Dave Brubeck and his Quartet begin European Tour

Legendary composer and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and his Quartet begin a fall tour of Europe November 16 with a concert at Nuremberg, Germany's Schauspielhaus, presented by the City of Nuremberg as part of its 60th anniversary commemoration of the Nuremberg Trials.

During the tour Brubeck will celebrate his 85th birthday on December 6 in the first of two dates with the London Symphony Orchestra, with which he has frequently performed and recorded.

Brubeck was stationed in Nuremberg in 1945 with General George S. Patton's Third Army. While he did not attend the Trials, his band The Wolf Pack -- the first integrated band in the military -- was part of a USO show that reopened the Nuremberg Opera House on July 1, 1945. Prior to that, the Opera House had served as The Wolf Pack's rehearsal facility after U.S. troops had occupied the city.

“One of my most vivid memories of that period is sitting in the audience for the first post-war performance of 'Hansel and Gretel' at the Nuremberg Opera House, along with hundreds of excited German children and some parents, ” recalls Brubeck. “There was so much joy, and a feeling of returning to normalcy. I think of those days each time I come to Nuremburg and have the privilege of returning to that beautiful stage.”

Dr. Ulrich Maly, Nuremberg's Lord Mayor, invited Brubeck to participate in the City's commemoration of the Trials after hearing Brubeck's 2004 solo piano CD on Telarc, “Private Brubeck Remembers.” The CD is a collection of World War II-era standards plus the Brubeck originals “We Crossed the Rhine” and “Weep No More, ” written for his wife Iola. On a limited-edition companion CD, Brubeck is interviewed by former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite and reminisces about his World War II days and his stay in Nuremberg.

Dr. Hans Hesselmann, director of the City of Nuremberg's Office of Human Rights, noted that Brubeck's fight for tolerance, peace and the recognition of human rights throughout his career was an important factor in the City's decision to invite him.

The Brubeck Quartet -- Bobby Militello, alto sax and flute, Michael Moore, bass, and Randy Jones, drums -- will play 16 dates in Germany, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, and the UK, six of them with symphony or chamber orchestra. (In addition to his extensive catalogue of jazz originals, many of which have become standards, Brubeck has written more than 50 works for orchestra, chorus, solo voice, string quartet, ballet, or the musical theatre.)

Tour cities in addition to Nuremberg and London include Hoersching, Villach, Vienna and Kapfenburg, Austria; Barcelona, Spain; Warsaw, Poland; Lausanne, Bern, Basel and Zurich, Switzerland; and Munich, Dusseldorf, and Ludwigshafen, Germany.

On December 6, the London Symphony Orchestra under guest conductor Russell Gloyd will present an all-Brubeck program including the premiere of a birthday tribute by Darius Brubeck. Four Brubeck sons will join in the program: Darius (keyboards), Chris (electric bass and trombone), Dan (drums) and Matthew (cello).

On December 17, the London Symphony and Chorus along with the St. Luke's Children's Chorus will perform Brubeck's Christmas cantata, ”La Fiesta de la Posada, ” in which he will be joined once again by his sons. This program will be repeated in December 19 in Munich and December 20 in Ludwigshafen, Germany, with the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz and the Madrigalchor der Hochschule fur Musik und Theater of Munich.

Along with his 85th birthday, the year 2005 has contained numerous other milestones for Brubeck, including a 50th anniversary appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, where he was joined by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis; a concert with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra observing the 40th anniversary of his debut with that orchestra (the CSO later premiered his first choral work, the oratorio, “The Light in the Wilderness”); a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Congressional Record tribute when he opened the first Duke Ellington Festival in Washington, D.C.; and the world premiere of his most recent choral work, “The Commandments, ” at New York's Lincoln Center.

Prior to sailing for Europe, Brubeck put the finishing touches on two new compositions. “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been, a Democrat or a Republican, ” is a choral fugue which contrasts the McCarthy era with the present. At the invitation of the Pacific Mozart Ensemble, he also wrote a Credo which will be inserted into Mozart's unfinished Grand Mass in C minor when the Ensemble celebrates Mozart's 250th birthday in 2006.

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