On June 9th and June 10th, Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart and the world famous symphony orchestra explored the extraordinary musical legacies of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, whose nearly 30 years of creative collaboration helped to shape the sound and spirit of American music as we know it today. Trailblazing American pianist Lara Downes shared the world premiere of “The Strayhorn Concerto”, built on three of Strayhorn’s most expressive songs — “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing,” “Strange Feeling,” and “Something to Live For” — arranged by composer Chris Walden. Two-time Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (Kiss Me, Kate, Ragtime, Shuffle Along, Man of La Mancha) bought his rich voice and captivating performance style to this wonderful American music also.
An added bonus was the attendance of Strayhorn family member and great niece Leah Morris, pictured with Lara Downes and Keith Lockhart backstage. Lara will continue to play the ‘The Strayhorn Concerto’ with several symphony orchestras across the United States in 2022.
Photo: Pianist Lara Downes, Strayhorn great niece Leah Morris and conductor Keith Lockhart.