Faculty Spotlight: Jazz & Sculpture

New Music & Art Exhibitions

aakash-mittal
Kate-butler-sculpture

Sit back, Relax, & Listen to Nocturne

You might recognize the individual in the photo slideshow above as Aakash Mittal; he worked with the BWS 6th graders this fall for their Middle Ages block. He is a member of ‘Aakash Mittal’s Awaz Trio’ and released an album called Nocturne in September 2021. Aakash met the other two collaborating musicians, Rajna Swaminathan and Miles Okazaki, in 2013. After a few jam sessions, Aakash realized he wanted their specific musical talents to be on the album he was writing (Nocturne) and formed the trio. 

Nocturne is the fifth album Aakash has made as a ‘leader’, and it took him a total of eight years to produce. He particularly enjoyed the final stages of the project, figuring out the order of the tracks to tell a larger story as a single experience. His goal was to shape and create a virtual sound world based on how traversing Kolkata felt to him at that time.

The process of creating and finishing Nocturne taught Aakash that it’s okay to take as much time as you need to make sure a project is what you want it to be. When the pandemic hit and cancelled all concerts, he had to slow down and take time to cultivate a positive emotional space to work from. It was a humbling experience and an important lesson learned. 

Aakash is currently working on a solo violin piece, a solo piece for harp, and a quintet for cello, viola, violin baritone voice and countertenor – his first compositions for string instruments. We’re looking forward to tuning in!

Natural and Creative Forces Found in Sculpture

Kate Butler has supported BWS this year as a substitute and is currently the handwork assistant. An artist concentrating in ceramic sculpture and design, she premiered her solo exhibition with ChaShaMa, Echos Answer, this past December. As she puts it, her sculptures, some of which depict clouds, “speak to the desire to physically connect with the fleeting, phenomenal world.” Kate studied at The Marchutz School in Aix-en-Provence, France, before earning her MFA in Fine Arts and MS in Art History from the Pratt Institute. As well as teaching at BWS, Kate leads ceramic hand-building classes for adults.

A collection of her ceramic lighting is currently part of an exhibition of emerging designers, “Radiator“, on view May 11 – 17 with NYC Design Week.

Final Note

Thank you to the individuals showcased in this article for their input and willingness to be interviewed and have their talents displayed to the wider BWS community. We look forward to exhibiting more community members’ gifts in the near future.