Tibetan Book of the Dead

Tibetan Book of the Dead

Friday, September 9 @ 8 p.m., Recital Hall

JMU faculty member David Pope wrote and will perform in this transformative work that premiered in 2007. This unique piece played on various woodwind and percussion instruments features eight movements, each based on a meditation state expressed in the ancient Tibetan Bardo Thodol — a text of funeral rites used by Tibetan Buddhists.

The Bardo Thodol, literally translated as Liberation Through Hearing in the State of Bardo (the intermediate state between death and rebirth), is a text of funeral rites used by Tibetan Buddhists. It is recited over a dying person, to aid them into a favorable rebirth. Tibetan monks use meditation to practice navigating through the eight stages of dying, ascending from the physical world of the body into the deeper stages of independent consciousness. Although Buddhists believe this practice could be used to avoid rebirth altogether, to move directly into Nirvana, monks typically intend to achieve rebirths that will maximize their ability to help others achieve liberation from suffering.

The first four stages involve the dissolution of the physical body into the four elements: earth, water, fire and wind. When the flame of life is exhausted, its light is replaced by the constant, luminous glow of consciousness. This light appears without an apparent source, because it emanates from consciousness itself. The final four stages represent the journey into a perfect awareness of reality, free from illusion or duality.

Each movement is a meditation on the internal experiences of consciousness. The individual movements begin with the ringing of a Tibetan singing bowl, followed by a number of Tingsha (small Tibetan cymbal) strikes corresponding to sequence of roman numerals.

David Pope is Professor of Saxophone at James Madison University. David has extensively trained in most major styles of saxophone performance and is a published composer and author. He has performed throughout the United States and in Europe. He has presented at conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance, College Band Directors National Association, and VMEA. He has given classes at the Eastman School of Music, University of Southampton, University of Northern Colorado, University of Northern Iowa, University of Massachusetts, and Bucknell University. He has been featured at the New England Saxophone Symposium, as a jazz and a concert saxophonist. He holds an M.M. from the Eastman School of Music and a B.M. from UMASS, Amherst. He also completed significant work towards a D.M.A. at the University of Miami.

The Pioneer Saxophone Quartet (with Lynn Klock, Angela Space, and George Weremchuk) has been in-residence at SUNY Oswego, James Madison University, the New England Saxophone Symposium, the Central Florida Sax Fest and the University of Miami. They premiered Stephen Danyew's Four Short Pieces for saxophone quartet at the 2008 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference.

Widely recognized for his unique work with multiphonics, Pope has recorded a CD for Open Loop Records and two masterclass CDs for Saxophone Journal. His writings are available from Hal Leonard, Dorn Publications, and Ex Tempore. For over a decade, he has regularly penned "Creative Jazz Improvisation" for Saxophone Journal. He is featured on recordings by David Borgo, Saxology, and upcoming projects by Theodore Wiprud and Matt Smiley.

David studied saxophone with Peter Levesque, Lynn Klock, Yusef Lateef, and Gary Keller. He studied composition and arranging with Jeff Holmes, Fred Sturm, Belinda Takahashi, and Ron Miller. He has performed with Kenny Wheeler, Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Mintzer, Benny Carter, Dave Liebman, Dick Oatts, Doc Severinsen, Lou Rawls, The Pied Pipers, Bob Gullotti, John Clayton, Clay Jenkins, John D'Earth, Carlos Bermudo, Jonathan Mele, Mark Ferber, David Goloschokin, Igor Butman, Ashish Khan, Salar Nader, Bob Hallahan, and Paul McKee. David Pope is a former member of the University of Miami's adjunct faculty, the Eastman School of Music's summer faculty and "Jazz in July." He plays R.S. Berkeley "Virtuoso" saxophones and endorses Applied Microphone Technology's "True Acoustic" saxophone mic.

Ticket prices: $8–$10 Advance tickets can be purchased online, by phone or in person at the box office (Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. and 1½ hours prior to performance). Major credit cards, cash, checks and JACards accepted.

JMU student tickets: $4 in person at the box office only with student ID. One ticket per ID. Student tickets are not available online. Cash only 1½ hours prior to performance.

Mailing Tickets/Will Call — Tickets that are ordered more than two weeks in advance of a performance will be mailed to the address on file. Ticket orders received less than two weeks prior to a performance will be held for pickup at the Will Call window.

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