|All-Ellington Symphonic Program Features Marcus Roberts Trio and Vocalist Catherine Russell
|New York, NY, February 22, 2022 — Music Director Leon Botstein will lead the American Symphony Orchestra on March 24 in a tribute to the genre-defying genius of the great Duke Ellington with an all-Ellington symphonic concert at Carnegie Hall, where the composer played a series of annual concerts and premiered many of his greatest works, including Black, Brown, and Beige and New World A-Comin’. The pieces will be performed for Jazz Trio and Large Orchestra by American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and teacher Marcus Roberts, who performs with his Marcus Roberts Trio. The evening also features Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Catherine Russell, best known for her album Harlem on my Mind and her appearance as a featured artist on the soundtrack album for the HBO TV series Boardwalk Empire. The performance was originally scheduled for March 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic. In lieu of the performance, Marcus Roberts collaborated with the ASO on the short film titled United We Play, created in response to the turbulence of 2020 and released in December 2020. The film features three world premieres commissioned by the ASO and composed by Roberts. His method of writing for trio and orchestra is to blend the two ensembles, the seemingly different worlds of Jazz and Classical they each represent, and the contrasting approaches of improvisational and written music-making into a collage that is uniquely and unmistakably American.
The ASO will close its 60th anniversary season on June 5 with a free concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center featuring the world premiere of Roberto Sierra’s newly commissioned Concerto for Electric Violin performed by renowned electric violinist Tracy Silverman.
|Duke Ellington + Marcus Roberts Trio
Thursday, March 24, 2022 at 8 PM Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Leon Botstein, conductor Marcus Roberts Trio Marcus Roberts, piano Rodney Jordan, bass
Jason Marsalis, drums Catherine Russell, singer
Black, Brown, and Beige Suite (Arr. Maurice Peress)Satin Doll (Arr. Chuck Israels)Harlem (Arr. Luther Henderson & Maurice Peress)Sophisticated Lady (Arr. Morton Gould)Night Creature for Jazz Band and Orchestra (Arr. Luther Henderson, Ed. Gunther Schuller)New World A Comin’ (Arr. Maurice Peress)Three Black Kings (Completed by Mercer Ellington, Arr. Luther Henderson)
Duke Ellington’s musical style employs a unique blend of classical and jazz compositional techniques that also combine improvisation with written works, making him one of the most influential jazz composers of all time. Although he considered his compositions “beyond category” and he never defined himself as a jazz composer, his instrumental groupings, improvisational skills, and jazz arranging brought the world a notable American sound that can be heard in works like Sophisticated Lady and Harlem. His symphonic suite Three Black Kings demonstrates his focus on musical form and jazz composition. Ellington said his aim in writing Night Creature—which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1955—was “to try to make the symphony swing.”
Tickets, priced at $25–$65, are available at carnegiehall.org, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800 or visiting the box office at 57th St & 7th Ave. Ticket holders will need to comply with the venue’s health and safety requirements, which can be found here.
|American Symphony Orchestra
Now in its 60th season, the American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, with the mission of providing music within the means of everyone. Music Director Leon Botstein expanded that mission when he joined the ASO in 1992, creating thematic concerts that explore music from the perspective of the visual arts, literature, religion, and history, and reviving rarely performed works that audiences would otherwise never have a chance to hear performed live. The ASO’s signature programming includes its Vanguard Series, which presents concerts of rare orchestral repertoire, and various other events dedicated to enriching and reflecting the diverse perspectives of American culture. During the summer months, the ASO is the orchestra-in-residence at Bard’s SummerScape, performs at the Bard Music Festival, and offers chamber music performances throughout the New York City area. As part of its commitment to expanding the standard orchestral repertoire, the ASO has released recordings on the Telarc, New World, Bridge, Koch, and Vanguard labels, and live performances are also available for digital streaming. In many cases, these are the only existing recordings of some of the forgotten works that have been restored through ASO performances.For more information, please visit americansymphony.org.
Leon Botstein has been music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He is also music director of The Orchestra Now, an innovative training orchestra composed of top musicians from around the world. He is co-artistic director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where he has been president since 1975. He is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003–11. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein also has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He is the recipient of numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry. In 2019, The New York Times named Leon Botstein a “champion of overlooked works…who has tirelessly worked to bring to light worthy scores by neglected composers.” More info online at LeonBotstein.com.
|This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. The ASO’s Vanguard Series is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
Photo credits: Marcus Roberts © Literary Hub, Catherine Russell © Sandrine-Lee.