Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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New York, NY 10027-5788

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Tickets & Concerts

Orpheus & Branford Marsalis Ravel, Debussy, Gershwin & more!

Williams Center For The Arts | Easton, PA

OCT 12 2023 | 8:00PM
Branford Marsalis 600 400 px
Tickets from $40
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Le rythme de vie

Concert Duration: 2 hours & 15 minutes (includes intermission)

  • Ravel

    Très Rythmé from String Quartet in F Major
    Orchestrated by Michi Wiancko

  • Ibert

    Concertino da Camera
    Branford Marsalis, saxophone

  • Lecuona

    Suite Andalucía
    Orchestrated by Jannina Norpoth

  • Antonio García

    Homecoming: A New Orleans Journey
    Commissioned by Orpheus

  • Debussy

    Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra
    Orchestrated by Zachary Wadsworth
    Branford Marsalis, saxophone

  • Gershwin

    An American in Paris
    Adapted by Javier Diaz

    Featuring Branford Marsalis, saxophone

Branford Marsalis 600 400 px

Orpheus and saxophonist Branford Marsalis have spent decades fine-tuning a connection that transcends stylistic labels. They revisit Ibert’s Concertino da Camera from their landmark 2001 album together, Creation, and bask in a close-knit arrangement of Debussy’s sultry Rhapsody. Veteran Orpheus orchestrators Javier Diaz and Jannina Norpoth make the ensemble shine in foreign escapades from two geniuses of genre-hopping: George Gershwin and Cuba’s Ernesto Lecuona. Antonio Garcia, a jazz composer and trombonist steeped in the same New Orleans currents that nourished the Marsalis family, stirs the American melting pot in a new work for Orpheus.

Tickets: $40 for the general public; $6 for youth and non-Lafayette students with valid I.D. Lafayette students, staff, and faculty, log in with your Lafayette Net ID to see campus benefits.

Marsalis told stories with his breath and body… making every note count, as he sprang ­delightful surprises and created a world in the round.The New Orleans Times Picayune

About the artists

Branford Marsalis
Alto Saxophone

Branford Marsalis has stayed the course. From his early acclaim as a saxophonist bringing new energy and new audiences to jazz, he has refined and expanded his talents and his horizons as a musician, composer, bandleader and educator – a 21st Century mainstay of artistic excellence.

Growing up in the rich environment of New Orleans as the oldest son of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Branford was drawn to music along with siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. His first instrument, the clarinet, gave way to the alto and then the tenor and soprano saxophones when the teenage Branford began working in local bands. A growing fascination with jazz as he entered college gave him the basic tools to obtain his first major jobs, with trumpet legend Clark Terry and alongside Wynton in Art Blakey’s legendary Jazz Messengers. When the brothers left to form the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, the world of uncompromising acoustic jazz was invigorated. Branford formed his own quartet in 1986 and, with a few minor interruptions in the early years, has sustained the unit as his primary means of expression. Known for the telepathic communication among its uncommonly consistent personnel, its deep book of original music replete with expressive melodies and provocative forms, and an unrivaled spirit in both live and recorded performances, the Branford Marsalis Quartet has long been recognized as the standard to which other ensembles of its kind must be measured.

The Quartet rarely invites other musicians into the folds of their cohesive unit, but in December 2015, they were joined by guest-vocalist Kurt Elling for a weekend’s engagement at New Orleans’ Snug Harbor. This culminated with three days in the studios of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music where, energized by the artistic promise of this collaboration, the musicians all contributed new arrangements to record with this special line-up. The result can be heard on their June 2016 release, Upward Spiral, which has been nominated for a 2017 Grammy award in the category of Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Branford has not confined his music to the quartet context. In addition to guest turns with a legion of giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins, he has excelled in duets with several major pianists, including his boyhood friend Harry Connick, Jr. and the longtime pianist in his quartet, Joey Calderazzo. Branford’s first solo concert, at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, is documented on his 2014 recording, In My Solitude.

Classical music inhabits a growing portion of Branford’s musical universe. With a repertoire including works by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, Vaughan Williams, Villa-Lobos and Sally Beamish (who reconceived a work in progress, “Under the Wing of the Rock,” to feature Branford’s saxophone after hearing him perform one of her earlier pieces), Branford is frequently heard with leading symphony orchestras including those in Chicago, Detroit, Dusseldorf and North Carolina as well as the New York Philharmonic. He also served as Creative Director for the Cincinnati Symphony’s Ascent series in 2012-13.

Broadway has also welcomed Branford’s contributions. His initial effort, original music for a revival of August Wilson’s Fences, garnered a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play and a Tony nomination for Best Original Score Written for the Theater. Branford also provided music for The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, and served as musical curator for the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Branford’s screen credits include the original music for Mo’ Better Blues and acting roles in School Daze and Throw Momma from the Train.

Branford formed the Marsalis Music label in 2002, and under his direction it has documented his own music, talented new stars such as Miguel Zenón, and un-heralded older masters including one of Branford’s teachers, the late Alvin Batiste. Branford has also shared his knowledge as an educator, forming extended teaching relationships at Michigan State, San Francisco State and North Carolina Central Universities and conducting workshops at sites throughout the United States and the world.

As for other public stages, Branford spent a period touring with Sting, collaborated with the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby, served as Musical Director of The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno and hosted National Public Radio’s widely syndicated Jazz Set. The range and quality of these diverse activities established Branford as a familiar presence beyond the worlds of jazz and classical music, while his efforts to help heal and rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina mark him as an artist with an uncommonly effective social vision. Together with Harry Connick, Jr. and New Orleans Habitat for Humanity, Branford conceived and helped to realize The Musicians’ Village, a community in the Upper Ninth Ward that provides homes to the displaced families of musicians and other local residents. At the heart of The Musicians’ Village stands the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a community center dedicated to preserving the rich New Orleans musical legacy containing state-of-the art spaces for performance, instruction and recording.

Some might gauge Branford Marsalis’s success by his numerous awards, including three Grammys and (together with his father and brothers) his citation as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. To Branford, however, these are only way stations along what continues to be one of the most fascinating and rewarding journeys in the world of music.

Antonio J. García

Antonio J. García is a performer, composer/arranger, producer, clinician, educator, and author in both instrumental and vocal genres and a December 2023 recipient of The Midwest Clinic's Medal of Honor. A Professor Emeritus and former Director of Jazz Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, he directed the Jazz Orchestra I, instructed various jazz courses, and founded a B.A. Music Business Emphasis (for which he initially served as Coordinator), he is a past nominee for CASE U.S. Professor of the Year and is the recipient of Northern Illinois University's 1992 Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Illinois Music Educators Association's 2001 Distinguished Service Award, and the VCU School of the Arts' 2015 Faculty Award of Excellence. He is an alumnus of the Eastman School of Music and of Loyola University of the South. His newest book, Jazz Improvisation: Practical Approaches to Grading (Meredith Music), explores avenues for creating structures that correspond to course objectives. His book Cutting the Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers (Kjos Music) offers musicians of all ages the opportunity to improvise over standard tunes using just their major scales.

Mr. García has performed as trombonist, bass trombonist, or pianist with 70 major artists including Ella Fitzgerald, George Shearing, Mel Tormé, Billy Eckstine, Doc Severinsen, Louie Bellson, Dave Brubeck, and Phil Collins and at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, and the Montreux, Nice, North Sea, Pori (Finland), New Orleans, and Chicago Jazz Festivals. A Conn-Selmer clinician/soloist and avid scat-singer, he has received grants from Meet The Composer, the Thelonious Monk Institute, The Commission Project, the Council for Basic Education, and others. He is Past Associate Jazz Editor for the International Trombone Association Journal, Past Editor of the International Association for Jazz Education Jazz Education Journal, Past President of IAJE-IL, Board Secretary of The Midwest Clinic, a Past Advisory Board Member of the Brubeck Institute, previously a Board member of the Illinois Coalition for Music Education, and is Co-Editor/Contributing Author of Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study. He served as a Network Expert (for Improvisation Materials) for the Jazz Education Network. His articles have been widely published; and his compositions have been published by Kjos, Hal Leonard, Kendor, Doug Beach, ejazzlines, Walrus, UNC Jazz Press, Three-Two Music, and his own company. García is also the subject of an extensive interview within Bonanza: Insights and Wisdom from Professional Jazz Trombonists (Advance Music) and authored a chapter within Rehearsing The Jazz Band and The Jazzer’s Cookbook (Meredith Music). He currently resides in his native New Orleans. Visit his web site at www.garciamusic.com


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This concert is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.