During a public ceremony in Berlin in February 2018, while celebrating the completion of the 2016−2017 mentoring year, Rolex announced the new mentors and protégés in the mentoring period that spans 2018 and 2019. Ghana-born British architect David Adjaye has chosen to work with Mariam Kamara, 38, Niger; Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite with Khoudia Touré, 31, Senegal; New York-based Irish writer Colm Toíbín with Colin Barrett, 35, Ireland; and Indian musician Zakir Hussain with Marcus Gilmore, 31, United States. The mentor-protégé pairs are free within this period to schedule their times and places of interaction according to their particular needs.
One of today’s most esteemed musicians, Zakir Hussain is widely viewed as the world’s greatest tabla player. His mastery of the percussion instrument has taken the ancient art form to a level that transcends cultures and national borders. The Indian-born virtuoso, composer, actor and producer is today appreciated in the field of percussion and the music world at large as an international phenomenon. A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, his consistently brilliant and exciting performances have not only established him as a national treasure in his own country, India, but gained him worldwide fame. Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement, Hussain’s contribution to world music has been unique, with many historic collaborations, including Shakti, which he founded with John McLaughlin and L Shankar, Remember Shakti, the Diga Rhythm Band, Making Music, Planet Drum with Mickey Hart, Tabla Beat Science, and Sangam with Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland. Hussain has recorded and performed widely with artists as diverse as George Harrison, Yo-Yo Ma, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, Airto Moreira, Pharoah Sanders, Billy Cobham, Mark Morris, Rennie Harris, and the Kodo drummers.
Hussain is the son of the legendary tabla player Ustad Alla Rakha who himself formed a formidable duo with sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar for many decades and has toured South Africa to great acclaim.
Hussain’s protégé Marcus Gilmore is one of today’s most in-demand and startlingly innovative young drummers. The New York-based jazz musician has built on a family heritage – he is the grandson of jazz drummer Roy Haynes and nephew of trumpeter and composer Graham Haynes – that has helped set him apart as a much-respected and prodigious talent. His collaborations with such musical greats as Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis and Steve Coleman mark his genuinely broad scope.
More than 200 renowned artists and arts leaders from South Africa and around the world will gather at Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre Centre on 8 and 9 February 2020 to attend the Rolex Arts Weekend. Gilmore will present a world premiere of his composition pulse, commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra. The composition for ensemble and spoken word will include an exciting exchange between Gilmore and former Rolex literature protégée Tracy K Smith. Gilmore will perform the work with musicians from the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and its resident conductor Brandon Phillips. Following the performance and a solo by Gilmore, the protégé and Hussain will discuss their mentoring experience.
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