Karlton Hester and Hesterian Musicism
Karlton E. Hester, Ph.D. (composer/flutist/saxophonist), began his career as a composer and recording artist in Los Angeles where he worked as a studio musician and music educator. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the City University of New York Graduate Center and is currently Director of "Jazz" Studies at the University of California in Santa Cruz. As performer on both flute and saxophone, he is music director of the Fillmore Jazz Preservation Big Band and Hesterian Musicism. Hester is currently music director of Hesterian Musicism, founding director of the Fillmore Jazz Preservation Big Band in San Francisco and served as the Herbert Gussman Director of Jazz Studies at Cornell University from 1991-2001. His formal study included Harry Nelsova and Paul Renzi on flute, Joe Henderson and John Handy in "jazz" improvisation, composition with Bruce Saylor and Robert Starrer, as well as lessons with Frank Chase and Bill Tremble on saxophone.
Hester specializes in premeditated, spontaneous and electro-acoustic composition. His compositions span a wide range; from numerous solo cycles for various woodwinds to chamber configurations, music videos and electro-acoustic symphonic works written in an eclectic array of styles. He has been the recipient of fellowships, grants and commissions from the National Endowment of the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New England Council of the Arts, Arts International, and ASCAP, amongst others. His albums include 21st-Century Musicism (2005), Harmonious Soul Scenes 2000; Musicism for the Sake of Love; Hesterian Liberation; Reconstructive Musicism; Karlton Hester and the Contemporary Jazz Art Movement; Hesterian Musicism; Dances Purely for the Sake of Love; Musicism for Your Imagination and Sacred Musicism, Harmonious Soul Scenes 2000 and others.
"Hesterian Musicism reveals him to be a composer with a breathtaking range of materials that are skillfully wrought in both refreshing chamber configurations and his impressive 12-piece Contemporary Jazz Art Movement." --- Downbeat
Hesterian Musicism: As a composer Hester has continued to evolve the trans-harmonic style he calls Hesterian Musicism since the early nineteen seventies. His music involves a fission of Afrocentric and Western tonal, modal, quartal, serial, and electronic elements into an expressive voice that defies simple categorization as either premeditated or spontaneous composition. The range of his works spans from numerous solo cycles for
various woodwinds to chamber configurations and electro-acoustic symphonic works written in an eclectic array of style. Originally nurtured in New York, Hesterian Musicism is a continuation of his former Bay Area based ensemble, The Contemporary Jazz Art Movement (1970s & 80s). He has recorded his own compositions, since the early 1970s, featuring the Contemporary Jazz Art Movement on earlier albums and Hesterian Musicism on more recent recordings. Hester continues to perform with both East and West Coast members of Hesterian Musicism.
Hesterian Musicism is not only the name he coined for his performance ensemble, but it also designates Hester's compositional and improvisational process. Hesterian Musicism is the creative process through which Karlton Hester's compositional and performance style merge to give rise to aesthetic environments where other musicians, kinetic and visual artists, and poets can meet to produce new art forms through imaginative effort. Its philosophical basis involves an intrinsic freedom of expression, focused and disciplined spontaneity, and a structural basis that explores the creative components of diverse sources from the whole earth. Intrinsically interdisciplinary, Hesterian Musicism has presented numerous concerts in collaboration with other artists, such as painters, dancers and choreographers, poets, as well as a number of performances featuring African musicians on traditional instruments.