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  • Orchestra Pays Tribute to John Coltrane at Symphony Hall

    Posted on November 23rd, 2015 in

    John Coltrane’s seminal album-long suite A Love Supreme is one of the saxophone virtuoso’s most fitting work for tribute, but also perhaps his most difficult to interpret. The jazz classic, which celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year, is defined by its intense, passionate and, at times, chaotic improvisation.   Keep reading »

  • Wynton Marsalis honored at Marian Anderson Awards at the Kimmel Center

    Posted on November 11th, 2015 in Review

    The Kimmel Center was aglow for the Marian Anderson awards on Tuesday evening with stars including honoree Wynton Marsalis, TV journalist Soledad O’Brien as master of ceremonies, gospel singer Kim Burrell, and Grammy-winning vocalist Lalah Hathaway. Attendees donned regal dresses and dapper suits to honor historic contralto Anderson and jazz legend Marsalis.   Keep reading »

  • Wynton Marsalis’ Acceptance Speech at Marian Anderson Award 2015

    Posted on November 10th, 2015 in Speech

    I would like to thank the Board of Directors and Chair Nina Tinari for selecting me as recipient of this year’s Marian Anderson Award. Thank you Mayor Nutter. And thanks to young Max Chambers who was accompanied by the great Farid Baron, to Miss Misty Copeland, to Lalah Hathaway, to Kim Burrell, to Bill Jolly and his band, and to my brothers for life, the seven.   Keep reading »

  • Marsalis Concerto in D, Barbican, London — ‘Vivid, restless’

    Posted on November 9th, 2015 in Review

    Contrary to some preconceptions, classical music has always opened its arms to outside influences. In the US, jazz and classical have enjoyed a particularly fruitful courtship. If there ever were boundaries that mattered, they disappeared long ago. Gershwin, Copland and Bernstein have all been there, so Wynton Marsalis is in good company.   Keep reading »

  • LSO/Gaffigan review – Nicola Benedetti does her best with unrestrained Marsalis

    Posted on November 8th, 2015 in Review

    Wynton Marsalis is a very busy musician. On the night Nicola Benedetti was premiering his violin concerto in London, Marsalis was in Princeton, on tour with his Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra. So one could understand if he feared he might not get the time to write another violin concerto. Perhaps that’s why he seemed to be throwing everything he had at this one.   Keep reading »

  • Bold venture is more glorified jam session than fully-achieved work

    Posted on November 7th, 2015 in Review

    Wynton Marsalis has made several forays across the jazz-classical divide, but his Concerto in D, which was written for – and, more importantly, with - the violinist Nicola Benedetti, marks a bold new departure.   Keep reading »

  • Benedetti, LSO, Gaffigan, Barbican

    Posted on November 7th, 2015 in Review

    A full house for a premiere performance: Wynton Marsalis bucks the trend in contemporary music. He’s an established name, more for his jazz than his classical work. But in recent years he has produced a substantial body of orchestral music, so the flocking crowds know what to expect. His new Violin Concerto continues the trend.   Keep reading »

  • Nicola Benedetti gives premiere of Wynton Marsalis’s Violin Concerto

    Posted on November 7th, 2015 in Review

    Curiously – for an orchestra that promoted a 12-concert Violin Festival at the end of last season, but which included no new works for the instrument – the LSO followed its recent UK premiere of John Adams’s Scheherazade.2 with another American composer’s violin piece written for a female soloist (Leila Josefowicz), this time by Wynton Marsalis for Nicola Benedetti. Both are substantial, lengthy and impressive works in four movements.   Keep reading »

  • Nicola Benedetti and Wynton Marsalis, Barbican, review: ‘a labour of love’

    Posted on November 7th, 2015 in Review

    It’s often said that the London Symphony Orchestra is our most American-sounding orchestra. And boy, didn’t it seem so last Friday. It was an evening of unabashed American pizzazz, led by the diminutive American conductor James Gaffigan, who at times looked like a Broadway show dancer doing a spot of moonlighting on the podium. Unorthodox his knee-bends and hip-sways may have been, but they certainly did the job.   Keep reading »

  • Nicola Benedetti: the violin virtuoso teams up with jazz titan Wynton Marsalis

    Posted on November 3rd, 2015 in Profiles & Interviews

    It’s a gorgeous, breezy day in mid-August in the little lakeside community of Chautauqua in the north-western corner of New York state. Inside the modest concert hall there’s music emanating from the large orchestra on the platform, which is intriguingly hard to place. The trombones are giving vent to a throaty moan but they are surrounded by sophisticated harmonies, in strings and woodwinds, from a later era. And soaring above it all is the silvery sound of a solo violin, played by a young woman of glowing Italianate good looks, with a cascade of unruly hair spilling over bare shoulders. She looks ready for a day on the beach, except that she plays with a concentrated frown.   Keep reading »