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Guest Artist: Branford Marsalis, saxophone

Copland: Music for the Theater
Glazunov: Concerto for Saxophone
Ibert: Concertino da camera
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4

Even the most archetypal American jazz had international influences. Consider the saxophone: invented by the Belgian Adolphe Sax in the middle of the 19th century, it quickly became an American popular music mainstay. Composers such as Russian Glazunov and French Ibert exploited the “newness” of the instrument’s timbre, expressivity and inherent jazziness of its sound. Aaron Copland, a first-generation American, studied in Paris but was determined to create a uniquely American aesthetic. His “Music for the Theater” is alive with the sounds of jazz-age New York. Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony; despite being perhaps the least-known of his symphonic works, is a masterpiece lauded in its own day for its “deep, powerful spirit,” and “fiery and rich” harmonies.

Recognized worldwide as the Musical Director of “The Tonight Show Band,” Marsalis is one of the pre-eminent saxophone virtuosos of our time. Marsalis has had a storied career as an American jazz musician from his early membership in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers to his citation as a “Jazz Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts. Equally fluent in and devoted to the classical repertoire, he has appeared as a soloist with the Chicago and Detroit Symphonies and New York Philharmonic, and has performed with classical orchestras in Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Germany.