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Grant Llewellyn and Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis and some talented friends will present an evening of unforgettable performances from across the musical spectrum on Tuesday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Meymandi Concert Hall. The Grammy Award-winning saxophonist joins forces with Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the bluegrass supergroup the Kruger Brothers, as they join North Carolina Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn and the orchestra for a one-of-a-kind concert to benefit the North Carolina Symphony's statewide service and education programs. Mr. Marsalis, Ms. Giddens, and the Kruger Brothers are all donating their performances for the benefit.
NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and Tony Award-nominee composer Branford Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. The three-time Grammy Award-winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising new and established artists. Mr. Marsalis is also a board member of the North Carolina Symphony Society, Inc.
Leader of one of the finest jazz Quartets today, and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, he has become increasingly sought after as a featured soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the Chicago, Detroit, and Düsseldorf Symphonies, and the Boston Pops, with a growing repertoire that includes compositions by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem and Vaughn Williams.
In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts conferred the prestigious Jazz Masters Fellowship on the Marsalis Family, a celebration and acknowledgement of a family described by the New York Times as “jazz’s most storied living dynasty”, who have made an indelible mark, collectively and individually, on the history and the future of jazz, America’s art form.
On June 2, in addition to performing with the orchestra and with Ms. Giddens and the Kruger Brothers, Mr. Marsalis will be joined by Joey Calderazzo on piano, Jason Foureman on bass, and Kobie Watkins on drums.
Rhiannon Giddens, a North Carolina native, plays with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and has also begun a meteoric solo career, beginning with the T Bone Burnett-curated, September 2013 Another Day, Another Time concert at New York City’s Town Hall — a celebration of the early ’60s folk revival that had inspired the Coen brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis. Ms. Giddens indisputably stole the show, performing Odetta’s “Water Boy” and bringing the audience to its feet. Backstage, Mr. Burnett was immediately moved to ask if he could produce a record with her. The stunning result, Tomorrow Is My Turn, which incorporates folk, jazz, gospel and the blues, served as Ms. Giddens’ solo debut record in February. Ms. Giddens also took part, along with Elvis Costello, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James, and Marcus Mumford in a creative collaboration to write and create music for recently discovered lyrics handwritten by Bob Dylan in 1967 during the period that generated the recording of the legendary Basement Tapes. The result was the T Bone Burnett-produced album Lost on the River.
Born and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger started singing and playing instruments at a very young age. Growing up in a family where music was an important part of life, they were exposed to a wide diversity of musical influences. The brothers were performing regularly by the time they were 11 and 12 years old, and they began their professional career in 1979. The brothers’ first public performances were as a duo, and in just a few years, they were busking on the streets of cities throughout eastern and western Europe. Several years later, the brothers teamed up with bass player Joel Landsberg, a native of New York City who also had a very extensive musical upbringing in classical and jazz music (studying with jazz great Milt Hinton), thus forming a trio that has been playing professionally together since 1995. Together, they established the incomparable sound that the Kruger Brothers are known for today. The trio moved to the United States in 2002 and is based in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
Tickets to Branford Marsalis & Friends range from $65 to $100. For more information, go to the North Carolina Symphony’s website at www.ncsymphony.org, or call 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724.
Branford Marsalis & Friends Event Benefit sponsors include Merrill Lynch, First Citizens Bank Wealth Management, Duke Energy, Sandy Sully & Friends, Capitol Advantage, Sears Contract, Inc., Gregory Poole Equipment Co., Holt Brothers Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Clancy, BB&T, The Sorin Group, Fluhrer Reed, Art by Kenny Glenn, Dick and Marlene Daugherty, Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Meltzer, Ms. Catharine Biggs Arrowood, Ashley and Sterling Perkinson, Dick and Zoila Hinson and Friends, Susan and Bill Kluttz, Jo Anne Sanford and Billy Brewer, Jr., Sandi Macdonald and Henry Grzes, Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, Watered Garden Florist, Citrix, and Millennium Printing. For more information, visit the North Carolina Symphony Web site at ncsymphony.org or call 919.733.2750.
Meymandi Concert Hall is located in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., in Raleigh.
About the North Carolina Symphony
Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony gives more than 200 performances annually to adults and school children in more than 50 North Carolina counties. An entity of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the orchestra employs 66 professional musicians, under the artistic leadership of Music Director and Conductor Grant Llewellyn, Resident Conductor William Henry Curry, and Associate Conductor David Glover.
Headquartered in downtown Raleigh’s spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and an outdoor summer venue at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C., the Symphony performs about 60 concerts annually in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary metropolitan area. It holds regular concert series in Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines and Wilmington—as well as individual concerts in many other North Carolina communities throughout the year—and conducts one of the most extensive education programs of any U.S. orchestra.
June 2 Concert/Event Listings
North Carolina Symphony
Branford Marsalis & Friends
Tuesday, June 2, 7:30 p.m.
Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh, N.C.
Grant Llewellyn, conductor
Branford Marsalis, saxophone
Rhiannon Giddens, vocalist
Jens Kruger, banjo, vocals
Uwe Kruger, guitar, vocals
Joel Landsberg, bass
Joey Calderazzo, piano
Jason Foureman, bass
Kobie Watkins, drums