After we made the wonderful discovery in December that the orchestra and audience collectively loved our version of Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite”, we have decided to continue our exploration of Ellington’s music by presenting two more suites from the same period of his career.
The late 1950’s and early 1960’s were some of the most fruitful years in Ellington’s creative life, and both he and Billy Strayhorn were writing at the very top of their game. The Ellington orchestra of this period was also one of the best that the maestro ever had, with talented newcomers and experienced veterans joining forces to create a tight, swinging ensemble with exciting soloistic fireworks.
To continue what we started last December we will perform the pendant to Ellington & Strayhorn’s reworking of Tschaikowsky’s “Nutcracker Suite”, the equally wonderful but lesser known “Peer Gynt Suite”, originally composed by Edvard Grieg.
The other multi-movement work we will perform is “Such Sweet Thunder”, made up of original compositions by Ellington and Strayhorn based on and inspired by literature and characters created by William Shakespeare.
To fill out the program we will add some of our favorite Ellington classics to spotlight the excellent soloists of the ZJO.