Secret to Life
Terry Jenoure is a multidisciplinary artist who has performed, exhibited, conducted research, and taught internationally. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees in education.Artist Bio
Within Terry Jenoure’s bones exists a family tale of racial passing. When stories are concealed, guilt and shame sometimes lead us to bury them, resulting in generational confusion and even trauma. Further compounded by the marginalization of women of color (WOC), the cost is immeasurable to us and society at large. Secret to Life unbinds and discloses the secrets of WOC through a series of multimedia performances. Jenoure’s multidisciplinary project contains music composition, performances, interviews, writing, and ritual staging. WOC’s secrets will be mined from in-person and online interviews and through facilitated writing exercises. The resulting collection of secrets will inspire my original compositions. They will be presented in a series of ritualized performances with a free-Jazz ensemble comprised of WOC over age 50, the democratic nature of collaborative improvising being a suitable match for the democratic goals of unearthing WOC’s secrets. On stage the performances are rich in media as well as in intellectual and emotional impact. To this end, the elder ensemble becomes a healing conduit, offering catharsis through instrumental and lyrical sound. The staging of the space is equally essential to its impact. For this, my projected illustrations of women and my figurative and abstract fabric sculptures will simulate an ornate, celebratory “village,” where communal ritual welcomes what has been hidden and thrusts it into the light. Video and audio recordings of performances will be accessible online. Jenoure’s compositions, coauthored by participating women, will be published, with proceeds going to organizations that support WOC.
Terry Jenoure, composer, violinist, vocalist, was born and raised in the Bronx into a Puerto Rican and Jamaican family. Beginning classical violin study at age eight, she later became a protégé of the Black avant-garde within the free-jazz movement. With a career spanning four decades, she has collaborated internationally with such greats as Archie Shepp, Leroy Jenkins, Marion Brown, John Carter, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Andrew Cyrille, Elliott Sharp, Billy Bang, Henry Threadgill, Richard Davis, and others. She studied voice with Edward Boatner (Sonny Stitt’s father), who also coached Josephine Baker and Dinah Washington. Associations with Yusef Lateef and Ornette Coleman have shaped her musical philosophy. Recognized by DownBeat, The New York Times, and JazzTimes, Terry has earned numerous grants for composition and performance. A multidisciplinary artist, her visual art has been commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute, and her writing published extensively. Terry has masters and doctoral degrees in education and has conducted arts activism in India, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, and Israel. She served on faculty at Lesley University for 20 years and as adjunct faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she concurrently served as the Director of UMass’ multidisciplinary, multicultural venue, Augusta Savage Gallery, for 30 years.
Photo by Michael O’Bannon.