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Concert Series

Program Notes

Krista DAR Press Photo 2018_edited.jpg

Concert I: "When Ravel Came to Harlem" 

“At first glance, George Gershwin and Maurice Ravel might seem to occupy two different musical worlds, yet they both shared a passion for jazz,” said Louise Burton, Classical Lite.  In 1928, Ravel toured America.  The jazz clubs of Harlem would leave a lasting impression on him and his music.  Ravel urged Americans to take jazz seriously:  “Personally, I find jazz most interesting:  The rhythms, the way the melodies are handled.  I have heard some of George Gershwin’s works and find them most intriguing.” Join us as we step into this time in America. Hear the fascinating stories and incredible music of some of the giants of classical music and jazz who inspired one another in ways that changed the musical landscape forever. 


Concert II: "Chopin, The Impressionist"

Frederick Chopin’s music epitomized the romantic ideal of the 19th Century.  Yet, Chopin pushed the boundaries that would eventually lead to the Impressionist movement in music.  When you think of Impressionism—the use of light—mixing and blending of tonal colors—these are the elements that laid the foundation for Debussy’s quest for a new sound. It was not a one-way street.  The modern classical composers were inspired by jazz and the jazz composers were inspired by the Impressionists. Krista will show us what that sounds like.  Be prepared for a concert like no other.


Concert III: "The Season of Peace: Bach to Morricone"

Musicians across time have created special music to celebrate the Season of Peace.  They transport us from our busy lives and stir up memories and emotions that collapse time and space.  Music is like an index system to the times of our lives.  A song can take us to a moment in time where we remember what we were wearing, the scent of a flower or tree, every detail and somehow all of that is encapsulated in a single song.  Krista will treat us to some of the most gorgeous music of the Season of Peace—from Chestnuts Roasting to Gabriel’s Oboe.  Come join us.


Concert IV: "Kind of Blue: Davis, Evans, and Debussy"

A musical composition is a sound painting.  In “Kind of Blue,” we will learn how both classical and jazz composers work their magic with tonal colors, movement, and light.  “I love music passionately, and because I love it, I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.  It is a free art gushing forth, an open-air art, boundless as the elements, the wind, the sky, the sea. It must never be shut in and become an academic art,” Claude Debussy.  


Concert V: "Gershwin’s Americanization of European Music"

Classical music is European in origin. Around the turn of the century, European immigrants fertilized American popular and symphonic music. In 1924, George Gershwin brought jazz into the concert hall with Rhapsody in Blue.  At the same time, Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud, and the classical modernists were hybridizing their compositions with elements of jazz.  Krista will paint a picture of the Americanization of European music with sounds from Gershwin to Bernstein.


Concert VI: "Nights in the Gardens of Sound: Exotic Influences in Jazz"

Artists can take the sounds of everyday life on the planet and make music out of them.  This concert is about artists who traveled through time and space in search of inspiration.  They wrote music that inspires us all. Cole Porter loved Paris.  Erik Satie was inspired by Oriental music.  Leonard Bernstein brought Romeo and Juliet to the streets of New York. 


Concert VII: "The State Department Tours: Jazz & Diplomacy"

“America’s secret weapon is a blue note in a minor key,” proclaimed the New York Times in 1956.  The Jazz Ambassadors Program, also known as the State Department Tours, started out as an experiment in cultural diplomacy at the height of the Cold War era.  Jazz was a symbol of freedom and democracy.  The USA sent musicians like Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck behind the Iron Curtain.  In Poland, audiences were used to Soviet-approved culture like ballet and opera.  After the Soviet takeover following World War II, Jazz was forbidden from the airwaves. Brubeck’s performances were the first opportunity for Pols to hear jazz played live.  Come and hear the stories of these remarkable ambassadors and the music that represented the American dream.



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