Music Program

Wednesday, April 22 at 8:00 p.m.

$20 general admission, $18 students/seniors, $15 members

To learn more about the benefits of becoming a member, please click here.

Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble


Asbury Hall at Babeville

Xenogenesis: A Tribute to Octavia Butler

Nicole Mitchell - flute/composition
Mankwe Ndosi - vocals
Darius Jones - alto sax
Chris Williams - trumpet
Angelica Sanchez - piano
Tomeka Reid - cello
Joshua Abrams - bass
Avreeayl Ra - drumset/percussion

Nicole M. Mitchell is an award-winning creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. She is perhaps best known for her work as a flutist, having developed a unique improvisational language and having been repeatedly awarded "Top Flutist of the Year" by Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association (2010-2017). Mitchell initially emerged from Chicago's innovative music scene in the late 90s, and her music celebrates contemporary African American culture. She is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Sonic Projections and Ice Crystal, and she composes for contemporary ensembles of varied instrumentation and size, while incorporating improvisation and a wide aesthetic expression. The former first woman president of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Mitchell celebrates endless possibility by "creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar with the unknown."


Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble (BEE) is a musical celebration of the African American cultural legacy. Founded and directed in 1998 by creative flutist/composer Nicole Mitchell, BEE has performed in festivals and art venues throughout Europe, Canada and throughout the U.S. BEE's music embraces the ancient past and paints visions of a positive future. The music is the weaving of swing, blues, avante garde jazz, bebop, African rhythms, Eastern modes and Western classical sounds. The name "Black Earth" was chosen to honor the feminine source that our lives depend on—Mother Earth. The purpose of Black Earth Ensemble is to inspire the human spirit with thought-provoking beauty and to present a positive, healthy and culturally aware image of African Americans. As a woman-directed, co-ed, multi-generational group, it touches a range of emotional spaces rarely expressed in a "jazz" setting. Black Earth's message is intended for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. BEE has five critically acclaimed CDs: Vision Quest (Dreamtime), Afrika Rising (Dreamtime), Hope, Future and Destiny (Dreamtime), Black Unstoppable (Delmark) and Xenogenesis Suite (Delmark).

Xenogenesis: A Tribute to Octavia Butler:

Nicole Mitchell's suite Xenogenesis is inspired by the Afrofuturist science fiction writer Octavia Butler. Commissioned by Chamber Music America with the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, Mitchell composed a suite that evokes journey into the horrific, yet fascinating unknown. Xenogenesis Suite premiered at the Vision Festival XII in New York in 2007. The Xenogenesis Project has been recorded on Firehouse 12 Records.
photos: Dawid Laskowski

This concert is made possible through a Jazz Presenters Consortium grant from Chamber Music America funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts & the Cullen Foundation.

t: 716-854-1694
f: 716-854-1696

Tues.—Fri. 11-6
Sat. 11-2
Sun. & Mon. closed

from Jan. 10, 2020
through Feb. 28, 2020

Sarah Sutton
Knots and Pulses

This exhibition by Ithaca-area artist Sarah Sutton will feature a series of monochromatic oil paintings that combine representational imagery with distortions and abstractions that create scenarios in flux. They are essentially landscape paintings, but Sutton's treatment of the landscape toys with its sense of space and the notion of the built vs. the natural environment.

Katie Bell
Abstract Cabinet

Katie Bell’s exhibition is a site-specific installation conceived of as a one-act drama starring anonymous artifacts. Functioning like a theatrical set, the gallery holds static characters that reference the interior architecture of corporate and commercial spaces. Sculptural objects are often fractured or untethered to a contextual structure. Functioning as a whole, the individual artefacts are a nod to players on a stage, held captive in space and time.