Marking the tenth anniversary since the re-establishment of Oxford Improvisers and celebrating the remarkable range and diversity of music it has fostered in Oxford and beyond, Cohesion 2011 will be a unique four-day festival of new and improvised music and performance over a two-week period, featuring the legendary


Wadada Leo Smith is one of the outstanding American musicians of his generation. A ground-breaking trumpeter and composer, he was a key member of the seminal Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Alongside artists such as Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, he has pioneered new possibilities in creative music, and in so doing, created a compelling body of work, ranging from solo musics through to orchestral compositions.

Artistic Direction: Pat Thomas

Tunde Jegede (Kora, Cello)

Alexander Hawkins (Piano)

Hafeez Al-Karrar (Percussion)

Ahmed Abdul Rahman (Erhu) 

Members of Oxford Improvisers Orchestra


Thursday 24 November  8.00PM

Newman Rooms Rose Place St Aldate’s Oxford OX1 1RD £9/£6
Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith in concert with Pat Thomas, Alexander Hawkins, and members of Oxford Improvisers

Saturday 26 November  8.00PM

Jacqueline du Pré Music Building  Saint Hilda’s College, Cowley Place Oxford OX4 1DY £9/£6
Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith in concert, with Oxford Improvisers Orchestra

Friday 2 December   4.45PM and 9.15 PM

Jacqueline du Pré Music Building £5.00


a multi-layered work combining vibrant live contributions from Oxford musical communities, vocal and instrumental, with soundscapes from the edge of town

  • performances by oxford improvisers and guests,
  • sonic space in foyer before, between and after performances (samples here)
  • free performance by ‘synaesthetics’ 7.45 pm to 8.15 pm  (see here)
  • intervention from Cafe Reason Butoh Dance Company

[more details on performance here]

Saturday 3 December afternoon and evening

Pegasus Theatre Magdalen Road Oxford OX4 1RE

  • 1.30-3.30 pm  Taster workshop on improvisation techniques. Cost: £3
  • 4.00-6.00 pm   Open session. An open rehearsal and discussion prior to the evening performance. Cost: Free (booking required).
  • 8.00 pm  Concert: “New moves; new sounds ” £7, £5 concessions, £4 U18

Live collaborations across the arts featuring :

Tunde Jegede, Hafeez Al-Karrar, Ahmed Abdul Rahman, as well as members of Oxford Improvisers working with some of Oxford’s talented dancers, and artists from the DEC project (drawing dance). [see details here]


Telephone: o1865 721564

Advance booking: for a complete list

or go to each event page for the links relevant to each date

Cohesion Festival and Oxford Improvisers wish to thank

Oxford Brookes University

for its continuing and invaluable support over the 10 years of Oxford Improvisers’ activities

Cohesion Festival 2011 receives support from Arts Council England,

and a grant from Oxford City Council.


7 Responses to COHESION FESTIVAL 2011

  1. Patti Stansfield says:

    I have not been to the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building so would like to know if this is a sit-down only venue. I hope not – i can only listen to music in a vertical position..

  2. How does one go about contacting somebody in charge of bookings for the 2012 line up please? Thanking you in anticipation of a swift response. CHEERS

  3. Steve says:

    referred to this site by chris dammers – looks really interesting, please put us on your email list

  4. Dan Goren says:

    I’d like to offer a massive vote of thanks to the organisers of this year’s Cohesion festival.

    Ambitious, stimulating, inclusive and run with bucket loads of generosity – of time and effort. In case anyone is under any illusion, this festival has basically been 12 months in the making: weeks of work put into everything from funding to publicity, workshops to new works. It takes real determination, nerve and occasionally the patience and diplomacy of a saint and I doff my cap to you all – Bruno, Malcolm, Julian, Anne, Pat, Lee.

    Looking back on it, there was incredible amount packed into the four events – Fabulous visiting musicians, some inspired and inspiring performances, loads of really excellent workshops. You managed to reach a really wide range of musicians and communities, near and far.

    For myself I thank you for creating some of the most stimulating experiences I can remember both as audience and performer.

  5. Susie Crow says:

    For review and comment on the final performance at Pegasus on 3rd December check out:

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