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A Quartet of Acclaimed Jazz Soloists Closes RPO Pops Season with 85 Years of Jazz

May 09, 2008

Byron Stripling, Wycliffe Gordon, Peter Appleyard and Chris Vadala Take Audience on Jazz Voyage from Louis Armstrong to Chick Corea

Rochester, NY – Closing on its 85th anniversary and leading into the Rochester Jazz Festival, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra gears up to present its final WPOP series concert of the season, 85 Years of Jazz, with a quartet of some of the most acclaimed jazz performers on Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. in Eastman Theatre.  Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads the Orchestra with guests Byron Stripling, trumpet; Wycliffe Gordon, trombone; Peter Appleyard, vibraphone; and Chris Vadala, saxophone.

This extraordinary group will be performing music by jazz icons Louis Armstrong (St. James Infirmary), Duke Ellington (Black and Tan Fantasy); Dave Brubeck (Take Five), Jelly Roll Morton, Artie Shaw, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea and Count Basie, among others.

Trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling has become a favorite with pops audiences, performing with symphony orchestras nationwide.  He has been a soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra under Keith Lockhart and was featured on the PBS television special Evening at Pops with conductors John Williams and Mr. Lockhart.  Stripling was lead trumpeter and soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra, and played and recorded extensively with the bands of Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Dave Brubeck and other jazz luminaries.  He currently serves as artistic director and conductor of the highly acclaimed Columbus Jazz Orchestra, as well as being an accomplished actor and singer. 

Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon enjoys an extraordinary career as a performer, conductor, composer, arranger and educator, touring the world performing hard-swinging, straight-ahead jazz.  In addition to a thriving solo career, he regularly tours leading the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet.  He is a former member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and The Gully Low Jazz Band.  His latest recording is We2, a collaboration with pianist Eric Reed.  Television appearances include the GRAMMY® Awards, the PBS documentary Swingin’ with the Duke and two Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts.  He also appeared in Ken Burns’ documentary Jazz.

Celebrating his 80th birthday this year, Canadian vibraphonist Peter Appleyard has had a legendary career that includes extensive club and concert hall performances, a highly successful, award-winning television series and numerous recordings with some of the great jazz musicians of the last century.  Mr. Appleyard is an all-star at jazz festivals, tours internationally on a regular basis and has played with the likes of Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton and more.  With his jazz group, he has played with symphonies at major concert halls all over the world.  His award-winning TV series Peter Appleyard Presents was seen across Canada from 1978 to 1981, and featured a galaxy of famous jazz stars backed by Appleyard’s combo in a casual nightclub setting.  In 1992, he was named to the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian award.

One of the country’s foremost woodwind artists, saxophonist Chris Vadala has had a jazz and classical performing career highlighted by a long tenure as standout woodwind artist with the internationally recognized Chuck Mangione Quartet, performing in all 50 states and throughout the rest of the world.  He also has performed and/or recorded with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Chick Corea, Aretha Franklin, Placido Domingo and many others.  Mr. Vadala is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, earning the prestigious Performer’s Certificate in saxophone as well as a bachelor’s degree in music education, and pursued postgraduate study in woodwinds at Eastman.  He is the director of jazz studies and saxophone professor at the University of Maryland.

Tickets for these performances begin at $20, and are available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100); in person from the RPO Box Office, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.); and seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply.  Students and senior citizens are entitled to a 20% discount on advance single ticket purchases as well as half-price rush tickets beginning at 10 a.m. on the concert day, subject to availability. Special rates for groups of 10 or more also are available from the RPO Box Office; call 454-7311 x224. The WPOP Series is sponsored by Wegmans; this concert is sponsored by Corning Incorporated and Zimmer Sales & Service.

Celebrating its 85th season in 2007-08, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.  RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County and the City of Rochester. 

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