The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany is an initiative of the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center, and University Art Museum, all of which are housed and function on the main campus of the University at Albany. Guests in this inaugural year of the series have included author Joyce Carol Oates and dancer/choreographer Savion Glover who appeared in September and October 2016, respectively.
Classically trained, Regina Carter is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. She studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and Oakland University. She lived and played in Germany and Detroit before moving to New York City to play with the New York String Trio for six years. She then launched her career as a band leader, releasing several albums of contemporary jazz, and drew attention for her work on the recording of Wynton Marsalis’s composition “Blood on the Fields” which won a Pulitzer Prize. She toured with Marsalis in 1997 and went on the road with jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson in 1998. In 2001, Regina became the first jazz musician and the first African-American to play the 250-year-old Guarneri violin once owned by Niccolo Paganini when she performed in a special benefit concert and recorded her CD, Paganini: After a Dream, a mix of classical music and jazz. In 2006, she was selected as a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius Award.” Her current project is “Simply Ella,” celebrating the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth, which she performed at The Egg on February 11. That afternoon, we recorded this conversation at UAlbany.