25th Anniversary Commissioning Project to Honor KU Basketball Legends

Lied Center of Kansas Announces Jazz at Lincoln Center Commission Celebrating 25th AnniversaryNew work to honor 15 KU basketball legends

LAWRENCE, KS: The Lied Center of Kansas has commissioned the entire Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) to compose a new work, which will be premiered during the performing arts center’s 25th-anniversary, 2018-2019 season. Each of the 15 members of the JLCO will compose one movement that will capture the spirit of a KU basketball legend. This project represents the very first time the JLCO has been commissioned to create a new work as a collective.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis has observed that the highest-level jazz and basketball are executed in a similar fashion:

• Virtuosity on a form must be demonstrated.
• Understanding team sportsmanship is essential.
• Learning to make the appropriate individual choices in heated moments of pressure is crucial.

Lied Center Executive Director Derek Kwan comments, “We are truly honored to have Jazz at Lincoln Center join us in celebration of the Lied Center’s 25th anniversary. There is arguably no cultural phenomenon that has had a greater impact on the University of Kansas, and the entire state of Kansas, than the game of basketball. This unique pairing of college basketball’s most storied program with the world’s greatest jazz orchestra is certain to create an unforgettable moment in Lied Center history.”

Cat Henry, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Vice President, Concerts and Touring, adds, “Wynton and the JLCO are avid basketball fans and knowledgeable about the history of the sport. They’re excited and honored to be ‘teamed up’ with some of its greatest practitioners for this creative project.”

Through the generosity of private donors, each movement is sponsored. Net proceeds of this project will help fund the Lied Center’s Performing Arts Access Endowment, which will enable every single student in Lawrence Public Schools to attend a world-class, age-specific performance on an annual basis. The fifteen KU basketball legends who will be highlighted are:

KU Legends              Movement Sponsors
Phog Allen                 John and Rosy Elmore
Charlie B. Black         Cathy Daicoff
Mario Chalmers         Miles and Paula Schnaer
Wilt Chamberlain       Beverly Smith Billings
Nick Collison              Catherine Holland
Bill Hougland             Brad and Linda Sanders
Clyde Lovellette         Jon and Vicki Jamison
Danny Manning          Danny and Julie Manning
James Naismith          David Booth
Paul Pierce                 Cathy Reinhardt
Darnell Valentine        Steve and Chris Edmonds
Walt Wesley               Roland and Joanne Hurst
Jo Jo White                Scott and Linda Robinson & Chris and Jane Fevurly
Andrew Wiggins         Jeff and Mary Weinberg
Lynette Woodard        In honor of Renate Mai-Dalton, Venkat & Neeli Bendapudi

Lead gifts for the Performing Arts Access Endowment had previously been provided by The Dolph Simons Family Fund, The Ethel and Raymond F. Rice Foundation, and Kent and Donna Saylor. Details regarding the world-premiere performance, featuring the JLCO, will be revealed at the Lied Center’s season announcement in spring 2018.

About the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis:

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) comprises 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today. Led by Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director, this remarkably versatile orchestra performs a vast repertoire ranging from original compositions and Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works to rare historic compositions and masterworks by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus and many others. The JLCO has been the Jazz at Lincoln Center resident orchestra since 1988, performing and leading educational events in New York, across the United States and around the globe. Alongside symphony orchestras, ballet troupes, local students, and an ever-expanding roster of guest artists, the JLCO has toured over 300 cities across six continents. Guest conductors have included Benny Carter, John Lewis, Jimmy Heath, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Santos, Paquito D’Rivera, Jon Faddis, Robert Sadin, David Berger, Gerald Wilson and Loren Schoenberg. The JLCO has been voted best Big Band in the annual DownBeat Readers’ Poll for the past four years (2013–2016).

About the Lied Center of Kansas:

The Lied Center of Kansas serves the University of Kansas, students and the greater community by functioning as a catalyst for the arts, creativity, engagement and community building. Since opening its doors in 1993, the Lied Center has positively impacted over 2 million patrons. Over 600 world-class artists have graced the stage, while 125,000 local students have attended free, school-only performances. Through the use of webcasting technology, the Lied Center has now reached over 57,000 viewers representing all 50 states, 87 countries, and 109 cities and towns in the state of Kansas.News release

Derek Kwan
Executive Director, Lied Center of Kansas
kwan@ku.edu, 785.864.2792

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