CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 26, 1999
(NOTE TO EDITORS: The national media representative for the
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra tour is Liza Rabinoff at Shore
Fire Media, 718-522-7171; fax 718-522-7242.)
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra celebrates Ellington centennial
in April 15 Hancher concert
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center
Jazz Orchestra (LCJO) will celebrate the 100th anniversary of
Duke Ellington's birth with "America in Rhythm and Tune:
The Ellington Centennial" at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 15 in
Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.
The concert will feature many of the compositions made famous
by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, including his portraits of people
and places, and pieces inspired by his love of trains and the
The UI concert is part of the extensive, year-long Jazz at
Lincoln Center celebration of the Ellington Centennial, focusing
on the life and work of the artist that many consider to be the
most important American composer of the century. The Hancher
concert comes just a week after one of the major New York events
in the celebration, the "Uptown Blues: Ellington at 100"
in Avery Fisher Hall of Lincoln Center in collaboration with
the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Kurt Masur.
On May 12 the LCJO will be featured in a nationwide telecast,
"Swingin' with the Duke," on the PBS "Great Performances"
series. The live performances during the filming of the special
will be released as the "Live in Swing City" CD in
The celebration includes not only musical events, but also
the publication of the book "Jump for Joy," which explores
Ellington's life and genius through literary and visual materials
including classic essays and commissioned artwork.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, born on April 29,
1899, in Washington, D.C., was the most prolific and versatile
American composer of the 20th century with respect to both numbers
of compositions -- nearly 2,000 -- and variety of forms. During
more than 50 years of sustained achievement as an artist and
an entertainer, Ellington wrote popular songs, innovative scores
for big band, music for the stage, film scores, jazz suites and
even large-scale religious compositions.
Ellington synthesized many of the elements of American music
-- including the minstrel song, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley tunes,
the blues, jazz and European music -- into a style that combined
technical complexity with directness and simplicity of expression.
His innovations in form, harmony and melody influenced composers
Many of the songs he composed alone or with collaborators
including brother Mercer Ellington and Billy Strayhorn -- including
"Satin Doll," "Sophisticated Lady," "Caravan,"
"Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "I'm Beginning
to See the Light," "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't
Got That Swing," "Mood Indigo," "Prelude
to a Kiss" and "Take Love Easy" -- have become
indispensable parts of the standard repertory of vocalists and
LCJO has been the "house band" for Jazz at Lincoln
Center activities for more than a decade. Under the leadership
of Wynton Marsalis, the orchestra defines jazz at the turn-of-the-century
through extending the big-band tradition and premiering new works
from commissioned artists. One of the highlights of the ensemble's
history was Marsalis' Pulitzer Prize-winning "Blood on the
Fields," which was performed in Hancher two seasons ago.
The Chicago Tribune observed, "No institution in America
has dared to dream as big as Jazz at Lincoln Center. Jazz at
Lincoln Center has given the music a degree of visibility and
stature it does not typically receive. The Lincoln Center Jazz
Orchestra is becoming the signature American jazz band to audiences
around the world." And the Charlotte Observer observed,
"What they've done in a decade is nothing short of cultural
movement, elevating America's music and enshrining its creators,
establishing a baseline of jazz literacy and encouraging young
people to take up the torch."
Eye Surgeons Associated, P.C., is the corporate sponsor of
the LCJO performance through the University of Iowa Foundation.
Remaining tickets are $32 and $29. UI students and senior citizens
qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets available
to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger
are half price.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11
a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling
area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within
Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to
(319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or
American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their
university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary
services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered
by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped
parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation
and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people
with hearing impairment who use that technology.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr
on the World Wide Web. For details on all the Jazz @ Lincoln
Center activities for the Ellington Centennial, visit their web
site at http://www.jazzatlincolncenter.org.