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Wynton Marsalis's Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3) jumpstarts New York Philharmonic's 2010-11 Season

(September 2010)

New York Philharmonic presents U.S. premiere of Swing Symphony (Symphony No.3) on September 22, 2010.



Following a successful world premiere in Berlin, Wynton Marsalis's Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3) launches the New York Philharmonic's 2010-11 season with a U.S. premiere performance at the September 22 Opening Night Concert at Avery Fisher Hall. Scored for jazz orchestra and symphonic orchestra, Swing Symphony will be performed by the New York Philharmonic and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, led by Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert. The concert, which also includes Richard Strauss's Don Juan and Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, will be broadcast on PBS as part of the Live From Lincoln Center series, and simulcast on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR, in addition to a live audio webstream at wqxr.org. The concert is the centerpiece of the Philharmonic's Opening Night Gala, which includes a pre-concert reception and a post-concert dinner, and the work will also be featured in the morning's Free Open Rehearsal, at 9:45 A.M.

Describing the work, Marsalis says: "My piece follows the evolution of swing to the modern, to the current time. And the attitude of the piece is that all the eras of swing are always present. Every moment of it is a modern moment. It is perpetually new; it revives itself; it's a timeless rhythm. A swing rhythm doesn't age."

The work allows Marsalis to continue his explorations into how to join the forces of two strains of Western music — jazz and the symphony orchestra — to allow them to maintain their distinct identities while avoiding any possible sense of conflict or competition that derives from their different practices and genres. "I want to try to figure out some other ways for them to work together," he has explained. "The challenge for me is to make it sound like it's swinging."

Commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker in collaboration with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, and the Barbican, London, Swing Symphony received its world premiere by the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle on June 9, 10, 12, 13 in Berlin, and was broadcast live in HD via the Berlin Philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall.

Recent compositions by Marsalis include All Rise (Symphony No. 1), Blues Symphony (Symphony No. 2), and a mass, Abyssinian 200: A Celebration. All Rise, which was commissioned and premiered by the New York Philharmonic, is a 12-movement work for symphony orchestra, jazz orchestra and choir. It blends the sounds of jazz, blues, classical and indigenous music from around the world to represent humanity's enduring ascendance over time. Blues Symphony is Marsalis's first work written solely for symphony orchestra, celebrating the blues through the prism of different moments in American history. With his Abyssinian mass, written for jazz orchestra and choir, Marsalis fuses the sound of the Baptist church choir with blues and big-band swing rhythms.

"Sanctified Blues" (Family), from Marsalis's 2006 collaboration with Yacub Addy honoring New Orleans, Congo Square, is now available in print for jazz band. Score and parts can be purchased here.




Photo Credit: Rob Wayman

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