz legends like Don Cherry, Carla Bley, Jimmy Giuffre, Dave Holland, John Zorn and probably whatever avant-garde legend whose name you feel like adding. They’ve all been here.

CMS workshops, however, are not geeked-out jazz trade conferences; they are more about cultivating awareness and communication via the practice and philosophy of music, and they are open to non-musicians and musicians of all interests and instruments. CMS celebrates its 40th anniversary with an Intensive Workshop from May 20 to 24 at the Full Moon Resort, just west of Woodstock. “Guiding Artists” confirmed to attend include trumpeters Dave Douglas and Steven Bernstein, saxophonist Oliver Lake, reedist Don Byron, pianist Marilyn Crispell, flautist Steve Gorn, guitarist Ken Wessel, bassists Mark Helias and Ken Filiano, drummers Harvey Sorgen and Tani Tabbal, vocalists Thomas Buckner and Ingrid Sertso and pianist Karl Berger. Additional Guiding Artists and Special Guests are expected and will be announced soon.

For more information, including a curriculum and online registration, please visit, call Amy Carpenter at the Full Moon Resort at (845) 254-3302 or e-mail [email protected]



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  1. hi folks! curious to know what is happening…..used to work a little with Brad Graves and Ralph Blauvelt at Soundscape (52″St) some years ago and would like to tune in…..when and where do you meet?

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