Gray Sound Sessions Vol. 9: Spinning Home Movies with Seth Parker Woods

 Jul 30, 2020, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
 [live stream]

Arts + Public Life Facebook page

Presented in partnership with the South Side Home Movie Project and Arts + Public Life, the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry hosts its ninth in a series of Gray Sound Sessions: Spinning Home Movies with Seth Parker Woods, featuring a 30-minute set of vintage home movie footage from the South Side Home Movie Project digital archives curated and soundtracked by cellist Seth Parker Woods.

With a nod to Zora Neale Hurston, Parker Woods’ mix “The Will to Adorn” layers his own original compositions, performances and field recordings from Yellowstone National Park, archival audio from the home movies, and recorded music from indie and big label musicians over vivid, poignant home movie scenes to create three distinct movements: “Life Before,” “Forces in Motion” and “Lemons into…” With film clips spanning five decades, and sounds ranging from “Yellowstone loons calling” to Alice Coltrane, this uniquely complex episode traces an evolving sense of intimacy.

Hailed by The Guardian as “a cellist of power and grace” who possesses “mature artistry and willingness to go to the brink,” cellist Seth Parker Woods has established a reputation as a versatile artist straddling several genres. In addition to solo performances, he has appeared with the Ictus Ensemble (Brussels, BE), Ensemble L’Arsenale (IT), zone Experimental (CH), Basel Sinfonietta (CH), New York City Ballet, Ensemble LPR, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Seattle Symphony. A fierce advocate for contemporary arts, Woods has collaborated and worked with a wide range of artists ranging from the likes of Louis Andriessen, Elliott Carter, Heinz Holliger, G. F. Haas, Helmut Lachenmann, Klaus Lang, and Peter Eötvos to Peter Gabriel, Sting, Lou Reed, Dame Shirley Bassey, and Rachael Yamagata to such visual artists as Ron Athey, Vanessa Beecroft, Jack Early, Adam Pendleton, and Aldo Tambellini. 

Woods serves on the performance faculty at the University of Chicago as a Lecturer/Artist in Residence for Cello and Chamber Music. He previously served on the music faculties of Dartmouth College and the Chicago Academy of the Arts, and holds degrees from Brooklyn College, Musik Academie der Stadt Basel, and a PhD from the University of Huddersfield. At present, he is the Artist in Residence with the Seattle Symphony and the interactive concert hall, Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center.

The program includes selections from the Ellis McClelland, Lynette Frazier, Jean Patton, Leroy Roberson, Gustina Steele, Alsup Smith, Sylvester Matthews, Pitts and Reed Family Collections at the South Side Home Movie Project.

Presented with support from the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture (CSRPC) and Gray Sound Sessions at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry.

Seth Parker Woods photo credit: James Napoli

Watch the Livestream here at 7pm cst on Thursday, July 30: 

Learn more about Seth at

Learn more about the South Side Home Movie Project and explore the digital archives at


 ***This free performance is sponsored by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, but we encourage listener-watchers to consider making their own donations to the artists.

About Gray Sound Sessions
The Gray Center is now streaming a free, streaming weekly music-and-sound series, Gray Sound Sessions, featuring concerts but also happenings and experiments with form and platform. The series showcases searching performances from some of our favorite musicians and sound-makers including Opera Povera, Seth Parker Woods, a•pe•ri•od•ic, Viola Yip and Nicola Hein, and many more. In each case, we ask these artists not only to present work of their choice, but also—often through the performance itself—to reflect on the peculiar place of music and sound in this moment, and on the special power of those who labor them into being.

Gray Sound Sessions take place on Tuesday evenings at 8PM Central Daylight Time on the Gray Center’s Gray Sound Sessions page and the Gray Center's Facebook page. All events are sponsored by the Gray Center and free and open to the public, but we ask listener-watchers to consider making their own donations to the featured performers. The series is the initiative of Seth Brodsky (Gray Center Director), Zachary Cahill (Gray Center Director of Programs and Projects), and Seth Parker Woods (Artist-in-Residence at the University of Chicago). Others will surely be brought into the mix. We look forward to tuning in with you, near and far!