Spotlight Series

Spotlight Series – The Space Where Words Fail

Date: Sat Apr 22 2023

Time: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Location: Minneapolis

Room: Antonello Hall


New soundtrack by MacPhail’s EMRA department


Asha Belk, photographer

Asha is a successful event and food photographer in the Twin Cities (and MacPhail collaborator), and she has a strong narrative style. Asha will curate a selection of her recent photography from the Twin Cities and beyond (both existing and new work), creating a visual narrative that is highly relevant and speaks to the times we live in. 

MacPhail’s creative EMRA department performs a soundtrack created specifically for this performance in a collaborative manner. 

Michael Cain

After moving to New York in 1990, Cain became a first call pianist, working with drum legend Jack DeJohnette for nine years, as well as Dave Holland, Steps Ahead, Ravi Coltrane, Bobby McFerrin, Stanley Turrentine, Lauren Hill, Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny, Charles Neville, Christian McBride, John Scofield, Robin Eubanks, and Meshell N’degeocello, among others.

His numerous awards include a 2006 Grammy nomination for Dance of the Infidel, Meshell N’degeocello’s release on which Michael is pianist and co-arranger. He has recorded several records as a leader including Circa, a 1996 ECM release which featured Ralph Alessi and Peter Epstein, and served as producer for several recordings including Ron Blake’s Shariya, and Brian Landrus’ Traverse and Capsule.

Other Notable projects include serving as musical director for the Jose Limon Dance Company, scoring the films Maybe and Real With Me, by director Carl Ford for Black Nexxus Films, and composing the music for the Broadway play View from 151st Street, which ran at the George Papp Public Theater in New York in the fall of 2007. Most recent, Michael produced the Western Canadian recording “Rebirth of the Cool” for Cellar Live Records. During the summer of 2018 Michael toured with legendary trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard.

As an educator Michael has been a Professor at the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Minnesota, and Brandon University in Brandon, MB, Canada.

Michael’s latest release is entitled Hoo Doo and is available on iTunes and other platforms.

Isaac's headshot

Isaac Rohr (he/they) is an artist, beatmaker, and mixing and mastering engineer teaching in MacPhail’s EMRA program. Isaac has spent his life studying, performing and creating: electronic music, jazz, classical new music, ‘world’ music, audiovisual art, installations, 3D art, games and beats. Isaac takes a critical and dialectical approach to music making and performance emphasizing a unique, hyper-contemporary process with a focus on electronics, anti-racism, decolonization and auto-didactic practices. By studying and participating in as broad a variety of topics as possible, Isaac aims to provide students a learning environment and guidance with no limits.

As a teacher, Isaac places an emphasis on teaching using a discussion based approach in order to draw conclusions about the direction to take in lessons by the needs and pacing of the student; rather than treating the student as a project by providing a strict and dated plan.

As an artist, Isaac uses his fractured identity, neurodivergence, and ‘anti-post-de’-colonial theory to create hypnotic dissertations on the state of the human race and himself within it.

Isaac Rohr holds a Bachelor of Music – Music Composition from Brandon University as well as a Master of Fine Arts – Music Composition and Experimental Sound Practices from The California Institute of The Arts.

Krysta Rayford Headshot

Krysta “K. Raydio” Rayford is an Electronic Music Teacher in MacPhail’s EMRA program. A Teaching Artist for the past 10 years, she has taught classes/workshops for Minneapolis Public Schools, Kulture Klub Collaborative, Twin Cities Mobile Jazz and She Rock She Rock.

She believes it’s never too late to learn! As a self-taught musician with a non-traditional path to music education, she knows how important it is to feel supported on your learning journey. As a teacher, it’s important for her to help students of all ages with setting goals and supporting them in achieving them.

Krysta is currently an Ableton software instructor for Beats By Girlz MN, an organization that empowers women in sound production. Her introductory class was one of the only Ableton courses geared towards women and non-binary adults in the United States.

She recently released her collaborative album …And The World Weeps with producer Shrimpnose, in addition to a series of self-produced EPs (The Sync Series) in 2019. Krysta is also a Digital Media Producer and Program Host for iPondr, a national digital media publisher.

Krysta has years of experience as Voiceover Talent with a unique background in Audio Description narration. Her credits include Empire (FOX), Independent Lens (PBS), Barbie’s Dreamhouse Adventures (Netflix), and Around The Way (Hulu) among others.

Her music has been featured internationally on platforms such as VH1, BBC Radio and Okayplayer. Krysta was a featured performing artist at Soundset Music Festival in 2014, one of the largest hip-hop music festivals in the United States.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Arts (Radio, TV & Film) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison

Barbara looking off to the right

Barbara Cohen is an accomplished singer/songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer whose work embraces a variety of genres—from folk to trip-hop, electronica, world and modern-classical music.

Her career as a recording artist includes co-founding the Virgin Records’ band, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, collaborating with England’s rave luminaries, Orbital, singing lead vocals for the French experimental duo, Air, and releasing  critically acclaimed albums, both as a soloist and with Red House Record’s band Farm Accident and Girl & Her Monster Record’s band Little Lizard.  

Barbara Cohen’s ability to blend disparate musical elements extends to her scores for film and television: these range from the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, The Judge and the General to the dream-like cabaret-influenced HBO featureHabana Eva and guitardriven score for the MTV feature, Pedro; from the, Middle Eastern arrangements for feature documentaries The Lost Dream PBS/POV and Al Jazeera America’s Words of Witness.

Barbara Cohen’s songs and vocals have also been featured on film and television shows, including: Warner Bros.’ Red Riding HoodFox Pictures’ Broke Down Palace, and NBC primetime series Lipstick Jungle and Third Watch.

Her awards include admittance to the prestigious Sundance Film Composer Lab Fellowship, BMI Conducting Workshop, the Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship Grant for Artistry and Composition and the Minnesota Music Awards for Artist of the Year & Vocalist of the Year.

As an educator Barbara Cohen has been a faculty instructor at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles California, where she authored curriculum and taught classes on: Film & Television Scoring, Production & Recording for the Vocalist as well as, individual instruction for Songwriting and Voice. She has guest lectured at the University of Southern California’s Cinematic & Animation Arts, Art Center College of Design Pasadena, CA and was a Panelist for CILECT Sound Conference at Chapman University, Orange CA.

Barbara Cohen holds a Bachelors in Music – Music Composition from Musician’s Institute.

Kenichi looking to the right

Kenichi Thomas (aka DJ Just Nine) has been exploring music without regard for genres from a young age. That expansive taste, plus a desire to perfect the craft of DJing has earned him notable achievements like touring with Rhymesayers Entertainment artist Atmosphere; serving as I Self Devine’s tour DJ for five years; and performing on high-profile stages such as Rock The Bells, SxSW, Low End Theory, Afropunk Festival, 2018’s Super Bowl Live, and numerous Soundset Festivals. Just Nine currently holds down the decks for Minneapolis hip hop artist Greg Grease, countless club nights throughout the Twin Cities, and as a founding member of the future-funk band Astralblak (formerly known as ZULUZULUU). Together with Astralblak, he has released three albums on Sound Vérité Records (2016’s “What’s The Price”, 2018’s “Seeds”, and 2020’s “Space & Time EP”).

The MacPhail Spotlight Series 2022-23

Musical Explorations in Spectral Colors

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