Oran Etkin sitting with a group of young children who are participating in a music lesson

MTC Kids Jam – Oran Etkin’s Timbalooloo
'Finding Friends Far from Home'

January 21, 2023 | Polsky Theatre

Past Event

The MTC Kids Jam concert series is specially designed with families in mind! Join us in the MTC lobby at 10 a.m. for art activities led by the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, followed by a 60-minute concert with an acclaimed children’s musician.

This performance tells the story of Clara Net (a clarinet), who meets new instrument friends from around the world and creates new music as the cultures meet. It is accompanied by a new album, recorded on location in Zimbabwe, Czech Republic, China and Turkey as Etkin toured. This project further redefines the creative process by gathering the fruits of these encounters into one album, which tells a tale of friendship and understanding.

Voted No. 1 Rising Star Clarinetist in Downbeat Critics’ Poll, Etkin is regularly invited to perform at major festivals and theaters throughout the world. Over the past two years, he has reimagined what touring can mean – taking time off between shows to live with traditional mbira masters in Zimbabwe and building collaborative projects with Roma (Gypsy) musicians in Czech Republic. Timbalooloo creates unique and engaging performances for audiences of all ages at major concert venues throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

Etkin feels a strong responsibility to pass the rich musical traditions of this world to the next generation. For nearly a decade, his Timbalooloo program has created a paradigm shift in music education, instilling the idea of music as communication and dialogue by making instruments come alive and talk with each other. This innovative approach has attracted the attention of thousands of parents, including Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Martha Stewart, Ken Burns and Edie Falco, all of whom enrolled their children or grandchildren in Etkin's Timbalooloo program.

Harvey Keitel, who enrolled his son in Timbalooloo for three years, remarked, "our son was talking about Herbie Hancock, Mozart, Samba and African music – and he knew the difference!" In fact, Hancock recently heard about all the children learning his music through Timbalooloo and invited Etkin's Timbalooloo band to perform in Paris for UNESCO's International Jazz Day. Hancock makes a brief appearance in one of the Timbalooloo videos, which UNESCO premiered at schools and venues in its 195 partner countries. Through a creative approach to music education, as well as concert performances, recordings and video content, Timbalooloo endeavors to nurture a generation of children to speak the international language of music with the same fluency as they speak their mother tongue.