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David Robertson opens 2016 with virtuoso trumpeter Wynton Marsalis

BY Sydney Symphony Orchestra | 04-Feb-2016
Sydney Symphony Orchestra Chief Conductor David Robertson will join forces with trumpeter, bandleader and composer Wynton Marsalis to bring the spirit of swing to the Concert Hall in an exuberant opening to the SSO’s 2016 season. @sydsymph #sydneysymphony
“We can’t wait to put on the ultimate jazz celebration for Sydney audiences” Sydney Symphony Orchestra Chief Conductor David Robertson

They will perform the Australian premiere of Marsalis’ Swing Symphony as their two ‘big bands’ – the SSO and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – come together for an exciting musical journey. “We can’t wait to put on the ultimate jazz celebration for Sydney audiences with legendary trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra,” says Robertson, who is beginning his third year as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the SSO. “With an intelligent fusing of the Orchestra and the jazz band, Swing Symphony travels from New Orleans to the swing era and beyond, telling the story of jazz in a really inspiring way.”

In just under an hour, Swing Symphony makes a musical journey: jump-cutting between ragtime, Charleston, big band, bebop and beyond to fuse the rhythms and riffs of jazz with the richness of the classical sound. When Swing Symphony received its US premiere with the New York Philharmonic in 2010, Anthony Tommasini for The New York Times said he had “never seen so many people at a Philharmonic concert tapping their feet and hands”.

Managing and Artistic Director at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Music Director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Marsalis was born in New Orleans and began his classical training on trumpet at age 12. He entered The Juilliard School at age 17 before joining Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. With more than 60 jazz and classical recordings to his name, Marsalis has won nine Grammy Awards and received a Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – comprising 15 virtuosic musicians including Marsalis – has been resident orchestra at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center since 1988. Under the direction of Marsalis, this incredibly versatile orchestra performs a vast repertoire, from rare historic compositions to Jazz at Lincoln Center‐commissioned works, including compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, and many others.

Swing Symphony is one of four premieres Robertson will conduct across February and March in what promises to be a watershed year for the SSO. Robertson will give the Australian premiere of Scheherazade.2, a new violin concerto written by eminent American composer John Adams for violinist Leila Josefowicz, before presenting a new realisation of Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars with stunning projections of the Utah desert by photographer Deborah O’Grady.

Also in March, Robertson will conduct the world premiere of a new work by young Australian composer Lisa Illean in the first concert of a series new to 2016 – SSO at Carriageworks – programmed in collaboration with SSO Artist in Residence, Australian composer Brett Dean.

All concerts in Sydney Opera House Concert Hall
Wynton Marsalis and the SSO:
Swing Symphony
25 Feb, 6.30pm
26 Feb, 8pm
27 Feb, 8pm


BERNSTEIN Fancy Free Prelude, Fugue and Riffs
MARSALIS Swing Symphony Australian Premiere
David Robertson conductor
Wynton Marsalis trumpet

Francesco Celata clarinet
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra:
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
24 Feb, 8pm

Jazz selections to be announced from the stage
Wynton Marsalis music director, trumpet
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra


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