Guest Artists are the Marcus Roberts Trio and Singer Catherine Russell

All-Ellington Symphonic Program Includes Two World Premiere Arrangements by Marcus Roberts

New York, NY February 18, 2020 — American Symphony Orchestra culminates its 2019-20 Vanguard series on March 12 with a tribute to the genre-defying genius of the great Duke Ellington on the stage of 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 evening, conducted by ASO’s music director Leon Botstein, features two world premiere arrangements of New World A-Comin’ and Three Black Kings for Jazz Trio and Large Orchestra by American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and teacher Marcus Roberts, who performs with his Marcus Roberts Trio.  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. Grammy Award-winning 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, also joins the evening.

Duke Ellington Ellington’s musical style employed a unique blend of classical and jazz compositional techniques that also combined 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.”

Leon Botstein will provide the musical context for the program in a lively, 30-minute Conductor’s Notes Q&A session, free for all ticket holders, one hour before the concert.

Duke Ellington + Marcus Roberts Trio
Thursday, March 12, 2020 at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 PM
Concert 8 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor
Lucas Debargue, piano
Marcus Roberts Trio
Marcus Roberts, piano
Rodney Jordan, bass
Jason Marsalis, drums
Catherine Russell, vocalist

Black, Brown, and Beige Suite
Satin Doll
Sophisticated Lady
New World A-Comin’ (arr. Marcus Roberts) World Premiere
Three Black Kings (arr. Marcus Roberts) World Premiere
Night Creature for Jazz Band and Orchestra

Tickets, priced at $25–$65, are available at carnegiehall.org, CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800 or the box office at 57th St & 7th Ave.

American Symphony Orchestra
Now in its 58th season, the American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, with a mission of providing great 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 at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center; an adult educational series at Symphony Space that offers interactive investigations into popular classical works; 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 Festival and performs at the Bard Music Festival.

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 download. In many cases, these are the only existing recordings of some of the forgotten works that have been restored through ASO performances.

Leon Botstein
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.”

For more information, please visit americansymphony.org.

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