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Alan Gilbert, Wynton Marsalis, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

This concert is now past.
Wynton Marsalis
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $30.00 - $140.00

Concert Duration

1 hour 45 minutes
Fri, May, 31, 2013
11:00 AM
Sat, Jun, 1, 2013
8:00 PM
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)



Ragtime for 11 Instruments (1917-1918)

An "essay in jazz portraiture" — that's what Igor Stravinsky called his compact, witty homage to that jazzy genre, ragtime. Jazz was all the rage in Paris in the early part of the 20th century when he wrote it. According to her article "Stravinsky and Ragtime," Barbara Heyman writes that when conductor Ernest Ansermet returned from the Russian Ballet's second American tour in 1918 he presented Stravinsky with a "bundle of ragtime music in the form of piano reductions and instrumental parts," which the composer then copied out. He had also become acquainted with the cimbalom (a central European folk instrument, sometimes called a hammered dulcimer that the listener might recall hearing in Zoltán Kodály's Hári János). The "bundle" became the inspiration for L'histoire du soldat, which includes a section called "Ragtime," and the present piece of the same name for 11 instruments: flute, clarinet, two horns, trombone, percussion, two violins, viola, double bass, and the featured cimbalom. Full of syncopations against a steady 4/4 pulse, the piece keeps us slightly off-kilter with its marvelous, typically Stravinskian wind harmonies and punctuations by a variety of percussion instruments. Ragtime lends itself quite naturally to being choreographed, and George Balanchine set a ballet on the work in 1966. Its infectious rhythm is bound to make it hard to sit still in your seat at Avery Fisher Hall.

Tahiti Trot

Tahiti Trot (Tea for Two), Op. 16 (1927)

“Tea for Two,” a song from Vincent Youmans’s musical No, No, Nanette: how harmful could that be to the nascent Soviet Union? Apparently enough to chastise Dmitri Shostakovich for his decadent, capitalist orchestration of it. It all started out as a bet proposed by conductor Nikolai Malko (the man who premiered Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1). The composer and the conductor had heard a recording of the song, and according to his Reminiscences, Malko said: “Well, Mitenka, if you really have as much genius as they say, I give you one hour to go into the next room, put this little piece down on paper and orchestrate it for me to play.” (Shostakovich had great sight-reading abilities, as well as a reputation for excellent memory when it came to music.) Malko bet Shostakovich 100 rubles. But to Malko’s great surprise, Shostakovich did it in 45 minutes. Tahiti Trot, Op. 16 was premiered in Moscow by the Leningrad Philharmonic in late 1928 and became a hit with audiences, dance bands, and as a popular encore. Shostakovich must have liked it too, as he used it — with small changes to the orchestration — as an entr’acte at the beginning of Act III for his 1929–30 ballet The Age of Gold, Op. 22. The composer had a lot of fun with the piece, excelling at parody in his music. Tahiti Trot opens grandly — out of all proportion with the original song—and Shostakovich’s score features a rich and colorful array of instruments, including orchestra bells, harp, celesta, and ultra-romantic strings. Tahiti Trot sports wonderful brass riffs, glissandos, and horn calls, sparkling throughout its brief four minutes or so. As for its name? Tahiti Trot is how the original tune was known in the Soviet Union. 

Clarinet Concerto

AARON COPLAND (1900-1990)
Clarinet Concerto (1947-1948)

No stranger to the classical repertoire, "the King of Swing" Benny Goodman commissioned Aaron Copland to compose a clarinet concerto at a time when big band jazz was in decline. (The jazz legend also asked Béla Bartók, Darius Milhaud, and Paul Hindemith to create works for him, but only the latter obliged.) Copland took on the task and provided brief characterizations of each section of the concerto, consisting of two contrasting movements linked by a cadenza and played without pause. The first movement is "lyrical and expressive. The cadenza that follows — a soliloquy for the clarinet — provides the soloist with considerable opportunity to demonstrate his prowess ..." This middle "movement," which links the other two is a mere two-and-a-half minutes long and foreshadows material yet to come. The finale, marked simply "Rather fast," is in the form of "a free rondo ... an unconscious fusion of North and South American popular music." (Listen here for boogie-woogie rhythms, the Charleston, and Brazilian folk tunes.) "The instrumentation being clarinet with strings, harp, and piano, I did not have a large battery of percussion to achieve jazzy effects, so I used slapping basses and whacking harp sounds to simulate them ... the decision to use jazz materials was mine, inspired, of course, by Goodman's playing. Although I didn't mention this to him, I was certain that he would approve." While it remains firmly and unmistakably Coplandesque, the concerto does bear the imprint of the composer's South American sojourn, where he was touring and composing. Goodman, though an accomplished clarinetist, expressed concern over rhythmic and range difficulties — much of the concerto is set in the upper register of the instrument; and even though Copland revised it, Goodman did not premiere the concerto until 1950, performing it with the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner. (Pop culture fun fact: The Clarinet Concerto is featured throughout Ken Burn's PBS film, The War, a documentary about World War II.)

Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3)

Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3) (2010)

About the U.S. premiere of Wynton Marsalis's Symphony No. 3 The New York Times wrote: "Mr. Gilbert seemed totally in his element, conducting with a mix of cool command and jazzy swing. The Philharmonic players should be proud. They played with verve and color, never sounding like classical music stiffs. I have never seen so many people at a Philharmonic concert tapping their feet and hands." Wynton Marsalis returns to the New York Philharmonic with his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for an encore performance of the Swing Symphony, first heard on opening night of the 2010 season. Co-commissioned by the Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Third Symphony is "a symphonic meditation on the evolution of swing," according to the composer, the most acclaimed jazz musician and composer of his generation and a distinguished classical performer. By force of personality, intelligence, and achievement he has brought jazz back to center stage in American culture. Wynton Marsalis is Juilliard-educated and the first jazz composer ever to earn a Pulitzer Prize. He serves as Artistic Director for the internationally recognized Jazz at Lincoln Center program, which he co-founded in 1987. Under his leadership, the Jazz Department earned the distinction of being named Lincoln Center's first new constituent since 1969, and his music — whether as composer or arranger — has been heard on many occasions at Avery Fisher Hall. He was also the delightful host for Ken Burns's acclaimed 10-part documentary, Jazz, on PBS in 2001. Wynton Marsalis's large-scale work for full symphony and jazz orchestras exploits the rhythmic potentialities of these powerful ensembles in a galvanizing fusion of traditions. From the marching cadences of New Orleans to the softer sounds of brasses and woodwinds intoning a hymn-like melody, the Swing Symphony invites the audience to tap their feet to America's classical music.


Alan Gilbert

New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009. The first native New Yorker to hold the post, he has sought to make the Orchestra a point of pride for the city and country. As New York magazine wrote, “The Philharmonic and its music director Alan Gilbert have turned themselves into a force of permanent revolution.”

Mr. Gilbert and the Philharmonic have forged artistic partnerships, introducing the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence and The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, held in the 2014–15 season by Christopher Rouse and violinist Lisa Batiashvili, respectively, as well as the new position of Artist-in-Association, inaugurated by Inon Barnatan this season; an annual festival, which this season is Dohnányi / Dvořák; CONTACT!, the new-music series; and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today’s music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers inaugurated in spring 2014.

In the 2014–15 season Alan Gilbert conducts the U.S. Premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Clarinet Concerto, a Philharmonic co-commission, alongside Mahler’s First Symphony; La Dolce Vita: The Music of Italian Cinema with Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, and Josh Groban; Verdi’s Requiem; a staging of Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake featuring Oscar winner Marion Cotillard; World Premieres by John Adams, Peter Eötvös, and Christopher Rouse; works by contemporary Nordic composers during CONTACT!; and the Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma’s 15th-anniversary celebration. He concludes The Nielsen Project, the multi-year initiative to perform and record the Danish composer’s symphonies and concertos, the first release of which was named by The New York Times as among the Best Classical Music Recordings of 2012. The Music Director presides over the EUROPE / SPRING 2015 tour with stops including London, featuring Giants Are Small’s theatrical reimagining of Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka as part of the Orchestra’s second International Associate residency at the Barbican Centre; Cologne, where he leads the World Premiere of Peter Eötvös’s Senza sangue, a Philharmonic co-commission; and returns to Dublin and Paris.

Last season’s highlights included the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL; Mozart’s three final symphonies; the U.S. Premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Frieze coupled with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; World Premieres; an all-Britten program celebrating the composer’s centennial; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey as the film was screened; the ASIA / WINTER 2014 tour; and a staged production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson. High points of Mr. Gilbert’s first four Philharmonic seasons included the critically celebrated productions of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (2010) and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (2011) — both cited as the top cultural events of their respective years — as well as Philharmonic 360 at Park Avenue Armory (2012), the acclaimed spatial music program featuring Stockhausen’s Gruppen, and A Dancer’s Dream: Two Ballets by Stravinsky (2013, and later presented in movie theaters internationally). Other highlights included World Premieres of works by Magnus Lindberg, John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, and composers featured on CONTACT!; Mahler’s Second Symphony, Resurrection, on A Concert for New York on September 10; Mr. Gilbert’s Philharmonic debut as violin soloist in J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins; five concerts at Carnegie Hall; six tours to Europe; and the Asia Horizons tour.

Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of Hamburg’s NDR Symphony Orchestra, he regularly conducts leading orchestras nationally and internationally, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra della Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He has appeared at The Metropolitan, Los Angeles, Zurich, Royal Swedish, and Santa Fe opera companies. In 2014–15 he conducts the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra’s season-opening concerts and on tour in Lucerne, Berlin, and London; Mozart’s Don Giovanni at The Metropolitan Opera; and The Philadelphia, Munich Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and NDR Symphony orchestras.

In September 2011 Alan Gilbert became Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School, where he is also the first holder of Juilliard’s William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008 leading John Adams’s Doctor Atomic; the DVD and Blu-ray of this production received the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. Renée Fleming’s recent Decca recording Poèmes, on which he conducted, received a 2013 Grammy Award. Earlier releases garnered Grammy Award nominations and top honors from the Chicago Tribune and Gramophone magazine.

Mr. Gilbert studied at Harvard University, The Curtis Institute of Music, and Juilliard and was assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra (1995–97). In May 2010 he received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Curtis, and in December 2011 he received Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award for his “exceptional commitment to the performance of works by American composers and to contemporary music.” In 2014 he was elected to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Visit Alan Gilbert's Official Website

Learn more about Alan Gilbert



Case Scaglione

American conductor Case Scaglione began his tenure as Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic in September 2011, the same year he received the Conductor’s Prize by the Solti Foundation U.S. He made his Philharmonic subscription debut in November 2012, stepping in to lead the opening work on a concert otherwise conducted by Music Director Emeritus Kurt Masur, and in May–June 2013 he led the Orchestra in two works on a program also conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert. He has also conducted seven New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts. In September 2014 he was elevated to Associate Conductor, a position revived for him by Alan Gilbert. This season Mr. Scaglione makes debuts with the Lucerne and Dallas Symphony Orchestras and the Rochester Philharmonic, and returns to the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He made his professional conducting debut with The Cleveland Orchestra in 2010 after being awarded the Aspen Conducting Prize the same year. Since then, he has appeared as a guest conductor with Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the St. Louis, Baltimore, Houston, Colorado, and Jacksonville symphony orchestras, among others. In September 2013 he assisted Andrew Davis on a production of Richard Strauss’s Elektra at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Mr. Scaglione is a regular visitor to China, where he has given concerts with the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestras and China Philharmonic. Last season he conducted Bach’s Mass in B minor with Madrid’s Orquesta Clásica Santa Cecilia. Mr. Scaglione was music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles from 2008 to 2011, when he was the driving force behind the continued artistic growth and diversification of the organization and founded 360° Music, which took that orchestra to inner-city schools. His programs ranged from Wagner to Ligeti and included the orchestra’s first staged opera in almost 60 years as well as the Los Angeles Premiere of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic Symphony, supported by the National Endowment of the Arts. Case Scaglione was a student of David Zinman at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, where he won the James Conlon Prize, and was assistant conductor of the Aspen Music Festival and School. In 2011 Mr. Scaglione was one of three conducting Fellows at Tanglewood, chosen by James Levine and Stefan Asbury. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and his post-graduate studies were spent at the Peabody Institute, studying with Gustav Meier.

Learn more about Case Scaglione


Composer, Conductor, Trumpet

Wynton Marsalis by Clay Patrick McBride

Wynton Marsalis is music director and trumpet of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Born in New Orleans in 1961, he began his classical training on trumpet at age 12 and soon began playing in local bands. He entered The Juilliard School at age 17, and joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Mr. Marsalis made his recording debut as a leader in 1982, and has since recorded more than 70 jazz and classical albums, which have garnered him nine Grammy Awards. In 1983 he became the first and only artist to win classical and jazz Grammys in the same year, a feat he repeated in 1984.

Mr. Marsalis’s compositions include Sweet Release; Jazz: Six Syncopated Movements; Jump Start and Jazz; Citi Movement/Griot New York; At the Octoroon Balls; In This House, On This Morning; and Big Train. In 1997 he won the Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields, which was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center. That same year he premiered the monumental work All Rise, commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Morgan State University Choir. Mr. Marsalis’s second symphony, Blues Symphony, was premiered in 2009 by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2010. That same year, Mr. Marsalis premiered Swing Symphony (Symphony No. 3), a co-commission by the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and The Barbican Centre. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis performed the piece with the Berlin Philharmonic in Berlin and the New York Philharmonic in New York City in 2010, the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Los Angeles in 2011, and the London Symphony Orchestra in London in 2012.

Wynton Marsalis is an internationally respected teacher and spokesman for music education, and has received honorary doctorates from dozens of universities and colleges throughout the U.S. He conducts educational programs for students of all ages and hosts the popular Jazz for Young People concerts produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center. He led the effort to construct Jazz at Lincoln Center’s new home, Frederick P. Rose Hall (which opened in October 2004), the first education, performance, and broadcast facility devoted to jazz. In 2009 Mr. Marsalis was awarded France’s Legion of Honor, the highest honor bestowed by the French government.

Learn more about Wynton Marsalis


The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), comprising 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today, has been the Jazz at Lincoln Center resident orchestra since 1988. It performs and leads educational events in New York, across the U.S., and around the globe; in concert halls, dance venues, jazz clubs, and public parks; and with symphony orchestras, ballet troupes, local students, and an ever-expanding roster of guest artists. These programs reach more than 110,000 students, teachers, and general audience members. Under music director Wynton Marsalis, the JLCO performs pieces ranging from rare historic compositions to JALC-commissioned compositions and arrangements by musicians including Benny Carter, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Lovano. The JLCO has also collaborated with the Russian National Orchestra; the Boston, Chicago, and London symphony orchestras; and the Orchestra Esperimentale in São Paolo, Brazil. Fourteen recordings featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis have been released internationally.

Learn more about Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

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Special Thanks

Wynton Marsalis's appearances are made possible with generous support from the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.


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