Bassoonist and composer Clifton Joseph Guidry III will join the School of Performing Arts for a November residency that includes two lectures and a solo recital. All events are free and open to all.

The multi-day virtual residency will center around Blackness, radical self-love, mental health awareness, and the connection of music to all these movements.

Guidry is both an acclaimed bassoonist and a versatile composer of experimental and daring new works that embody a deep love of storytelling. Their compositions channel their inner child, in honor of their ancestors and predecessors.

In their quest to support, hire, and promote Black artists, Guidry has spearheaded “Sounds of the African Diaspora,” a competition and commissioning platform for composers from the African diaspora. This initiative ensures that composers from the diaspora have access to the space, resources, and time necessary to foster new, innovative music.

“My work allows me to express freely experiences that are difficult to translate when I openly speak,” said Guidry. “I am seeking to bring awareness to and address the lack of mental health resources in our community, the rampant police brutality occurring on a daily basis, and the murders of Black Queer folk not being covered in the media.”

The first lecture, to be held Nov. 3 at 11 a.m., will focus on the innate potential of the bassoon for 21st century composition, including an overview of many contemporary techniques. Guidry will explore the techniques from the perspective of the player as well as of the notater. While the lecture is also a masterclass designed for bassoonists and composers, anyone who is interested is encouraged to attend.

The second lecture, on Nov. 5 at 4 p.m., will cover Guidry’s process and their ongoing work of decolonizing the bassoon within their artistic practice. While the bassoon is known for its role as an orchestral instrument, central to Guidry’s artistic practice is an exploration of the bassoon beyond Eurocentric confines.

“Burn the Box,” a solo recital on Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m., will feature a pre-recorded streamed performance, followed by a live Q&A with Guidry. The program will include three of their own compositions: “2:19,” “How to Breathe While Dying,” and the world premiere of a new work. Also included are compositions by Jessie CoxOlivia Shortt, and Edgar Guzman. All of these works are influenced and informed by the central tenets of Guidry’s practice: radical self-love, compassion, laughter, and the importance of amplifying Black and Indigenous art-makers and noise-makers. This event will contain mature language.

Guidry holds a bachelor’s degree in bassoon performance from the Peabody Conservatory and a graduate performance diploma from the Mannes School of Music. They are currently pursuing a master’s degree in contemporary performance at the Manhattan School of Music.

Non-musicians and musicians of all backgrounds should feel welcomed and encouraged to attend the lectures and concert.

Click here for more information, including registration links; view more School of Performing Arts events here.

This event is presented by the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts, with co-sponsorship from the Office of Inclusion and Diversity; the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology; and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Susan Sanders at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Written by Susan Sanders