Wadada Leo Smith: Ankhrasmation, the Language Scores, 1967-2015

October 15, 2016 - March 5, 2017

A pioneer in the fields of contemporary jazz and creative music, Wadada Leo Smith is a composer, educator, and visual artist who developed Ankhrasmation over the course of nearly 50 years. The word for his musical language is composed of Ankh, the Egyptian symbol for life, Ras, the Ethiopian word for leader, and Ma, a universal term for mother.

Smith’s colorful scores–visual compositions filled with energy and mystery–illustrate the musician’s vibrant conversation between improvised and formally scored music. They include traditional notation but inspire instantaneous composition through symbolic constructions of color, line, and shape. They provide creative guidance for the seasoned improviser while allowing musicians to bring their own expertise and strengths to their performance.

More than 75 works will be on display to intrigue students of music, of performance, of musical composition; and fans of jazz and visual art. This exhibition is organized by The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, where it was first exhibited In October 2015. It is curated by John Corbett and Hamza Walker. The exhibition closes March 5, 2017.

Wadada Leo Smith