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January 20 @ 7:30 pm - January 21 @ 2:30 pm

Sponsored by:

The Shirk Family Foundation

Lowell & Bobette Friedman

Ann McLaurin in Memory of Dr. Mary McBride

From Stravinsky’s magical Firebird Suite to Duke Ellington’s jazz-infused The River Suite, this concert moves with music created for ballet. We end with Tchaikovsky’s passionate and beloved Piano Concerto No. 1 performed by astonishingly talented pianist Maxim Lando.
Firebird encompasses three of the most groundbreaking composers of two centuries: The consummate Romantic (Tchaikovsky), the ultimate musical adventurer (Stravinsky) and the most influential jazz composer (Ellington). Tchaikovsky was the first Russian composer to earn international popularity; without him there would be no Rachmaninoff, and certainly no Stravinsky. Meanwhile, Stravinsky started out a luxuriant Romantic and ended up a musical ascetic. He set the terms of the twentieth century, and no composer since has been free of his influence. Similarly, Duke Ellington experimented with innovative and unorthodox ideas in jazz melody and form, and impressed even Stravinsky with his musical inventions. This concert explores the relationships between the works of these fascinating musical masters.

Scott Speck, conductor
Maxim Lando, pianist

Edward “Duke” Ellington    –    The River: Suite

Igor Stravinsky    –    The Firebird: Suite (1919)


Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky    –    Piano Concerto No. 1, b-flat minor, Op. 23
(1840-1893)                                                         Maxim Lando


Speck Speaks
Music Director Scott Speck Discusses the Concert:

“What on earth could have possessed us to combine Peter Tchaikovsky, Igor Stravinsky and Duke Ellington into a single concert?  Well, the connections are broader than you might think — and Igor Stravinsky is the key. Stravinsky grew up and spent his most formative musical years in the land of Tchaikovsky — and he spent his last three decades in the land of Ellington. 

Born in pre-Soviet Russia, Stravinsky’s favorite composer was Tchaikovsky. He never lost his Slavic roots and his love for Tchaikovsky’s gift for melody — both of which he embodied so beautifully in his retelling of the Firebird legend). But his own musical language became more and more modern over time. He first flirted with jazz in the Ragtime movement of his Histoire du Soldat, and later embraced it in such works as his Ebony Concerto for Woody Herman. 

Stravinsky immigrated to America in 1939 and became a citizen in 1945. In truth, Stravinsky already know all about Duke Ellington, and he was a big fan before he arrived on our shores. When he was first invited to New York, he told his reception committee that first thing he wanted to do was to go to Harlem and hear Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club. The reception committee had to admit that they had never heard of the Cotton Club.

In addition to this connection, Stravinsky’s The Firebird and Ellington’s The River were both composed for ballet — a medium in which the undisputed master had previously been Peter Tchaikovsky. And so all the composers on our concert connect in multilayered ways. They resonate and speak to each other across genres, across the continents, and across the centuries.”
– Scott Speck





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January 20 @ 7:30 pm
January 21 @ 2:30 pm


Saenger Theatre
6 South Joachim Street
Mobile, AL, AL 36602 United States
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