New York Philharmonic: Opening Night Gala

« previous episode | next episode »

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wynton Marsalis, trumpet with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Wynton Marsalis, trumpet with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (Clay Patrick McBride)

On Wednesday, September 22, conductor Alan Gilbert opens his second season at the helm of the New York Philharmonic with the U.S. premiere of Wynton Marsalis's Swing Symphony (featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra). Strauss's Don Juan and Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber round out the program. WQXR will broadcast this performance live, starting at 7:30 p.m. on 105.9 FM and at Terrance McKnight and Elliott Forrest co-host the gala concert.


About the Swing Symphony

Can an orchestra swing? That's one of the questions posed by Wynton Marsalis's Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3). Spanning six movements, it is intended as an overview of the history of jazz. The piece was commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, and the Barbican Centre, London.

This isn't the first time that Marsalis has composed for classical forces. In 1995, he collaborated with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to compose the string quartet, At The Octoroon Balls. That was followed by the premiere of Blood on the Fields, his 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio on slavery, and All Rise, an oratorio the New York Philharmonic premiered in 1999.

Terrance McKnight talks with Wynton Marsalis about the Swing Symphony:

And here, host Jeff Spurgeon talks with Wynton Marsalis and Alan Gilbert about the Evening's Program:

About Wynton Marsalis

Marsalis is a leading voice in American jazz, with an extensive discography and a string of awards. He was the first instrumentalist to win simultaneous Grammys in the jazz and classical categories. Joining Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers at 18, he went on to perform with all the major players of the Eighties, and toured with his band all over the world. Marsalis is the first jazz composer ever to earn a Pulitzer, a distinction that for five decades had been the exclusive domain of classical composers. In recent years, he’s been a notable booster for his native New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Program Details:

Alan Gilbert, conductor (pictured)

Wynton Marsalis, Music Director and Trumpet, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

R. Strauss - Don Juan

Marsalis - Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3)

Hindemith - Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber

    Hosted by:

    Elliott Forrest and Terrance McKnight

    Comments [7]

    Abby Mayer from Cornwall, NY


    I would like to acquire the 2011-12 season programs of the Friday 11:00 AM concerts, so that I may purchase in advance selected concerts of interest.

    Thank you very much!!!!


    Mar. 09 2011 04:50 PM
    Bob Beard from DC area

    What a magnificent piece of music played by truly gifted musicans. The complex rhythms, the abrupt changes and the mix of styles could only be done this well by an orchestra as talented as the NY Phil and the Marsalis ensemble. I think Marsalis said he wanted something that was musical but would challenge the players and that it does (this has to be one complicated score). Yet it is both jazz and it is classical music too. I like both styles and to hear such a piece was uplifting. Bravo and cool. Brass got a workout.

    Sep. 24 2010 05:38 PM
    Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

    Tonight is the Gala Opening Night of the NY Philharmonic in its 168th year with this its 15,054th concert. Hearing the swinging "Swing" symphony #3 of 45 year old Wynton Marsalis with its glimpses of harmonies of Gershwin and Copland and ragtime and Sammy Kaye's orchestra's arrangements and the sprightly treatment by both the NY Philharmonic,with its 85 members, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with its 15 members, the composer and trumpet soloist sitting in with his ensemble, conducted by the versatile 36 year old Maestro Alan Gilbert, obviously enjoying himself, with virtuosic performances by trumpet and alto sax soloists, and strong brass and percussion sections. The allegro movement demonstrated why Wynston Marsalis' trumpet wizardry is so universally lauded in both the classical and jazz worlds. His playing tonight, Wednesday September 22nd, at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, lived up to his reputation. Hand clapping by the percussion section and piano accompaniment make this symphony an uncommon work.. Marsalis said in the intermission that he has given up classic music in favor of jazz, "It is too difficult to do both at my age because of all the rehearsal time necessary." The orchestra is a United Nations assembly of just about every ethnic and race imaginable, an ensemble committed to making the 45 year old Marsalis, the Paul Hindemith's "Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber," which riotously closed the concert, and the 26 year old Richard Strauss' "Don Juan," an early work which encapsulated the bravura zest for living of that womanizing seducer hero, masterpieces, so different from one another, yet lovingly treated to their individual appropriate style presentation.

    Sep. 22 2010 11:56 PM
    Karen from My house

    Listening to you on line. It's nice to hear your voice again.

    Sep. 22 2010 08:52 PM
    Peter from Vancouver, Canada

    I'm listening now. Very nice! Some tough trumpet parts!

    Sep. 22 2010 08:16 PM
    Girl in the ATL from on line

    That is one fine swinging Symphony.

    Sep. 22 2010 08:08 PM
    Devon Dukes from New York

    Mr.Marsalis's musical genius has long been under-rated.The New York Philharmonic &/or Lincoln Center's whose who should be honored to have him there on opening night.They could have done alot worse in seletecting a season opening performer. Wish I could have attended, enjoy.

    Sep. 22 2010 04:27 PM

    Leave a Comment

    Email addresses are required but never displayed.

    The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.