The brainchild of composer William Neil and saxophonist Tom Gullion, Project FourthStream is the logical extension to the synthesis of composed and improvised music. In the recent past, Gunther Schuller made significant strides fusing classical compositional techniques with jazz. Their intention, however, is to approach this music from the perspective where the composition services to enhance the improvisation. Recent developments have included use of digital acoustic equipment and interactive video projections. They are creating, in poetic terms, an acoustical environment that will expand their musical boundaries into the realm of interactive Musique Concrete. Duo has performed regionally at the La Crosse New Music Festival and, as founding members of the Driftless Jazz Festival, the duo performed for several years with guest artists including Hannah Jon Taylor and Davu Seru. In 2013, Project FourthStream successfully launched a crowd funding campaign, Nostras Voces: Out of Darkness Into Light and received funding to present a ground breaking concert with guest artist soprano Josefien Stoppelenburg . They were commissioned to create a composition and performance of music in April of 2015 to help a community to celebrate the renovation of the historic, Stanislaus Kostka Church in Chicago. WFMT Radio in Chicago broadcast the concert as part of their 2016 holiday programing on December 23rd. They continue to produce concerts with imaginative themes that benefit important causes, most recently the New Beginnings Concert in Milwaukee, raised funds for the International Institute of Wisconsin for refugee resettlement.
They have released two CD’s the first, This Music in 2008 and most recently, Out of Darkness Into Light both available on CD Baby.
Tom Gullion brings a deep, soulful performance style, a sophisticated avant-garde sensibility, and a quicksilver technique to a broad range of woodwind instruments. Starting with a deep musical education at Indiana University with Jazz Master David N. Baker, he soon joined the quintet of master trombonist J.J. Johnson. Since then, he has toured the US and Europe for a long string of collaborations with musicians from around the world. Project FourthStream has been fertile ground for exploring music that expand beyond genres and integrating cultures.
William Neil’s compositions present the listener with an intense brilliant effect (FANFARE MAGAZINE) and represents contemporary writing at its most intellectual probing (CHICAGO TRIBUNE). His extremely characteristic harmonic world (CLASSICAL CD REVIEW) is fundamental to the unfolding of his music. In the 1980’s Neil was appointed as the first composer-in-residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the first residency of its kind with a major American opera company. His Rhapsody for Violin, commissioned by the Abelson Foundation, was premiered in Prague by the Czech National Symphony conducted by Paul Freeman has been recorded and released on the New Albany label. The Rome Prize and the Charles Ives Award are among his honors. In 2008 he served as the McKnight Visiting Composer with the American Composers Forum for the city of Winona, MN. Most recently, Trio Malipiero premiered his piano trio, Notte dei Cristalli, at the Teatro alla Specola in Padova in June and the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra, directed by Alexander Platt premiered his Symphony No. 1 (Sinfonia delle Gioie) in October of 2016.
Project FourthStream regularly performs with guest artists, most recently we have work with:
Eleonora Savini, Guest Artist
Issam Rafea, Guest Artist
Rafea, winner of the 2010 “Best Composer Award” at the Dubai International Film Festival (Muhr Arab) for the film “September Rain,” is Chair of the Arabic Music Department at High Institute of Music in Damascus and the principal conductor of Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music. An active composer and arranger for television and theater, Rafea has made several solo appearances with the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra and has performed throughout the world. In March of 2013, he was invited to the United States to direct the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble and give a series of presentations and performances at the Northern Illinois University School of Music. Rafea currently resides in Illinois and continues to perform, compose, and teach.
The Art of Improvisation
Our music is true improvisation: informed by diverse music histories, aware of its context, responding to the present moment, looking to the future. Tom Gullion
Improvisation: way too close and never too far to learn how to listen, build your knowledge and then let your heart talk! Issam Rafea
Improvisation is music in the most present tense, alive with the vibrancy of mind and spirit. William Neil