Nelson Riddle’s Forgotten Grammy Winner Finally Receives Its New York Premiere

At the very first Grammy Awards ceremony, held in 1959, the recording of Nelson Riddle's 11-movement work, Cross Country Suite –– featuring clarinetist Buddy DeFranco with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra –– was awarded "Best Original Instrumental Composition."After falling into obscurity for more than half a century, the full work will finally receive its New York City live premiere, featuring clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera, on Sat., April 2, 7:30 pm at Symphony Space's Peter Jay Sharp Theatre (2537 Broadway at 95th).

Celebrating its 100th anniversary season, the Wooster Symphony Orchestra, based at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, is organizing the performance. The orchestra's music director and conductor, Jeffrey Lindberg, who is an active transcriber and editor of jazz music, has transcribed the original Riddle/DeFranco recording (and edited the few remaining original manuscripts) to create this full edition of the suite.

The work, which was recorded on the DOT label by Riddle and DeFranco, received only one printing on LP. Although DeFranco and Riddle performed two or three of the movements at The Hollywood Bowl in the early 1960s, the complete work did not receive its live premiere until 2007, a performance that featured Buddy DeFranco with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Lindberg conducting. Subsequent complete performances included Victor Goines with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra in 2009 (Evanston Ill.), and Paquito D'Rivera with the Wooster Symphony Orchestra in 2011 (Wooster, Ohio). In 2008 the Riddle estate had the original recording re-mastered and released on a limited edition compact disc by Universal Music.

The concert will also feature the world premiere of Peter Mowrey's Second Century Overture; Jindo Arirang Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, featuring composer/pianist Jung Yoon Wie; and Mozart's Exsultate jubilate, featuring soprano Susan Wallin.

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