University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Research Council


John Salerno

Fall 2010

"Jazzphony with Zilina Orchestra in Slovakia"

Grant in Aid of Research

Final Report: "My GIAR award grant was used to help with costs associated with a jazz project in Slovakia. This was one of the best and rewarding gigs I ever played. I was a featured soloist s at the Bratislava Music Festival (November 24-December 4th). I performed with a group of Slovakian jazz musicians and the Slovak Sinfoniette in Zilina and Bratislava. The concert was recorded on Slovak Radio for transmission and the recording will be used as a promotional CD. I preformed two orchestral works by two Slovakian composers. One composition was written in a traditional jazz style, utilizing common harmonic progressions, rhythms and required traditional improvisational approaches. The other composition was aleatoric in sections and required an improvisational approach where listening and interacting with the orchestra was the modus operandi. This technique leads the soloist to more abstract territories of harmony and texture but also requires the soloist to look for inspiration from the other means than a harmonic foundation. As a result of my musical experiences in Slovakia, I programmed a jazz composition at our final UWGB Jazz Ensemble concert that made use of jazz improvisation styles similar to those I used in Slovakia. The composition entitled, “Ding, Dong, Ding”, uses group improvisation, aleatoric concepts, and motivic improvisation within a traditional formal structure. The composition was well received and the students enjoyed working in a less traditional and freer framework."