Music and Change presents world-renowned artists at the forefront of experimental music, entrepreneurship, and art, in dialogue with the CalArts community. Made possible with generous support from the CalArts IDEA Cooperative and the Herb Alpert School of Music. Unless stated otherwise, all events take place 11am–12:50pm and are open to the institute, and you can RSVP using this form.

Georgia Anne Muldrow | Thursday, February 4, 2021

Part of the fabric of Los Angeles’ hip-hop / jazz / soul avant-garde since 2005, Georgia-Anne Muldrow has built a mightily impressive discography and a reputation to match during her career as a vocalist, songwriter, producer and musician. It is fitting that in 2018 she should sign to Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder imprint - a record label deeply embedded in LA, with a ton of shared history and a united vision of the future - to release her stunning new album.

She first lit up the scene with her debut album “Olesi: Fragments Of An Earth” (2006) on cult LA imprint Stones Throw. It was there that Georgia met, befriended and collaborated with the likes of Madlib, Oh No, MED (fka Medaphor), Wildchild, DJ Romes and her future partner Dudley Perkins aka Declaime. She co-founded the SomeOthaShip Connect record label with Dudley in 2008, the platform and spring board for many of her musical travels that have expanded and extended down myriad pathways under numerous monikers including Ms. One, Pattie Blingh & The Akebulan 5, an electro fusion collaboration with DJ Romes called Blackhouse and astral jazz outings as Jyoti - a project that earned her the “Jazz Album Of The Year” honours at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards in 2011 for her album “Ocotea”

It’s Georgia’s rich musical heritage and the sheer weight of her catalogue that has earned her the respect of peers such as Mos Def (“She’s incredible. She’s like [Roberta] Flack, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, she’s something else.”), Erykah Badu (with whom she collaborated on “New Amerykah Part Two” in 2010), Bilal and Robert Glasper who invited Georgia to perform on his “Miles Ahead” OST in 2016

Georgia Anne Muldrow Headshot

Trevor McFedries & Aria Dean | Monday, February 8, 2021

Aria Dean (b. 1993) is an artist and writer based in New York City. Recent solo and group exhibitions and performances include: Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2020) Greene Naftali, New York (2020), MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (2020); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2019); Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (2019); Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2019); Centre d’Art Contemporaine Genève, Geneva (2019); The MAC, Belfast (2019); Tai Kwun, Hong Kong (2019); Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2018); Swiss Institute, New York (2018); and de Young Museum, San Francisco (2017). Her writing has appeared in publications including Artforum, Art in America, e-flux, The New Inquiry, X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly, Spike Quarterly, Kaleidoscope Magazine, Texte zur Kunst, and CURA Magazine.

Aria Dean Headshot

Trevor McFedries is the founder of the technology startup Brud and the creator of virtual pop star Miquela, a Gen Z icon with millions of fans around the world. Since its inception in Los Angeles 2017, Brud has raised funds from venture firms Sequoia Capital, Spark Capital and SV Angel amongst others.

Today Miquela has more than 5M followers and 50M+ streams across platforms, recently signed with CAA as the agency’s first virtual client and performed at Lollapalooza 2020. She has modeled for Prada, Calvin Klein, Burberry & more, interviewed artists at Coachella, graced the covers of Wired, V Magazine, L’Officiel, 032C, Wonderland, ES Magazine and Highsnobiety and was named one of Time's 25 Most Influential People on the Internet in 2018.

McFedries' work at Brud focuses on leveraging boundary-pushing technologies to build a radical, intelligent, and accessible entertainment company for a new generation. Before creating Brud, he was known professionally as Yung Skeeter and worked as a DJ, producer, and director for acts including Ke$ha, Azealia Banks, and Katy Perry. McFedries has also performed at music festivals Lollapalooza and Coachella, served as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Bad Robot and was an early employee at Spotify.

Trevor McFedries Headhsot

Nathan Young | Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Nathan Young (Delaware/Pawnee/Kiowa, b. 1975, USA) is an interdisciplinary artist and composer working in an expanded practice that incorporates sound, video, documentary, animation, installation, socially engaged art and experimental and improvised music. Nathan’s work often engages the spiritual and the political, re-imagining Indigenous sacred imagery in order to complicate and subvert notions of the sublime and is described by the artist as American Indian Gothic. Nathan is a founding and former member of the artist collective Postcommodity (2007-2015) and holds an MFA in Music / Sound from Bard College’s Milton-Avery School of the Arts. Young is the recipient of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship (2016-2018) and the George Kaiser Family Foundation Arts Integration Grant (2019-23). In February 2018 Young’s performative lecture, Welcome to Lenapehoking was the inaugural performance for the grand opening of Performance Space New York and Young’s solo show, Night Music of the Southern Plains American Indian recently premiered at the Kansas City Arts Institute Crossroads Gallery in November, 2018. Nathan is the artist-curator of the multi-platform project Tulsa Noise and co-organizer of Tulsa Noisefest.

Nathan Young Headshot

Stephanie Matthews | Monday, February 22, 2021

A dynamic violinist and entrepreneur, Stephanie Matthews is a modern-day citizen artist championing artistic excellence and social consciousness. She is the Co-Founder of the Re-Collective Orchestra, an all-black orchestra dedicated to raising the visibility and profile of black musicians and to present culturally relevant work to engage diverse audiences. Ms. Matthews is the former Director of Artist Development for the Sphinx Organization, cultivating the careers of some of the nation's top Black and Latino artists through professional development initiatives, including the Sphinx Competition, Sphinx Soloist Program and the Sphinx Virtuosi tour. She has served as the Assistant Dean and violin faculty with the Sphinx Performance Academy and served as Artist in Residence at the National Academy of Performing Arts in Trinidad and Tobago.

As an entrepreneur, Ms. Matthews is owner and creative director of StringCandy, an entertainment company that specializes in creative consulting, original arrangements and transcriptions, and musician staffing for live performances, recordings, tv/film and tour placements. StringCandy musicians have made appearances on popular television and award shows and have worked with a wide variety of recording and performing artists across various genres of music

Ms. Matthews has written, recorded and contributed to various music, television and film projects. Recent projects include "Da 5 Bloods" (2020), "Mulan" (2020), "Tenet" (2020), “Frozen 2” (2019), “The Mandalorian” (2019), "The Lion King" (2019), "X-Men: Dark Phoenix" (2019) and "When They See Us" (2019). As the Founder and Creative Director of StringCandy, she has engaged musicians throughout the US, Europe, the Middle East and Australia for various tours, music festivals and award shows. She recently hired an all-black, all-female orchestra to perform with Lizzo for the opening act of the 62nd GRAMMY Awards. Her work has also been featured on the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, European Music Awards, Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, VH1 Storytellers, the BET Awards and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. She has collaborated with many notable mainstream performing and recording artists including Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Alicia Keys, Camilla Cabello, Justin Timberlake, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Pharrell, H.E.R., and Bastille.

Stephanie Matthews Headshot

Tomeka Reid | Thursday, February 25, 2021

Described as a “New Jazz Power Source” by the New York Times, cellist and composer TOMEKA REID has emerged as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community over the last decade. Her distinctive melodic sensibility, always rooted in a strong sense of groove, has been featured in many distinguished ensembles over the years.  

Reid grew up outside of Washington D.C., but her musical career began after moving to Chicago in 2000. Her work with Nicole Mitchell and various Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians-related groups proved influential. By focusing on developing her craft in countless improvisational contexts, Reid has achieved a stunning musical fluency. She is a Foundation of the Arts (2019) and 3Arts Awardee (2016), and received her doctorate in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2017. 

Reid released her debut recording as a bandleader in 2015, with the Tomeka Reid Quartet, a vibrant showcase for the cellist’s improvisational acumen as well as her dynamic arrangements and compositional ability. The quartet’s second album, Old New, released in Oct 2019 on Cuneiform Records, has been described as “fresh and transformative--its songs striking out in bold, lyrical directions with plenty of Reid’s singularly elegant yet energetic and sharp-edged bow work.”  Another reviewer noted that “while Reid’s compositional and technical gifts transcend jazz, they exemplify the tradition wondrously.”  

Reid has been a key member of ensembles led by legendary reedists like Anthony Braxton (ZIM SEXTET) and Roscoe Mitchell (ROSCOE MITCHELL QUARTET, ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO), as well as a younger generation of visionaries including flutist Nicole Mitchell (BLACK EARTH ENSEMBLE, ARTIFACTS), vocalist Dee Alexander (EVOLUTION ENSEMBLE), and drummer Mike Reed (LOOSE ASSEMBLY, LIVING BY LANTERNS, ARTIFACTS). She co-leads the adventurous string trio HEAR IN NOW, with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi, and in 2013 launched the first Chicago Jazz String Summit, a semi-annual three-day international festival of cutting edge string players held in Chicago. In the Fall of 2019 Tomeka Reid received a teaching appointment at Mills College as the Darius Milhaud chair in composition.

Tomeka Reid Headshot

Jlin | Thursday, March 11, 2021

Jlin is one of the most prominent electronic producers of the current generation, first appeared on Planet Mu’s second Bangs & Works compilation, which had a huge impact on electronic/club music. Though she is known for bringing footwork to a wider audience, Jlin doesn’t consider herself a footwork artist. Hailing from Gary, Indiana, a place close yet distant enough from Chicago to allow her to develop a different perspective on the genre, she has morphed its sounds into something entirely new. Released in 2015, her debut album Dark Energy's innovative sound propelled it to the top of many of the year’s Best Of lists. Jlin’s sophomore album Black Origami was recently released to even greater critical acclaim and attention. In 2017, Jlin also composed the music for a major new dance work by Wayne McGregor, one of the UK’s best known choreographers.

This event is open to Jazz & Urban Experimentalism students only

Jlin Headshot

Cassils & Dorian Wood | Monday, March 22, 2021

CASSILS is a transgender artist who makes their own body the material and protagonist of their performances.

Cassils's art contemplates the history(s) of LGBTQI+ violence, representation, struggle and survival. For Cassils, performance is a form of social sculpture: Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to forces of power and social expectations, Cassils work investigates historical contexts to examine the present moment.

Image Cassils Performing

Dorian Wood seeks to glorify both the sanctity and irreverence of intimacy. Through the use of their corpulent body and booming voice, Wood revels in challenging the artist-audience separation, using subject matter informed by their own perspective as a non-binary brown person and an autodidact. Their work has been showcased in concert halls and performance spaces around the world, including at institutions like The Broad (Los Angeles), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Museo Nacional Del Prado (Madrid), the City Hall of Madrid and Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris (Mexico City).  From 2019 to 2020, Wood completed several successful tours throughout Europe, Mexico and the U.S. with their chamber orchestra tribute to Chavela Vargas, XAVELA LUX AETERNA. Wood is a recipient of the Creative Capital Award (2020) and the Art Matters Foundation grant (2020), and a past artist-in-residence at Building Bridges Art Exchange, Santa Monica, California (2020), Etopia, Centro de Arte y Tecnologia, under the FUGA program, Zaragoza, Spain (2019) and MASS Gallery, Austin, Texas (2017). Wood has released over a dozen recordings, among them the albums BOLKA (Independent, 2007); Brutus (Independent, 2010); Rattle Rattle (Atonal Industries, 2013); Down, The Dirty Roof (Atonal Industries, 2013), XALÁ (Atonal Industries, 2017), ARDOR (Independent, 2020) and REACTOR (Independent, 2020).

Image of Dorian Wood Performing

Animoss | Thursday, March 25, 2021

LA-based producer Animoss has contributed to many long-standing projects with some of the most critically acclaimed artists in underground hip-hop, including Roc Marciano, Ka, Chuck Strangers, Navy Blue and Cadalack Ron.

Headshot of Animoss

AG Cook | Monday, April 5, 2021

A.G. Cook is one of the most celebrated producers of our time.  Founder of the hugely influential PC Music label, he has produced works by Charli XCX, GFOTY, Hannah Diamond, Tommy Cash, Jónsi, Caroline Polachek, and many others. He has been Creative Director for Charli XCX since 2015. His solo music includes the 49 track album 7G, and Apple, both released in 2020.

This event is open to MAP/Ex-Pop and Creative Tech Forum students only.

AG Cook Headshot

Jahi Sundance Lake | Thursday, April 15, 2021

Veteran DJ Jahi Sundance is known for making inspired selections from varied genres and fashioning bold and imaginative soundscapes for audiences from clubs to concert halls. Jahi was the tour DJ for a number of recording artists: Talib Kweli, Mos Def, M’eshell Ndegeocello, and has performed as an integral part of ensembles led by Christian McBride, and Robert Glasper, among others. A producer in his own right, Jahi has produced tracks for Chris Brown, Danity Kane, and for the 2010 World Cup. He is a professor at Scratch DJ Academy in Los Angeles.

Jahi Sundance Lake Headshot

Val Jeanty | Thursday, April 22, 2021

Haitian-born Val Jeanty is a Brooklyn-based Afro-electronic (VodouElectro) music composer, drummer, and turntablist. Her installations have been showcased at the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and Lincoln Center in New York City, and internationally at Jazz a la Villette in France, the Venice Biennale in Italy, and SaalFelden Jazz Festival in Austria. She was a 2019 NYSCA Artist Fellowship recipient and has worked with a diverse array of artists including Anthony Braxton, Andrew Cyrille, and Geri Allen. Other highlights include “Fascinating Her Resilience,” a Wesleyan University commissioned multimedia performance collaboration with professor Gina Ulysse and work with Afro-Cuban saxophonist Yosvany Terry on his Grammy-nominated album, New Throned King.

Val Jeanty Headshot


Islands in the Matrix: Maria Maea and Micaela Tobin in Conversation | Thursday, April 22, 2021


Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 7:00–8:00 pm PDT

This event is sponsored by the Nick England Intercultural Arts Project.

Maria Maea is a multidisciplinary artist working in production, installation and performance. Through film, sculpture and movement she deepens her connection to source. She explores shadow and play through a range of meditative, durational, theatrical and actionist modes. Maea builds structures across mediums and creates games to open herself up to participation. She investigates the ways we engage and view ourselves within the realities constructed for us and by us. As Samoan-Mexican American straddling different layers of identity. Maea's work operates as an illumination on the brown body’s (dys)function as capitalist commodity, as a resistance to somatic fixity, an examination of the multiplicities of consciousness, and survival as immigrants and first-generation Americans.

person with a lemon tree behind her.

Micaela Tobin is a soprano, sound artist, and teacher based in Los Angeles, CA who specializes in experimental voice and contemporary opera, composing under the moniker White Boy Scream. Within this project Micaela dissects her operatic and extended vocal techniques through the use of electronics. Micaela’s most recent full length release, BAKUNAWA (Deathbomb Arc) is part sonic ritual, part diasporic storytelling. Of the album, Steve Smith of The New Yorker Magazine asserts that “opera would do well to pay attention.” Micaela is turning the album into a cinematic opera entitled BAKUNAWA: Opera of the Seven MoonsIt will have its virtual premiere at REDCAT on May 1, 2021.

person holding what resembles a glowing cloud.