In 2007, composer Philip Swanson and poet J.D. Scrimgeour, both on the faculty of Salem State College in Salem, Massachusetts, created Confluence. In Confluence, Scrimgeour and Swanson merge their two art forms to produce work that is immediate and accessible, yet also resonant and profound. Their work ranges from short jazz-inflected pieces to long narratives. Confluence has performed at such venues as the Robert Frost Place, the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and the Association of Writers and Writing Program’s (AWP) Annual Conference.
Performances have featured poems by Scrimgeour and others, such as Yusef Komunyakaa, Alan Feldman, and Rainer Maria Rilke, read to music (either piano or trombone). The music varies depending on the poetry; there is some jazz, some blues, and a little classical. Much of the music is composed by Swanson, but the music includes work by Ravel and others.
The group’s first CD, Ogunquit, was produced by grammy-award winner Richard Price and released by MSR Classics in Feburary 2010. Listen to a sample from the CD below: