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Alchemist

Saxophonist and composer Sarah Manning

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Artist Statement

My approach as a saxophonist and composer is informed by studying with the late multi-instrumentalist Dr. Yusef Lateef, who emphasized finding one’s own voice in music, and taught a path of inquiry rooted in jazz and world music rather than replication of tradition.

I draw inspiration from the mystical surrealism of painter Remedios Varo, and work to challenge and transmute music theory and history from jazz, experimental, and chamber music into a surreal landscape that explores new ways of expressing emotions through sound.

My 2018 work for quartet, Transmuting Anger, begins this exploration with a series of melodic fragments cued by alchemy symbols and tied together with improvisation, texture, vast dynamic shifts, and extended instrumental technique. I am currently in the beginning stages of a new multimedia piece with author and activist Soraya Chemaly, that we hope will offer people a new framework to understand how women can express and transmute their anger into powerful social change.