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RESPONSE: Notes of Discourse

May 24 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Mihály Borbély returns for a second night of Jazz Poetry with a performance that honors the saxophone as the star of the show. He shares the stage with advocate and activist poets Cameron Awkward-Rich,Tabassam Shah, and City of Asylum writer-in-residence Anouar Rahmani. Together these artists embrace and expand the intricate discourse of notes and verse, eloquent and articulate in their response. Their collective dexterity and brilliance results in a conversation of sound and speech. 

About the Musician:

Mihály Borbély is a versatile multireedist musician working in different musical styles from folk and world music, to jazz and contemporary music. In addition to saxophones and clarinet, he also plays several folk instruments including the beautiful Hungarian tárogató. He has played at major folk, world music, and jazz festivals all over Europe as well as in the U.S., Mexico, and Australia. He has worked with great masters such as Paul Bley, Steve Coleman, Trilok Gurtu, Charles Lloyd, and many others. His awards include Best Soloist of the Karlovy Vary Jazz Festival, the Ferenc Liszt prize, Alto Saxophonist of the Year, Soprano Saxophonist of the Year, and Clarinetist of the Year (JazzMa, MagyarJazz) among others. Mihály leads several groups and projects under his name with musicians of similar spirit and taste. Teaching is an important element of Mihály’s musical philosophy. He is currently an associate professor at the Jazz Department of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest where he was the chair between 1997 and 2000. His latest album, Miracles of the Night, was released at the end of last year.

Featured Musicians:

Yoko Suzuki: saxophone

Deanna Witkowski: piano

Anton DeFade: bass

Jason Washington: percussion

About the Poets:

Cameron Awkward-Rich (he/him) is the author of two collections of poetry: Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016) and Dispatch (Persea Books, 2019). His creative work has been supported by fellowships from Cave Canem, The Watering Hole, and the Lannan Foundation. Also a scholar of trans theory and expressive culture in the U.S., Cameron earned his PhD from Stanford University’s program in Modern Thought & Literature. His more critical writing can be found in Signs, Trans Studies Quarterly, American Quarterly, and elsewhere, and he has been supported by fellowships from Duke University’s program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the American Council of Learned Societies. His book The Terrible We: Thinking with Trans Maladjustment was published by Duke University Press in fall 2022. Presently, he is an assistant professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

Anouar Rahmani is a writer and human rights defender from Algeria. He is the author of four novels in Arabic, including Hallucinations of Jibril and What God is Hiding from Us. Through his creative writing, journalism, and activism, Anouar advocates for individual freedoms, environmental rights, and the rights of minorities, women, and the LGBT+ community. In 2015, he was the first person to demand same-sex marriage in Algeria publicly. Anouar holds a License in Public Law and a Master’s in State and Institutional Law from the University of Morsli Abdallah. During the 2019 Algerian Revolution, he composed a new model for the Algerian constitution. In 2021, he was shortlisted for the Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards and selected by the German Bundestag’s Protection Program “Parliamentarians for Parliamentarians.” Anouar is an Artist Protection Fund Fellow-in-residence at Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Modern Languages and City of Asylum.

Tabassam Shah (she/her) moved to Clarion, Pennsylvania, seven years ago, taking a step back from the academic life of a professor and embracing a new life as a community activist devoted to amplifying progressive voices in rural counties. As a young writer, Tabassam’s poetry helped her process the notion of difference that she experienced as a child of Pakistani immigrants growing up in the Carolina foothills in Southern Appalachia. Difference gave way to a focus on the similarities within humanity across the globe. Lately the muse leads her to explore connections with the natural world, spiritual journeys, and activism. She participates in regional writing and literary groups to help her refine her craft. She is an active member of the group Poets Against Racism and Hate and reads her social justice poetry at their events in addition to publishing blogs and poems on their website. Her debut poetry collection, Red and Crescent Moons, won The Watershed Journal Literary Group’s Long-form Publishing Selection and was published in December 2022. While the voices of Asian-American poets living in urban America may be well established, Tabassam’s writing adds to this literature by providing the perspective of a South Asian American woman in the rural Appalachian landscape.

About Your Visit: 

Remember you can dine at the in-house restaurant 40 North before, during, or after the show. Please visit Open Table or call 412-435-1111 to make a reservation.

There will be a “Jazzy Hour” at the in-house bar from 6-7pm.

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May 24
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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