Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra
With guest artist Richard Stoltzman
8 p.m. Saturday
George Mason University Center
For the Arts, Fairfax
It's a rare musician who can direct traffic at that intriguing intersection at which jazz, pop and classical music meet. Richard Stoltzman, a leading performer of modern classical works for the clarinet who has won two Grammys, is one of those special talents.
This weekend, Stoltzman, a best-selling artist on the pop-crossover charts, joins George Mason University's own Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra on the GMU concert hall stage for a selection of big band tunes that's sure to swing hard and swing well. The program consists of selections from the repertoires of Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein, Charlie Parker, George Gershwin and others, under the direction of local D.C. area jazz man and MJO leader Jim Carroll.
Carroll, the director of jazz studies in the George Mason music department, is trained in jazz and classical styles. His career has taken him on stage at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the White House and the Royal Albert Hall, and he's collaborated with artists such as Mel Torme, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Wilson, Henry Mancini and even Michael Jackson.
Stoltzman, for his part, has not only performed with nearly every major orchestra around the world, but has also worked with such pop and jazz greats as Torme, Claude Bolling, George Shearing, Judy Collins and Gary Burton.
His discography numbers nearly 50 releases including two Grammy-winning recordings: one of Brahms sonatas with Richard Goode and a second of Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart trios with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax.
Stoltzman's best-known release is probably 1986's "Begin Sweet World," which rode high on Billboard's crossover charts for well over a year. Soon after, he released "Ebony," recorded with Woody Herman's Thundering Herd (with whom he toured for two seasons). That, too, was nominated for a Grammy, for Best Big Band Recording.
A true star in the crossover music world, Stoltzman has made TV appearances on such shows as "Good Morning America," NBC's "Today" show, "The Tonight Show" and his own national PBS special, "Lonesome Pines," but the family-friendliest would have to be his visits to "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and "Sesame Street," where he instructed Oscar the Grouch on the "grouch-i-net."
As such appearances might indicate, Stoltzman is a champion of arts education and works with Young Audiences, a nonprofit organization that brings artists into America's schools. No surprise, then, that GMU has designated this event as one of its "family friendly" performances, meaning that it's appropriate for children and ideal for family groups. Better yet, tickets are half-price for children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult.
-- Marianne Meyer
The George Mason University Center for the Arts is on the Fairfax campus of GMU at Braddock Road and Route 123, six miles west of Beltway exit 54. Tickets are $36, $28 and $18 and can be obtained by calling 703-218-6500, or visiting www.tickets.com. There is paid parking in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall; free parking is in university lot K. For more information, visit www.gmu.edu/cfa.
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