Gershwin with Marcus Roberts Trio

Gershwin with Marcus Roberts Trio

                                    Gershwin with Marcus Roberts Trio

 presented by Paul and Linnea Bert


Robert Moody, conductor  

Marcus Roberts,
piano | Marty Jaffe, bass Jason Marsalis, drums
James Jones,

Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 7:30pm
Sunday, October 2, 2022 at 2:30pm

The Cannon Center for Performing Arts


JOHN WILLIAMS                    “Adventures on Earth” from E.T.
(b. 1932)

GEORGE GERSHWIN             Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra
(1898 - 1937)                                I. Allegro
                                                         II. Adagio - Andante con moto
                                                         III. Allegro agitato
                                                              The Marcus Roberts Trio




CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS            Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Opus 78,

(1835 - 1921)                                 “Organ Symphony”

                                                            I. Adagio - Allegro moderato - Poco adagio
                                                            II. Allegro moderato - Presto - maestoso
                                                                   James Jones



Meet the Musicians 


Music Director Robert Moody 

2021/2022 marks Maestro Robert Moody’s fifth season as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.  Expanded and adventurous programming, the MSO’s first commercial recording in over three decades, and a new $25-million-dollar endowment have highlighted the past two seasons.  Moody is also Music Director of the lauded Arizona Musicfest, boasting one of the finest festival orchestras in North America.  Players hail from the top orchestras in the world, including the Vienna and New York Philharmonics, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, and San Francisco Symphonies, and the San Francisco and Metropolitan Opera Orchestras.

In 2018 Moody completed eleven-years as Music Director for the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine), thirteen-years as Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony (NC).  Prior to that he served as Resident Conductor for the Phoenix Symphony, Chorus Master for Santa Fe Opera, and Associate Conductor for the Evansville (IN) Philharmonic Orchestra.

Moody recently guest conducted the three major orchestras of South Africa in Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town; he was immediately invited to return for more concerts in the Summer of 2020.  Other guest conducting this season includes the orchestras of Bogota, Colombia; Aachen, Germany; Sacramento, California; and a return to the Sewanee Music Festival in the mountains of Tennessee.  Prior Guest Conducting has included Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and the orchestras of Toronto, Houston, Indianapolis, Detroit, Seattle, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Buffalo, Columbus, Louisville, Minnesota, and Slovenian Philharmonic.  Festival conducting includes Santa Fe Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Brevard Music Center, Sewanee Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Bowdoin International Festival, and the Oregon Bach Festival.

Equally at home in the opera pit, Moody began his career as apprentice conductor for the Landestheater Opera in Linz, Austria.  He conducted for the opera companies of Santa Fe, Brevard Music Center, and Hilton Head Opera.  He also assisted on a production of Verdi Otello at the Metropolitan Opera (NY), conducted by Valery Gergiev, and at The English National Opera, where he was Assistant Conductor for Kurt Weill Street Scene.  He made his Washington National Opera and North Carolina Opera debuts in 2014, and conducted Bartok Bluebeard’s Castle, Leoncavallo I Pagliacci, and Poulenc Dialogues of the Carmelites in the seasons following.  Debuts to rave reviews with Brevard Music Center for Weill Street Scene, Opera Carolina for Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro, and Des Moines Metro Opera for Strauss Die Fledermaus came in 2017 and 2018.

Moody is a champion of the works of his close friend Mason Bates, now Composer-in-Residence with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and prior in the same role with the Chicago Symphony.  Moody commissioned/conducted Bates’ first full orchestra composition, and has been instrumental in the commission and premiere performances of several of Bates’ important major works for orchestra, including OdeRusty Air in Carolina, and Desert Transport.

Moody’s work can be heard on several commercially released recordings.  He collaborated with the Canadian Brass for their Bach and Legends albums.  He is also the conductor for Native American artist R. Carlos Nakai’s Fourth World album.  In 2015 he was honored to conduct the “Cancer Blows” gala concert with Ryan Anthony, members of the Dallas Symphony, and a host of trumpet luminaries, to aid the fight against Multiple Myloma.  CD and DVD recordings of that live concert are also commercially available.  Fall of 2019 will see the release of Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s first commercial recording in several decades.  The works are Jim Stephenson’s Concerto for Hope featuring Ryan Anthony, and Song of Hope” by Peter Meechan – featuring Ryan Anthony and Scott Moore.

A South Carolina native, Moody holds degrees from Furman University and the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Donald Neuen.  He is a Rotarian, and serves/has served on the boards of AIDs Care Services, Winston-Salem YMCA, WDAV Radio, and the Charlotte Master Chorale.  Maestro Moody is an avid runner, swimmer, and snow-skier.


James Jones, organ

JAMES JONES lauded as one of the leading organist/choirmasters of his generation,
is the new Principal Organist/Associate Director of Music at First Baptist Church in
Memphis, starting this very weekend. For the prior eleven years he served as Director
of Music at Myers Park United Methodist Church (Charlotte, NC). While there he led
the chancel and chamber choirs on multiple European tours, as well as US performances
at Duke Chapel (NC) and Riverside Church in New York City. He created a highly successful organ and chamber music concert series, commissioned nearly two dozen new works for chorus and/or organ, and was the visionleader for installation of a new Holtkamp organ in the Chapel. Earlier in his career Mr. Jones served as organist/choirmaster at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC. In organ recital, Jones has appeared as soloist for the Arizona Musicfest, Kotzschmar Organ series in Portland, Maine, “Bach at Idlewild” in Memphis, TN, “Rising Star” series at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA, on the world’s largest pipe organ at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, and at “Piccolo Spoleto” Festival in Charleston, SC. As Organ Soloist, Jones has appeared with the Cape Town Philharmonic (South Africa) Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Sacramento Philharmonic (CA), Arizona Musicfest Festival Orchestra, Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine), and both Charlotte and Winston-Salem Symphonies (NC). Solo works performed include Poulenc Organ Concerto, Jongen Symphonie Concertante, Stamm Organ Concerto US premiere), and the world premiere of PHOENIX for Organ and
Orchestra by Dan Locklair. He has served as conductor of Nova Voce, a professional
women’s chorus in Charlotte, and on the board of the Charlotte Oratorio Society.
A native of Broadway, NC, Jones earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Organ
Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and a Master of
Music Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.


Marcus Roberts, Piano

Pianist MARCUS ROBERTS is known throughout the world for his many contributions to the field of jazz music as well as his commitment to integrating the jazz and classical idioms to create something wholly new while retaining the authenticity of each art form. Roberts is credited with the development of a new approach to the jazz trio, and he is often hailed as “the genius of the modern piano”. Roberts grew up in Jacksonville, FL where his mother’s gospel singing and the music of the local church left a lasting impact on his musical style. He began teaching himself to play piano at age five after losing his sight but did not have his first formal lesson until age 12 while attending the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. At age 18, he went on to study classical piano at Florida State University with the great Leonidas Lipovetsky. In 2014, Roberts’ life and work were featured on a segment (entitled “The Virtuoso”) of the CBS television show, 60 Minutes.
Roberts has won numerous awards and competitions over the years, including the
Helen Keller Award for Personal Achievement. His critically-acclaimed legacy of recorded
music reflects this tremendous artistic versatility as well as his unique approach to jazz performance. His recordings include solo piano, duets, and trio arrangements of jazz
standards as well as original suites of music for trio, large ensembles, and symphony
orchestra. His popular DVD recording with the Berlin Philharmonic showcases his
ground-breaking arrangement of “Gershwin’s Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra”      (A Gershwin Night, EuroArts 2003).


Marty Jaffe, bass

MARTY JAFFE is an exciting new voice on the double bass. He is known for his
deep sense of groove, lyricism, and rich and sensitive sound on his instrument. As
a bassist, composer, and improviser, his musical roots are in the jazz tradition but
he also has solid background in classical and Brazilian music. His versatility as
an artist has led him to become one of New York City’s most in-demand young
bassists. Jaffe has shared the stage with musical icons Wynton Marsalis, Marcus
Roberts, Harold Mabern, Sergio Mendes, and Steve Wilson. He has performed in
interdisciplinary productions directed by choreographers Bill T. Jones and Debbie
Allen through the national YoungArts foundation. When not in New York, Jaffe tours throughout the US and the world with numerous groups, often with renowned vocalist Karrin Allyson and pianist Ben Rosenblum. Originally from Conway, Massachusetts,
Jaffe moved to New York in 2012 to enroll at Columbia and Juilliard, where he studied
under the tutelage of musical giants Ron Carter, Ray Drummond, Frank Kimbrough,
Wynton Marsalis, and many others. Two of his most important accolades include being
named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in 2012 and winning the International Society
of Bassists’ jazz competition in 2013. Marty currently co-leads an innovative trio with guitarist Jason Ennis and pianist Miro Sprague, which features original compositions by each member drawing on various musical influences.


Jason Marsalis, drums

JASON MARSALIS is widely considered one of his generation’s most gifted drummers. He is the youngest son of the late pianist and music educator, Ellis Marsalis. At the age of six, he began taking drum lessons with the legendary drummer, James Black, and by age seven, he had progressed so rapidly that his father started using him for some of his
own shows. During high school, Marsalis studied at renowned New Orleans Center
for Creative Arts and during his last year there, in 1994, he joined the new trio
founded by the virtuoso pianist, Marcus Roberts. He began touring regularly with
Roberts the next year while at the same time furthering his education at Loyola
University in New Orleans. While Marsalis has performed with many other musicians
over the years, including Dr. Michael White, John Ellis, Shannon Powell, the Marsalis family, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Marsalis has held the drum chair in the Marcus Roberts Trio for a remarkable 28 years. In addition to his renown as a drummer,
Marsalis has been leading his own vibes quartet since 2008, while at the same
time remaining an critical member of the Marcus Roberts Trio. His skill at the drum set has been a key part of the sound and philosophy of the trio for many years. Marsalis has been featured on all of Roberts’ recordings for more than 25 years.


Program Notes

by Michelle Pellay-Walker

The collaboration between director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams is legendary, having produced many iconic moments over the history of the film industry; E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is considered to be one of Williams’ finest soundtracks; major accolades include the Academy Award, the Grammy Award, a Golden Globe, and the BAFTA Award. “Adventures on Earth” occurs late in the film, featuring music
from the climactic bicycle chase scene, and from the final goodbyes between Elliott and E.T. before the latter rejoins his people and returns home (one of the better known anecdotes concerning this score is that for the final chase scene, Spielberg edited the film to accommodate the music rather than the other way around). The orchestral scoring is quite large, featuring full woodwinds plus auxiliary instruments, full brass, timpani, percussion, harp, piano, celeste, and strings. Note of Interest: The MSO participated in a concert performance of this score with film at The Orpheum in February of 2018. Don’t watch the end of this without having a box of tissues handy: It’s been forty years since E.T. was released (1982),…and I still cry in all of the same spots!! While the MSO’s 2021-22 season closed with George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, this season’s opening concert features the Concerto in F, for piano and orchestra. Gershwin was commissioned to write the work by conductor and director Walter Damrosch, who was in attendance at the Rhapsody’s premiere performance. It was composed during the summer of 1925, and received its premiere performance at Carnegie Hall that December, featuring the New York Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Damrosch, with Gershwin as soloist. Unlike the
Rhapsody, which was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé, Gershwin orchestrated the Concerto himself. The three-movement composition is scored for a full complement of woodwinds
(including piccolo, English horn, and bass clarinet), full brass, timpani, percussion, and strings, and takes approximately thirty minutes to perform. Gershwin described the Concerto as follows: “The first movement employs the Charleston rhythm. It is quick and pulsating, representing the young enthusiastic spirit of American life. It begins with a rhythmic motif given out by the kettle drums… The principal theme is announced by
the bassoon. Later, a second theme is introduced by the piano. The second movement has a poetic, nocturnal atmosphere which has come to be referred to as the American blues, but in a purer form than that in which they are usually treated. The final movement reverts to the style of the first. It is an orgy of rhythms, starting violently and keeping to the same pace throughout.” Camille Saint-Saëns wrote the Symphony No. 3 in C minor,
Opus 78 upon receiving a commission from the Royal Philharmonic Society in England. Saint-Saëns conducted the premiere performance in London at St. James’s Hall in
the spring of 1886 (he dedicated the work to Franz Liszt later that summer, upon hearing of his friend’s passing); he also conducted the French premiere the following year. The
Symphony nominally follows the usual four-movement symphonic structure, though technically, it is only two movements in length. In addition the the full 19th century
orchestral scoring one would expect, both the organ and the piano are prominently featured as keyboard additions (hence the nickname, “Organ” Symphony). The organ appears in movements two and four; the piano is heard in movements three and four (featuring writing for both two hands and four hands). Typical performances of this work last approximately thirty-five minutes. Several themes reappear throughout the
movements, bringing unity and cohesiveness to the whole.