Lifestyle"Ellington 125" event celebrates Duke Ellington's 125th birthday

“Ellington 125” event celebrates Duke Ellington’s 125th birthday

Celebrating what would have been his 125th birthday, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is honoring music icon Duke Ellington, a globally renowned artist with local roots.

The Kennedy Center presents “Ellington 125,” where audiences will hear traditional arrangements and many new interpretations of Ellington’s compositions. 

Many may put Ellington, a D.C. native, in the jazz category, but the composer’s work includes sprawling orchestral pieces, swing, and faith tunes. In his 50-year career, Duke Ellington performed over 20,000 times in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. 

The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) recently presented “Symphony Swing! An Evening of Duke Ellington,” with Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducting. The first half of the evening featured Ellington’s orchestral compositions with solos from pianist Sullivan Fortner and saxophonist Grant Langford. Performances of Ellington’s familiar songs were included in the second half of “Symphony Swing,” featuring vocalists Bilal, Aloe Blacc and Alita Moses.

More concerts continue through the end of April, exploring other interpretations of Ellington’s work through hip-hop, faith music, and solo piano. Artists will include Robert Glasper, Cyrus Chestnut, and the Jefferson High School Jazz Band.  

To see the full schedule of events for “Ellington 125,” go to kennedy-center.org.

Source: Washington Informer

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