The concert program includes the following:
Akropolis celebrates the Legacy Of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) on the eve of his 100th birthday through the lens of a collection of contemporary American composers. His Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs points to a unification of classical musical forms and Dixieland mash-up jazz improvisations.
Nico Muhly (b. 1981) buries the melody of the Appalachian folksong Mother in the Graveyard inside modern textures—as if music played from an original wax cylinder field recording warped by time is still luminous today.
An American in Paris by George Gershwin (1898-1937), brilliantly arranged by Dutch saxophonist Raaf Hekkema, allows Akropolis to convey a more outgoing and modern outlook as our American character in Paris takes in the sights and sounds of his new city, then grows homesick, only to be in love with a triumphant Paris by the end.
Logan Rutledge (b. 1993) dedicated his piece to Trayvon Martin, giving an aural representation of the injustice of gun violence and racism in America.
John Steinmetz (b. 1951) composed Sorrow and Celebration for reed quintet and audience as a work teeming with optimism even as it grieves. “The deaths of two young African American men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, were on my mind. Sometimes sorrow, in bringing people together, can cut through the illusion of separateness, and that is cause for gratitude and celebration.”
Duke Ellington (1899-1974) composed the suite The River as joyous accompaniment to an Alvin Ailey ballet.