Airs Monday, July 14 at 11 a.m. On this week's broadcast concert from the Pittsburgh Symphony, music director Manfred Honeck returns to lead the orchestra in Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. In between, pianist Denis Matsuev will take the stage for Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and he'll also perform Improvisation of Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train.”
Airs Thursday, March 6 at 8 p.m. When you survey the history of the piano in 20th century American music, there are several individuals, composers and standards, particularly within jazz and popular songs. Performing a recital that traverses these figures and movements, while ensuring that your renditions remain original, is quite a challenge. In the spring of 2013, pianist Marcus Roberts played a concert at our festival that surveyed a broad cross section of 20th century American music. While he's been featured in a variety of musical contexts at our festival over the past decade, Marcus played a 75-minute recital that included distinctive interpretations of works by Scott Joplin, W.C. Handy, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington as well as some original works and gospel pieces. Tune in to hear highlights from this 2013 SMF concert by the inimitable Marcus Roberts.
Airs Thursday, January 30 at 8 p.m. When new styles of American music began to emerge at the end of the 19th century, the primary instrument at the center of these creations was the piano. Virtuosos such as ragtime stylist Scott Joplin created works like the "Maple Leaf Rag" that would sell over a million copies of sheet music alone. The first two decades of the 20th century would see jazz and blues compositions crafted by Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy and Duke Ellington, and their results were the shape of American music to come.
Airs Thursday, April 4 at 8 p.m. Duke Ellington is widely regarded as one of the most important composers in the history of music and his orchestra of the mid 1930's was at the beginning of its creative peak, featuring some of the finest jazz soloists in the history of the music. During the years of 1936 - 40 a series of small group sessions led by Ellington with his key sidemen, were recorded for a variety of different labels and they have all stood the test of time.