I am sad to report that Longtime EMIT board member Rick Olson has left us recently. He loved adventurous music and was always supportive of EMIT projects. He was a good man and an accomplished musician who performed with Zappa tribute band Bogus Pomp and world music ensemble PoOg. He will be missed by many.
What We Do
It is hard to believe that twenty-two years and over 400 concerts have passed since our first concert at the Salvador Dali Museum in 1995! EMIT is a music presenter organization that seems to defy categories in many ways. Please allow me to describe who we are and what we do.
EMIT presents adventurous music - that is - diverse, often noncommercial programming including new classical, modern jazz, international, improvisation, and interdisciplinary art forms that incorporate sound. We prefer acoustic and near-acoustic volume levels believing that music should be listened to by a participating audience, not forced on people through loudness.
Emerging arts, innovation and virtuosity are important defining elements of the EMIT series. The name EMIT, is not an acronym. It is Latin for "sending forth" and it is also a term for high energy dispersion. Initially, we came together to make interesting music available in the Tampa by tapping into the touring circuit of composer/performers making their way south. Over the years, we have directed more of our energies toward local artists and creating opportunities for them here in St. Petersburg.
Current major activities of EMIT include management of the annual St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, Recording Arts Program with Boys & Girls Club students at the Royal Theater and ongoing EMIT series concerts throughout the year. EMIT also supports the 18-member Helios Jazz Orchestra and MIFU (Mobile Itinerant Funk Unit) as ensembles-in-residence. Educational instruction and workshops with local and visiting artists are also important components of EMIT programming.
EMIT has partnered with dozens of local arts organizations over the years including Gasp!, Salvador Dali Museum, Royal Theater, St. Pete Second Saturday ArtWalk, Studio@620, SPIFFS, Florida Orchestra, NOVA 535, ARTpool, Lights On Tampa, Boys & Girls Club, Gulf Coast Museum of Fine Art, BONK, Gulfport’s City of Imagination, WMNF-FM, Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association, Palladium Theater, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg College, City of Tampa and several local galleries - to produce concerts and workshops. Bright House and Creative Loafing are media sponsors of the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival.
EMIT has received four Best of the Bay awards from Creative Loafing for its innovative concert activities. EMIT is a member of Chamber Music America and was the first recipient of an ASCAP/Chamber Music American “Award for Adventurous Programming” in jazz. EMIT has received CMA/Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grants to present concerts with the Seattle-based Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto, the New York-based Rudresh Mahanthappa Quartet and the Claudia Quintet.
Memorable events have included:
7 visits with jazz legend Sam Rivers, MacArthur “Genius Award” recipient Ken Vandermark and his trio, Pamela Z with her interactive electronic mesh garment designed by M.I.T. faculty, the first Helios Jazz Orchestra concert, Brazilian jazz pianist Jovino Santos Neto, dynamic bassist/composer John Lindberg, 6 visits with iconoclastic performer Eugene Chadbourne, violist LaDonna Smith, the Moving Current Dance Collective, “Ringing for Healing” performance protest created by Pauline Oliveros and Ione, Moving Current Dance Collective’s first St. Petersburg performance, Bassist Peter Kowald, avant-pianist Matthew Shipp, jazz legend Kevin Mahogany, The SWARM! performance installation at the Salvador Dali Museum & Timucua White House, The Claudia Quintet and dozens of workshops with both local and guest artists with students.
EMIT always offers payment to musicians for their services, believing that musicians are rarely in financial positions to donate their services. It is unlikely that EMIT will ever operate a storefront or performance space, as we prefer to designate most of its budget to artists directly for concerts and workshops. 43% of our total income for the past season, was paid to local musicians. We pay a decent professional rate and never ask musicians to perform for free or for unprofessional rates.
Making creative music in Florida is very challenging. I would like to thank our many volunteers and supporters over the years. I hope to see you this season at our concerts and workshops. If you have interest in assisting the EMIT series, please send us an email using the "contact" menu.