SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield Public Library will present Beyond Category: The Life and Music of Duke Ellington by Michael Conklin on Saturday April 15 at 1pm at South Plainfield Public Library. Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on April 22, 1899 and was the most prolific composer of the twentieth century in terms of both number of compositions and variety of forms. His development was one of the most spectacular in the history of music, underscored by more than fifty years of sustained achievement as an artist and entertainer. He’s considered by many to be America’s greatest composer, bandleader, and recording artist. This program will trace Ellington’s musical life from his beginnings in 1920′s Harlem and the Jazz Age to his death in 1974. Audio and video footage, in addition to musical examples, will illustrate the magnitude of Ellington’s contributions to the American aesthetic.
Mr. Conklin is an active jazz scholar, cultural historian, and writer who specializes in jazz history and American music, music of the antebellum South, the Harlem Renaissance, and issues of race and class. He is presently pursuing his doctoral studies at Drew University. As a scholar of jazz history and American culture, Mr. Conklin’s teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of the literary, visual, and musical arts, with a focus on the blues elements that cohesively link the three forms. He’s been teaching at Brookdale Community College for nearly two decades and has served as an adjunct professor of jazz history at The College of New Jersey since 2004.
Mr. Conklin graduated from Rutgers University with a Master’s degree in Jazz History and Research and had the pleasure of studying with such luminaries as Lewis Porter and Henry Martin. He spends the majority of his time teaching and writing; his work can be seen in publications by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, Salem Press, Scarecrow Press, University of Michigan Press, ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Press and SAGE Publications. This program is free but registration is required. To sign up for the program, contact the South Plainfield Library at 908-754-7885.