Tone Parallel to Harlem

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This week, host Terrance McKnight spins Duke Ellington’s Tone Parallel to Harlem and Aaron Copland’s The City, two compositions that evoke the sounds of life in northern American cities. The program also features New York composer and clarinetist Don Byron and composer Frederic Delius whose time spent on a Florida Plantation inspired his Florida Suite.

"Too many musicians, too few concert halls." We’re not certain who coined that sentiment but it resonates through music schools and conservatories around the world. The statement suggests that students must discover a unique artistic voice to have any hopes of rising to the proverbial top. It partially explains why Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner dominated the music scene in their day. The expression signifies that only the best of the best make it in the world of music.

At the turn of the 19th century, two American composers were born. Edward Ellington in 1899 and Aaron Copland in 1900. Both men spent their creative lives in New York City writing what they considered American music. Although they performed and composed during the same years, both Copland and Ellington were unique enough to flourish side by side, barely inhabiting one another’s creative space.




Martha Complained

R. Nathaniel Dett

Denver Oldham

New World


The Secret Guitar

Bryan Johanson, composer, guitar

Yoshi Nakao, clarinet

Joel Bluestone, percussion

Hamilton Cheifetz




Don Byron composer, clarinet

Uri Caine, piano

Blue Note


Five Single Pieces

Ferruccio Busoni

Wolfgang Meyer, clarinet

Matthias Kirschnereit, piano



Sunset – Near the Plantation

Frederick Delius

English Northern Philharmonia

David Lloyd-Jones, conductor



The City

Aaron Copland

Eos Orchestra

Jonathan Sheffer, conductor



Bells for Haarlem

Louis Andriessen

Boston Modern Orchestra Projest

Gil Rose, conductor

Cristina Zavalloni, mezzo-soprano

Monica Germino, violin



Harlem for Jazz Band and Orchestra

Edward K. Ellington

American Composers Orchestra

Maurice Peress, conductor

John faddis, trumpet

Bell Easley, clarinet

Ron Carter, bass

Butch Miles, drums

Music Masters


Silver Bells

Jay Livingstone and Ramond Evans

Marcus Roberts, piano