Spotlight Series

Spotlight Series – The Space Where Words Fail

Date: Sat Apr 22 2023

Time: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Room: Antonello Hall

Location: Minneapolis


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.

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’s ability to blend disparate musical elements extends to her scores for film and television: these range from the Academy Award nominated documentary, Four Winters, and the Emmy-nominated POV documentary, The Judge and the General to the dream-like cabaret-influenced HBO feature, Habana Eva and guitar driven 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’s songs and vocals have also been featured on film and television shows, including: Warner Bros.’ Red Riding Hood, Fox 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 is a faculty instructor for the EMRA (Electronic Music Recording Arts) program, at MacPhail Center for Music. She also taught for over twenty years at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles California, where she authored curriculum and instructed 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. She holds a Bachelors in 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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