Thursday, August 17, 2017

Duke Ellington Orchestra to perform across 11 Russian cities

The Duke Ellington Orchestra, one of America's most famous big bands, will be traveling through Russia in celebration of its 90th anniversary world tour.

The orchestra has already performed in Yekaterinburg, Perm, St. Petersburg, Smolensk and Moscow and is scheduled to perform in at least six more, according to The Voice of Russia.

The Duke Ellington Orchestra said Russian audiences are like no other in the world, with unmatched enthusiasm and lively interest. Shows in Russia are sold out for every performance.

The orchestra maintains a commitment to the style of Duke Ellington, who founded the orchestra. Ellington died in 1974, after which time his son Mercer Ellington took over the band.

Duke Ellington and his orchestra first visited the former Soviet Union in 1971. In St. Petersburg, formerly known as Leningrad, Ellington astonished the audience by improvising for an extra hour after the concert had finished. He also held a jam session with Leningrad musicians, highlighting the event in his memoir. Russian musician David Goloshchokin attended the concert and later dedicated one of the halls at the St. Petersburg jazz philharmonic society to Ellington, naming it Ellington Hall, The Voice of Russia reports.

Ellington also performed in Moscow during the historic tour, where he met with young musicians, including then 27-year-old Boris Frumkin. Ellington demonstrated benevolence toward the young musician, who now leads a concert jazz orchestra. He recalled words of advice given to him by Ellington.

"Ellington used to say that the main thing was to find supporters," Frumkin said, according to The Voice of Russia. "And it is of secondary importance whether you have three drummers and eight saxophone players. It is important that these people trust you and love you, and everything will be okay."

Ellington created more than 1,000 popular melodies in his lifetime, including 38 big works, spiritual concerts and music for theater productions and films, offering the Duke Ellington Orchestra an almost unlimited repertoire of music to draw from.