Artists Space

A Memorial for Milford Graves

Sunday, December 5
3pm
Join the event this Sunday at 3pm here.

Please join Artists Space, in conjunction with Ars Nova Workshop and the family of Milford Graves for a very special memorial celebrating Milford Graves’ life and work. The memorial is attended by the family and close friends of Milford Graves in person, and will be available to stream online for the general public.

Performances and remarks from Hugh Glover, Tatiana Graves-Kochuthara, Shahzad Ismaily, Jake Meginsky, William Parker, Toshi Tsuchitori, Yara practitioners, John Zorn, and more.

A black and white photograph of a man in a leopard print costume standing center stage with his hands up and palms open facing toward the viewer. He stands with his legs outstretched and behind him rests a drum set which sits next to a gong. Microphones are positioned near his body, one on each side.
Milford Graves at the Festival d'Automne à Paris, 1974, Black and white photograph. © Philippe Gras [A black and white photograph of a man in a leopard print costume standing center stage with his hands up and palms open facing toward the viewer. He stands with his legs outstretched and behind him rests a drum set which sits next to a gong. Microphones are positioned near his body, one on each side.]

Born in Jamaica, Queens in 1941, Graves was a force of interdisciplinary artistic and intellectual output during his nearly 60 year career; incorporating insights from his knowledge and experience in martial arts, herbalism, pedagogy, sculpture, and data sonification. Early recordings with The New York Art Quartet, Giuseppi Logan, and Paul Bley in the mid 1960s cemented his status as one of New York's most talented percussionists and improvisers. Solo output included milestone free improvisation sessions with Don Pullen, Hugh Glover, and Andrew Cyrille. He performed on the landmark Black Woman by Sonny Sharrock, and alongside Albert Ayler during his mythical Coltrane funeral performance in 1967. In 1973 Graves became a professor at Vermont's Bennington College, where he taught for 39 years and became Professor Emeritus of the Black Music Division. Later work focused on the exploration of the music of the human heart, and the connections between music and medicine. When diagnosed with amyloid cardiomyopathy or "stiff heart syndrome" in 2018, his art and research provided pioneering insights. His talent and curiosity were seemingly inexhaustible, and his influence cannot be understated. He was the subject of critically acclaimed film Milford Graves: Full Mantis, and exhibits Milford Graves: A Mind Body Deal and Milford Graves: Fundamental Frequency.