Kurt Elling, Maria Schneider Orchestra Highlight Lawrence University Jazz Celebration Weekend


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APPLETON, WIS. — It is encore time for two multi-award winning artists who will make return appearances at Lawrence University for the college's 32nd annual Jazz Celebration Weekend.

The Grammy Award-winning Kurt Elling Quartet opens the two-concert weekend Friday, Nov. 2 with the world-renowned Maria Schneider Orchestra closing the weekend Saturday, Nov. 3. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.

Tickets, at $22-20 for adults, $19-17 for seniors and $17-15 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office in the Music-Drama Center, 920-832-6749.

Hailed as “the standout male vocalist of our time" by the New York Times, Elling will combine his vocal virtuosity with the talents of the Lawrence Jazz Ensemble. In addition to a 2009 Grammy Award, Elling has been named “Male Vocalist of the Year" an unprecedented 13 years in a row (2000-2012) by the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll. Elling, who performed at Lawrence in 2003, holds the distinction of having each of his first nine albums earn a Grammy Award nomination.

Elling's latest release, 2012's “1619 Broadway – The Brill Building Project," celebrates the landmark New York City workplace where dozens of composers and lyricists generated some of America's most popular music over the course of four decades.

Composer and conductor Maria Schneider's ascent to international jazz acclaim began shortly after forming her 17-member orchestra in 1993. A weekly performer at Visiones in Greenwich Village early on, the orchestra has since become a staple at concert venues around the world, earning 2005's “Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year” award from the Jazz Journalists Association.

Schneider herself scored an awards trifecta in 2005, earning composer of the year, arranger of the year and best jazz recording honors from both the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalist Association.

Fred Sturm, director of jazz studies and improvisation music at Lawrence and founder of Jazz Celebration Weekend, calls Schneider “the premier composer of music for the large jazz ensemble in the 21st century and her Jazz Orchestra is among the finest big bands in the world today."

“Maria's original works contain the most artistic renderings of melody, harmony, orchestration and structure created by composers in all jazz-related genres over the past decade," said Sturm. “Her scores and recordings have dramatically impacted the evolution of the jazz composition art form worldwide."

Schneider's extensive list of compositions includes commissions by the Danish Radio Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra, Stuttgart Jazz Orchestra, Orchestre National de Jazz, Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, Monterey Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. She last performed at Lawrence in 2007.

Beyond the two headline concerts, Lawrence will host more than 30 university, high school and middle school ensembles on Saturday, Nov. 3, all of which will participate in daytime performances, educational clinics and master classes. All Saturday daytime events are free and open to the public.

About Lawrence University

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College." Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,450 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

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