The Dillon Moran Musician in Residence program was created to commemorate the passion, exuberance and solid musicianship exemplified by Dillon Moran, Severn School Class of 2013.
Dillon’s life was tragically cut short in the fall of 2011 as the result of an accident at his home in Davidsonville, Maryland. The purpose of the program is to invite outside musicians to spend time at Severn working with students, faculty, and the entire community to inspire, create and perform great music. The visiting musician will share his/her talent with Severn students and hopefully provide a fresh approach and new ways of bringing music to life in the Severn community.
This year’s program is actually a series of remote programs. Our third installment takes a look at the history of Jazz. A master class and an A period performance will be offered with musicians John Dierker (Bass Clarinet and Bb Clarinet) and Zack Branch (Cello). This workshop will focus on the history of Jazz as a backdrop to discuss their shared musical experiences. They will discuss the historical significance of each piece, the innovations, and how it moved the music forward. While showcasing different technical approaches on their instruments, Zack and John address methods of practice and preparation with regards to improvisation both in the context of playing and arranging music from jazz to modern music. Students will be encouraged to ask questions about anything relative to the music or our musical experience.
About the Artists
Multi-reedman John Dierker who studied with Stuart Saunders Smith, has become a major improvisational stylist. A Baltimore, Maryland native, Dierker has been working in the area since the 1990s in free jazz, improvised music, but also noise, indie rock and experimental music with numerous notable musicians and groups. John was involved in eleven recording sessions between 1994 and 2016. Glenn Astarita (All About Jazz) describes him as an important improvisation stylist whose concept is heightened with howling lines, interjections from blues-soaked choruses and an energy development similar to Albert Ayler. Currently, John Dierker teaches Jazz Combos and improvisation classes at Towson University as well as freelancing in the Baltimore/D.C. area.
Zack Branch is a cellist and bassist based in Baltimore, Maryland who studied cello performance with Cecylia Barczyk and improvisation and composition with Dave Ballou. As a professional, Zack has toured the United States as an improviser, accompanist, and leader. As a cellist, he seeks to bridge the gap between that instrument’s historical function and contemporary directions in jazz and improvisation. His arranging, composition, and bandleading skills have found him musical directing for the Baltimore Rock Opera Society and other theater companies, where his unique convergence of skills are best demonstrated. Zack maintains an active performance calendar, having recently played electric and upright bass in Baltimore Center Stage’s productions Fun Home and Miss You Like Hell. Additionally, Zack has been an active member of Matt Hutchison’s band The Big ‘Gin since 2013.