The Duke Story

Today, cross-pollination between art music and jazz is the most normal thing in the world, but it was different in the first half of the 20th century. The classical world considered jazz unconventional and disapproved of the genre. Moreover, there was not only aversion for the music itself, but also for the allegedly evil environment from which jazz originated. Nevertheless, there were classical composers who took a great interest in the genre. The programme includes compositions by Bohuslav Martinů (Sextet), Erwin Schulhoff (Divertissement) and Francis Poulenc (Sextuor). These three were so inspired by jazz that the above works bear the unmistakable stamp of (American) jazz.

Duke Ellington (1899-1974) sounds like a red thread. Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington embodied jazz like no other. For several decades, he created a furore as pianist and bandleader and composed an extensive oeuvre. In combination with the classical works mentioned, a selection of well-known and lesser-known tunes by Ellington will be arranged for wind ensemble and piano. The Belgian composer Erik Desimpelaere was inspired by both the original jazz band sound and the more contrapuntal writing of the European pieces. In this way, we bring both musical worlds together into a homogeneous whole.



Concept Erik Desimpelaere, Francis Pollet
Music Bohuslav Martinů, Francis Poulenc, Erwin Schulhoff and Duke Ellington/Erik Desimpelaere
Ensemble I SOLISTI