Thelonious Monk: Modernist Pioneer

The Public Programme

Culture& commemorated the centenary of the birth of jazz composer Thelonious Monk.

Culture& in association with the British Library presented a specially curated evening of live performance and an illustrated lecture to celebrate the life of iconic jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.

Epitomising artistic originality, candid eccentricity and indifference to conventional rules of performance, Thelonious Monk emerged in the 1940s to become one of the high priests of bebop. Regarded as one of the most enigmatic and unusual jazz composers, Monk, whose unique improvisational style, with rigorously structured and surreal themes, created some of the most innovative and unsentimentally beautiful music in the history of jazz.

With pianist, composer and bandleader Peter Edwards on solo piano and Filomena Campus on vocals, the duo performed Monk’s most famous compositions including ‘Round Midnight’, ‘Rhythm-a-Ning’ and ‘Blue Monk’.

Analysis, poetry and biographical commentary were explored in a panel discussion led by Errol Francis, Artistic Director of Culture& and American writer and cultural critic Candace Allen, whose work explores the social and political power of music.

Monk: Modernist Pioneer was Culture&’s second music event of 2017 featuring contemporary composers in new dynamic configurations.

This event was a trailer to the Arts Council sponsored tour of Monk Misterioso: A Journey into the Silence of Thelonious Monk by Theatralia – directed by Filomena Campus – with text by Stefano Benni and featuring UK jazz stars, that were part of the EFG London Jazz Festival at Kings Place on 18 November 2017.

Read the essay ‘The demons and obsessions of jazz genius Thelonious Monk’, by Candace Allen, which derives from the event.

Wednesday 11 October 2017
7.30- 9.30pm

Knowledge Centre
British Library
96 Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London NW1 2DB

This event has now passed.