Saturday, October 06, 2007

From Europe to Hip-Hop: Symphonic Band to Jazz Orchestra

The first half is all Europe,and the second half is jazz, from Count Basie to blues with a hip-hop beat, when the HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra present a joint concert on Saturday, October 6 at the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata.

The HSU Symphonic Band joins the worldwide recognition of Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg’s centennial with Grieg’s “Funeral Music for Rikard Nordraak.” Also on the program are works by Richard Strauss (“Koenigsmarsch”), Ralph Vaughan Williams (English Folk Song Suite) and Arthur Sullivan, of the famed operatic team of Gilbert and Sullivan (“Pineapple Poll.”)

“This represents an all-European program, which is somewhat unusual for a modern American concert band to do,” said Paul Cummings, director of the Symphonic Band and HSU Assistant Professor of Music. “But we especially wanted to honor the centennial year of Grieg’s death by performing some of this great Norwegian composer’s music.”

The second half of the concert will be performed by the HSU Jazz Orchestra, directed by Assistant Professor of Music Dan Aldag. The program ranges from traditional to contemporary jazz. It begins with a tune from today: “Blues Opening” by New York City jazz bassist Ike Sturn, which Aldag describes as combining “blues harmonies with a hip-hop beat, creating something that is simultaneously old and raw, and new and sleek.” “Prodigal Son Revisited” by Seattle-based composer and electronic musician Wayne Horvitz continues the avant-garde theme.

But tradition is also served, beginning with "Meetin'Time" by legendary alto saxophonist and composer Benny Carter, using the exact arrangement played by the Count Basie Orchestra. The classic Miles Davis “Milestones” is followed by “Fables of Faubus” by jazz great Charles Mingus, which Aldag calls “a caustic and uproarious ‘tribute’ to Orval Faubus,” the Arkansas governor who tried to defy integration in the Civil Rights era. The HSU Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra concert begins at 8PM in Fulkerson Recital Hall. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students and seniors, from HSU Ticket Office 826-3928) or at the door. HSU students free with ID.

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