Branford Marsalis joins CSO, community choir for Classical Roots

Publication: The Cincinnati Herald
Date: March 9, 2013

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s annual “Classical Roots” concert at Music Hall has garnered a reputation for the unique musical collaborations it generates. Each concert has featured stars of the opera, gospel and soul worlds, not to mention the 150-member Community Mass Choir that represents over 30 area churches. This year, the CSO adds another notable bond to the list in jazz legend Branford Marsalis. The threetime Grammy Award-winning saxophonist will be making a “cameo” appearance as soloist during the program at Music Hall Friday, March 15.

Exhibiting the diversity of the “Classical Roots” experience, Marsalis will be performing Jacques Ibert’s Concertino da camera for alto saxophone and orchestra, along with Billy Stayhorn’s “Take the ‘A’ Train.” As one of the most recognizable jazz standards, “Take the ‘A’ Train” became widely popular by Stayhorn’s long-time collaborator Duke Ellington.The piece was written to reflect the development of the new ‘A’ train which provided New Yorkers a quick way to get to Harlem when it was the epicenter of the city’s nightlife and the place to be to listen to jazz music. Marsalis will also perform Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” alongside the CSO rhythm section, the Community Mass Choir and soprano Chanelle Lynn Williams.

Marsalis’ performance at “Classical Roots” is part of his new relationship with the Orchestra as one of this season’s Creative Directors. As a Creative Director, he played a role in developing some of the CSO’s concert programs, choosing repertoire and guiding a subscription series, and is spending two residency weeks in Cincinnati. In November, he performed as a saxophone soloist with the Orchestra for Jacob ter Veldhuis’ innovative Tallahatchie Concerto, which on March 1 was played for a national radio audience of 1.3 million on Performance Today, as well as a memorable “minijam session” as an encore. During his second residency week, which culminates in “Classical Roots,” Marsalis will work oneon one with saxophone students during a special masterclass at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He will also visit with music students at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, as well as with the jazz bands and Princeton and Walnut Hills High Schools, inspiring young musicians. Several other residency activities will also be announced.

“Classical Roots” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 15 at Music Hall. Tickets to experience this unforgettable collaboration are just $20 ($8 for children). For more information about the concert or to purchase tickets, call the CSO Box Office at (513) 381-3300 or visit More information about Mr. Marsalis’ residency can also be found on the CSO website.

Submitted by Bobby on March 8th, 2013 — 11:50am

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