SJR messengers of the night |

SJR messengers of the night

Ludi Hinrichs (left) and Terry Riley make a rare joint appearance Saturday on the Ridge.
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Despite their strong personal ties, performer-composers Ludi Hinrichs and Terry Riley from the San Juan Ridge don’t normally play together publicly in a concert setting.

They’re members of the Nevada County Composers Cooperative. Hinrichs studied raga with Riley for 10 years. But their performances together are rare.

On Saturday, Hinrichs and Riley join forces in a “Night Messengers” concert.

“We wanted to do something together for a long time,” Hinrichs said. “We have a lot of common background in the way of jazz, classical. We both listen to and play popular music at times. Terry’s also a ragtime piano player. We both like modal (one set of notes) jazz. We both like to study and play Indian raga music.”

“There will be lots of improvisation,” Hinrichs said excitedly. “We’re doing some kinds of unusual combinations, for instance, a trombone playing raga music – an instrument that’s more associated with raucousness than calmness.”

Saturday’s repertoire will also include percussion, didgeridoo, keyboard duos and vocal duos featuring some scat singing.

This concert is a first, said Riley, who came up with the name “Night Messengers.”

“It was leaving things open, like when you do improvisation. You depend on the muse to speak to you and the audience,” Riley explained.

Saturday’s concert will add to the momentum begun at the 12-hour AWAKENING Peace Vigil at Miners Foundry Oct. 2. Riley was one of three organizers for the event that promoted worldwide peace; Hinrichs was one of the 75-plus performers donating their time.

“This is a continuation of the peace vigil,” Hinrichs said. “We’re doing meditation at the end, using a 36-inch (in diameter) gong, Spirit of collaboration and creativity and cooperation is happening.”

Riley is pleased.

“The peace message – that’s what we really need today,” Riley said.


WHAT: “Night Messengers” concert by Ludi Hinrichs and Terry Riley

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center, 17894 Tyler Foote Crossing Road on San Juan Ridge

ADMISSION: $15. $8 for Schoolhouse members and $10 for nonmembers. Tickets at Harmony Books, BriarPatch and at the door.


Ludi Hinrichs performs on trombone, piano, vocals, didgeridoo and percussion. The composer of jazz and new music also teaches piano, trombone, voice and jazz improvisation.

His compositions include “Unfolding Flower,” written for a jazz quintet within an Indian raga framework; a version of J.S. Bach’s “Gavotte” from his fifth unaccompanied cello suite, both of which premiered at Music in the Mountains’ concerts in 1995; and an extended didgeridoo solo piece called “Blanasi.”

Hinrichs performed at the 18th Tokyo Summer Festival in June in a performance of Gary Snyder’s poem, “Mountains and Rivers Without End.”

Terry Riley is often called the father of the minimalist movement. Setting the stage for the New Age movement to follow 10 years later with his “IN C” in 1964, Riley is also recognized for bringing East Indian music to Western audiences in the ’70s.

For at least 40 years, Riley has performed, composed, and taught music in the United States and abroad.

His “Salome Dances for Peace” (1989) was selected as the No. 1 classical album of the year by USA Today and nominated for a Grammy.”Cadenza on the Night Plain” (1985) was chosen by Time and Newsweek as one of the 10 best classical albums of the year.

Last Saturday, Riley was at the premiere of his “Sun Rings,” a 90-minute NASA-commissioned theater piece at the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium. In the piece, Riley incorporated actual sounds from beyond Earth.

“It was a very powerful event, a full house,” he said. “The people came up afterwards and said they really loved the message of peace.”

“Sun Rings” will be performed by the Kronos Quartet around the country and in Europe.

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