Living in History… Twice!

By now most of you may know that in mid-December I happened to be in Havana, Cuba when an historic announcement was made. Presidents Obama and Castro proclaimed that the United States and Cuba would begin a process of normalizing relations. I was fortunate to have witnessed expressions of joy and hope when the students of the Universidad de las Artes (ISA) reacted to the proclamation. I also was blessed to spend a week with these very talented young people, expressing through our music, the very possibilities that a new diplomatic relationship between our two countries could bring.

Now, just six weeks later, history is again knocking at my door. In a one-night-only event on February 6th at Symphony Center Chicago, my orchestra, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, and I will have the pleasure of performing music composed by the most important figure in the world of “Third Stream Music.” (The melding of classical and jazz.) In fact, in 1957, he coined the term, “Third Stream.” I am speaking of composer, conductor and French Hornist, Gunther Schuller.

orbert-davis_g-schullerDuring this rare Chicago appearance, Gunther will conduct a workshop for our orchestra and also attend this concert where he and his music will be honored. He’s been an inspiration for musicians of all genres for over 70 years, having been principal French Hornist with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, a performer on the classic Miles Davis “Birth of the Cool” sessions and president of the New England Conservatory where he instituted a “Third Stream” program and established the first degree-granting jazz program at a major university.  That’s why we call him, “The Godfather of Third Stream.”

In celebration of Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s 10th anniversary, this Symphony Center performance also marks the World Premiere of the first CJP commissioned work, “Suite for Jazz Band and Orchestra,” by Daniel Schnyder, who will also perform as guest soloist. Daniel has been commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York, the Tonkuenstler Orchestra in Vienna, the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Berlin and many others. He’s also toured Europe and Australia with his trio, featuring David Taylor and Kenny Drew, Jr., playing the music of Gershwin, Bach, Wagner and Ellington. Later in February, his work “draKOOL” will have its American premiere at Carnegie Hall. We are excited to bring this internationally renowned artist to Chicago!

I am humbled and honored to present this event. Please join us as we move history into the future! For tickets call the Symphony Center box office at 312.294.3000 or go online and purchase today!

See you there!