By Natasha Anderson
Join the Asheville Symphony Orchestra (ASO) for a jazz-tinged all-American program including Mason Bates, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin on Saturday, November 17, at 8 p.m. at Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. The concert is conducted by music director Darko Butorac and features acclaimed jazz pianist Aaron Diehl. “While the program has jazz-influenced music at its centerpiece, it is actually a tribute to the American spirit of innovation and fusion,” says Butorac. “Each of the composers brought something very new to the orchestra.”
The program opens with Bates’ 2011 work, Mothership, a fun and fast-paced piece that combines the composer’s career in electronica— as DJ Masonic—with orchestral music. Next, Diehl joins the ASO for Duke Ellington’s New World A-Comin’ and George Gershwin’s Variations on I Got Rhythm. A staple of the New York jazz scene, Diehl consistently plays with what the New York Times describes as “melodic precision, harmonic erudition, and elegant restraint.”
“Diehl is a special artist because he is a classically trained pianist who finds himself at the heart of both the orchestral and jazz worlds,” says Butorac. “I particularly look forward to discovering his unique approach to the Gershwin and Ellington works.”
The evening ends with Ellington’s Harlem and Gershwin’s An American in Paris, pieces that highlight the ability of two American masters to paint vivid musical portraits of two distinct places.
Thomas Wolfe Auditorium is at 87 Haywood Street in Asheville. Single tickets start at $24 and vary by seating section. Reduced youth pricing is available. Single tickets and ticket packages can be purchased at AshevilleSymphony.org, by phone at 828.254.7046, or in person at the Asheville Symphony office at 27 College Place, Suite 100, or at the U.S. Cellular Center Box Office.