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American Symphony Orchestra Salutes Duke Ellington with Marcus Roberts Trio & Catherine Russell

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.

ASO: Duke Ellington

Thursday, March 12, 2020 at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)

Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 PM

Concert 8 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor

Marcus Roberts Trio Marcus Roberts, piano

Rodney Jordan, bass

Jason Marsalis, drums

Catherine Russell, singer

Three Black Kings (world premiere arrangement by Marcus Roberts)

New World A-Comin’ (world premiere arrangement by Marcus Roberts)

Satin DollHarlemSophisticated LadyNight Creature for Jazz Band and OrchestraBlack, Brown and Beige Suite

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

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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