New Year’s Day Virtual Concert Celebrates the Sounds of the ‘Jazz Age’

English Symphony Orchestra showing Leader and soloist, Zoë Beyers

English Symphony Orchestra showing Leader and soloist, Zoë Beyers

Kenneth Woods is the ESO's American Principal Conductor

Kenneth Woods is the ESO’s American Principal Conductor

Works by Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll Morton, Erwin Schulhoff, Ernst Krenek and Darius Milhaud to feature

UNITED KINGDOM, December 23, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — Music from Wyastone – Studio Concert Series
The Roaring 20s – Decade of Melody and Mayhem’
A musical Journey from 1920s New Orleans to Paris, Vienna and Berlin, from the Speakeasy to the Burlesque to the Cabaret!

Eubie Blake: Charleston Rag
Jelly Roll Morton: Black Bottom Stomp
Erwin Schulhoff: Suite for Chamber Orchestra Op.37
Ernst Krenek: Fantasie on ‘Jonny spielt auf’ (‘Jonny Played On’)
Darius Milhaud: Le boeuf sur le Toit (‘The Ox on the Roof’)
Poeme Choregraphique

English Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Woods, Artistic Director/Conductor
Zoë Beyers, Leader/Violin Soloist

Thursday 31 December at 19.30pm GMT
Available FREE of charge for four days
and afterwards in the ESO Digital Archive

One hundred years ago, the African-American music called Jazz exploded onto the international scene and changed the world forever. Performed by the English Symphony Orchestra and filmed in period costume with atmospheric lighting, the Orchestra’s American Principal Conductor, Kenneth Woods, said; “As we prepare to celebrate the dawn of a New Year, the ESO is looking back 100 years to the wild musical terrain of the Jazz Age and to how a musical revolution, which started with Ragtime in Arkansas, took hold in Berlin, Vienna and Paris.”

About the Composers and their music

Eubie Blake
Blake was one of American music’s most enduring figures, contributing to the Ragtime revolution and the emergence of Jazz, his performing career spanned almost the entire 20th Century. Credited with coining the expression shortly after his 100th birthday “If I’d known I was gonna live this long, I would have taken better care of myself” – his Charleston Rag remains one of the cornerstones of American music.

Jelly Roll Morton
The self-proclaimed ‘inventor of jazz’, New Orleans-born Jelly Roll Morton was a pianist of rare ability, a performer of supreme charisma, and a composer and arranger of genius. His 1925 composition ‘Black Bottom Stomp’ was a response to the “Black Bottom” dance craze that swept America in the ‘Roaring 20s’, given a bit of spice via Morton’s trademark ‘Spanish tinge’.

Erwin Schulhoff
Schulhoff was one of the first European composers to embrace American music, and his Suite for Chamber Orchestra is a brilliant and witty romp with movement titles including ‘Shimmy’, ‘Tango’ and ‘Stomp’. Included in his large percussion section are a bicycle horn and a siren whistle.

Ernst Krenek
By 1920, Krenek had already staked out a reputation as a modernist firebrand – married for a time to Mahler’s daughter and hailed by many as the heir to Schoenberg. But when he embraced Jazz in his opera ‘Jonny spielt auf’, he achieved a true succès de scandale, and the controversial opera would take Central Europe by storm, becoming the biggest hit of the 1920s before it was banned by Hitler in 1933. The English Symphony Orchestra made the first complete recording of Krenek’s concertante works for piano and orchestra (his four piano concertos, Concerto for Two Pianos, Double Concerto for Piano and Violin and Little Concerto for Organ and Chamber Orchestra) with pianist Mikhail Korzhev in 2016-7. Those recordings earned a string of international accolades, including being chosen as one of the Sunday Times Best Recordings of 2016 and one of Forbes Magazine’s Top 11 Recordings of 2017.

Darius Milhaud
Mihaud looked further south for the inspiration for his surreal ballet, ‘Le boeuf sur le Toit’ (‘The Ox on the Roof’), borrowing extensively from the South American repertoire of bossa novas and tangos. He later re-worked the ballet into a stupendously virtuosic violin concerto, performed here by the ESO’s Leader, Zoë Beyers.

Kenneth Woods, Artistic Director/Principal Conductor
Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “a symphonic conductor of stature”, American conductor Kenneth Woods was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra in 2013, and has quickly built up an impressive and acclaimed body of work with them. Woods is also Artistic Director of both the Colorado MahlerFest – the only US organisation other than the New York Philharmonic to receive the International Gustav Mahler Society’s Gold Medal – and the Elgar Festival in Worcester, England.

Zoë Beyers, Leader/Violin Soloist
South-African born Zoë Beyers has established a reputation as one of the finest violinists of her generation. She is based in the UK and performs as soloist, chamber musician, director and orchestral leader across the world. 2018’s BBC Proms saw Zoë lead the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sakari Oramo and Karina Canellakis, the BBC Philharmonic under Juanjo Mena and give two performances of Stravinsky’s ‘L’Histoire du Soldat’ with the Hebrides Ensemble. In 2020, she also took on the role of Leader with the BBC Philharmonic, a position she holds currently with her role at the ESO. Since her solo debut aged eleven with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Paavo Järvi, she has performed as soloist with many distinguished conductors throughout Europe and Africa.

Forthcoming concerts with the English Symphony Orchestra

Holocaust Remembrance Day
Available from 1930 GMT, Wednesday 27th January 2021
Hans Gál: Divertimento for Winds
Erwin Schulhoff: Suite for Chamber Orchestra
Gustav Mahler: Das irdische Leben (The Earthly Life)
Mieczysław Weinberg: Concertino for Violin and Strings
Viktor Ullmann arr. Woods: Chamber Symphony op 46a (Third String Quartet)
Conductor, Kenneth Woods
Soprano, April Fredrick
Violin, Zoë Beyers

Composer Portrait – A celebration of the music of the late American composer Steven R. Gerber, who passed away in 2015.
Video coming in January 2021
Steven R. Gerber was born on September 28, 1948 in Washington, D.C. He held degrees from Haverford College and from Princeton University, where he received a 4-year fellowship. Steven’s music composition teachers include Robert Parris, J. K. Randall, Earl Kim, and Milton Babbitt.
English Symphony Orchestra
Conductor, Kenneth Woods
Violin, Emily Davis

– Ends –


English Symphony Orchestra

Kenneth Woods, Artistic Director/Principal Conductor

Zoë Beyers, Leader/Solo Violin

Karen Fletcher
Archery Music Promotions

View Trailer

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