United We Play




United We Play is a short film inspired by the current turbulent times, and the belief that strength comes through adversity—where there is divide, there is also community. The project combines the talents of Marcus Roberts, The Modern Jazz Generation, and the ASO’s string section in a musical, visual, and narrative digital experience that speaks to the future in a positive and hopeful way.

An immensely attractive new music film.Chicago Tribune

The film is available to view on-demand through February 21, 2020. Free to watch, accessible with registration.

The production features three world premieres of works for strings, jazz instrumentals, and piano composed by Marcus Roberts and commissioned by the ASO: America Has the Blues, Seeking Peace, and United We Play.

As musicians, we have learned to depend on and trust one another in order to create something greater than any one of us could create alone. I believe that every time we listen to someone else’s voice we become stronger and better people. Given the current state of the world, I hope that the great musical collaboration we built with the ASO for United We Play will be used as a vehicle to encourage and demonstrate that strength.Marcus Roberts

Funding for this project is being raised through the Musician Support Initiative, a campaign to provide opportunities for the ASO’s musicians while live performances with full orchestra are not possible. Support for the production of United We Play can be made through online donations here.


24 minutes


View Transcript

All music composed and arranged by Marcus Roberts

America Has the Blues
Seeking Peace
United We Play

Read the press release.


Leon Botstein, conductor, music director (American Symphony Orchestra)
Marcus Roberts, composer, music director (The Modern Jazz Generation)

Marcus Roberts, piano
Rodney Jordan, bass
Jason Marsalis, drums
Joe Goldberg, alto saxophone & clarinet
Ricardo Pascal, soprano & tenor saxophones
Stephen Riley, tenor saxophone
Tissa Khosla, baritone saxophone
Alphonso Horne, trumpet
Tim Blackmon, trumpet
Ron Westray, trombone