JASON FINKELMAN Composer
Philadelphia-born percussionist Jason Finkelman specializes in the berimbau, an Afro-Brazilian musical bow, and performs on a wide variety of African and Brazilian instruments, many handcrafted by Adimu Kuumba. His artistic concerns have focused primarily on the performance of improvised music and composition for dance, theater, and film. Jason’s interest in exploring improvised music with unusual instrumentation led to the Urbana Champaign-based projects Ferrocene3 and Nu Orbit Ensemble, as well as the New York-based ambient, avant world trio Straylight. Noted collaborations with choreographer Cynthia Oliver include her current production, Rigidigidim de Bamba de: Ruptured Calypso (2009-10), the dance film AfroSocialiteLifeDiva (2004), and the evening length performance SHEMAD (2000), in which Jason along with Straylight's members Geoff Gersh and Charles Cohen were awarded a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award. Jason recently composed music for Can’t Go Native? (2010), a documentary film by David Plath on the life and work of anthropologist Keith Brown.
Jason has been an active member of the Urbana Champaign artistic community since arriving from New York City in 2000. He currently curates the Sudden Sound concert series at the Krannert Art Museum and the Global Transfer Afterglow series at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Annually from 2005 to 2008 he was the artistic director of Boneyard Arts Festival’s Late Night spACE, an immersive, site-specific, multi-media arts event. At the University of Illinois, Jason holds positions as Events Coordinator for the Asian Educational Media Service, Communications Manager for the Robert E. Brown Center for World Music, and accompanist for the Department of Dance. He also enjoys volunteering as radio host and jazz genre director for community station WEFT 90.1FM and playing as a member of the didjeridu led, groove oriented rock band Tree Thump.