MassArt Art Museum To Feature Work by Student Composers

Special to the Sun Transcript

Hear the heroic story of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman come to life in the world premiere performances of original compositions written by students and performed by musicians from the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice on Saturday, October 29 at 1:30 p.m. at the MassArt Art Museum (MAAM), 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston. Commissioned by MAAM, student composers found inspiration in renowned Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos’ monumental installation Valkyrie Mumbet.

Members of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice at the MassArt Art Museum in front of Valkyrie Mumbet by Joana Vasconcelos. Top row left to right: Anabel Gil Diaz, Brian Urra, Katie Webster, Kris Davis (Associate Program Director). Bottom row left to right: Arina Bagaryakova, Nika Ko and Devon Gates

The site-specific installation and the music honor Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, an enslaved woman whose 1781 court battle for freedom helped make slavery illegal in Massachusetts. The program includes works by Katie Webster, Brian Urra, Devon Gates, Arina Bagaryakova, Nika Ko and Anabel Gil Diaz. Admission is free and all ages are welcome. For information and to register for your ticket, visit

“I am thrilled to announce this collaboration between The Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and MAAM,” says pianist Kris Davis. “Although we work in different artistic mediums, both institutions share similar values, working toward a cultural shift by providing opportunities and a platform for underrepresented artists. This commission is a unique opportunity for young composers to explore a multidisciplinary approach to composing, inspired by Joana Vasconcelos’ installation and the history of Elizabeth ‘Mumbet’ Freeman. The Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice has chosen some of our most creative students for this opportunity, and we are excited to hear their creations!”

“As MassArt’s teaching museum, and Boston’s only free contemporary art museum, MAAM is a space for all, to see something new and participate in conversation about today’s critical issues,” says Lisa Tung, Executive and Artistic Director of the MassArt Art Museum. “Elizabeth ‘Mumbet’ Freeman’s story of bravery, equality, and liberation is one that all citizens should share and celebrate and I am so delighted that it will take on new life through the original compositions of The Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. I can not wait to hear how Freeman and Joana Vasconcelos’ monumental installation has inspired the students.”

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