Please join Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc. and the Billy Strayhorn Foundation in celebrating the 107th birthday of the composer, arranger, lyricist and virtuoso pianist, Billy Strayhorn. Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1915 and nurtured in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Billy Strayhorn helped to shape the jazz canon with timeless classics like “Take the A Train”, ‘Lush Life’, ‘Something to Live For’ and “Chelsea Bridge” among his extensive catalog and arrangements. His 28 year musical pairing with Duke Ellington from 1939 until his passing in 1967 is considered one of the greatest musical collaborations of the 20th century. Duke once said Billy “was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine”…

His musical legacy continues to grow in what has been dubbed “21st Century Strayhorn”, as we see him much more prevalent in a growing music circle of younger musicians and studied more in depth by jazz educators. We leave you with a favorite Strayhorn phrase on this special day-“Ever Up and Onward”!

Rapidly becoming an audience favorite for his abilities as an improviser and crafter of nuanced programs that explore the conversations between jazz and classical idioms, pianist Aaron Diehl returns to the stage in a new collaboration with the up-and-coming vocalist and librettist Joshua Banbury. Banbury’s operatic libretti have been presented by Washington National Opera, The American Lyric Theater, Fort Worth Opera, and The Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts.

In a program that honors ignored figures in the history of African American music of the twentieth century, Diehl and Banbury pair together the music of Billy Strayhorn and Julius Eastman. Strayhorn spent much of his career in the thrall of Duke Ellington as a composer and arranger, only later receiving due credit for writing hits like Take the A Train and Lush Life. Similarly invisible in his own lifetime, composer Julius Eastman’s music has only recently been revived thanks to the passionate advocacy of a number of contemporary musicians. An experimental innovator whose style blurred the lines of art, music, and theatre, the ongoing Eastman revival shows the powerful endurance of art and expression on the margins.

All this takes place at the Phillips Collection Art Museum in Washington DC. Located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, The Phillips Collection opened in 1921 and is America’s first museum of modern art.[7] Featuring a permanent collection of nearly 3,000 works by American and European impressionist and modern artists, the Phillips is recognized for both its art and its intimate atmosphere. It is housed in founder Duncan Phillips’ 1897 Georgian Revival home and two similarly scaled additions.


This event will be broadcast live from the Music Room on Sunday, January 15th at 4 PM. To reserve a ticket, go to for more info. All registered ticket holders will receive a link directing them to a livestream webpage where the performance can be accessed. Ticket holders will be able to watch this performance “On Demand” for 48 hours following the broadcast time.

Marlon Martinez leads the Marlonius Jazz Orchestra in celebration of its debut album release Marlonius|Strayhorn, featuring the music of Billy Strayhorn and a selection of Marlon’s original compositions. Prior to the performance, Marlon will discuss Strayhorn’s legacy and the Strayhorn project, with moderator and KUSC host Alan Chapman. The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to host this program in conjunction with the renowned Colburn School in LA. 

Hailing from Los Angeles, Marlon Martinez is a young virtuoso bassist and composer emerging at the center of the resurgent Los Angeles jazz scene. He has demonstrated his virtuosity while touring with a wide range of artists, from rock icon Stewart Copeland to classical trailblazers Quatuor Ebène. Marlon is the protégé of mentor Stanley Clarke and studied with legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter in New York City. He is the music director and composer of his big band, Marlonius Jazz Orchestra. Marlon is a winner of Colburn School’s 2020 New Venture Competition and was selected as an artist-in-residence for the inaugural Amplify Series at Colburn School in 2022. This fantastic event will take place Wednesday, December 7th at the Clive Davis Theatre, located at the famed GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles: 800 West Olympic Blvd. Suite A245. Tickets are $30. Call 213-725-5700 for more show information.

Pittsburgh’s Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) is honoring its namesakes, 20th century entertainment legends, Billy Strayhorn and Gene Kelly at their 15th annual benefit concert Suite Life, Saturday, November 26, 2022!

Building on John Shannon’s 2021 reinvention of Suite Life, Kelly Strayhorn Theater invites you to experience the music of composer Billy Strayhorn and the imagery of performer Gene Kelly. Under the stage direction of Monteze Freeland (Co-Artistic Director of City Theatre) and musical direction of Akron-based Theron Brown, vocalists Anita Levels (a Pittsburgh favorite) with Kelsey Robinson and Treasure Treasure (Dance & vocals), James Johnson III (Drums), Jordan McBride (Bass), Reggie Watkins (Trombone), and John Shannon (Guitar) himself will have the audience swooning through an unmissable evening. With media design by artist Scott Andrew and lighting design by Jonathan Bucci Productions, Suite Life 2022 promises to carry the East End tradition with sizzling atmosphere. Celebrate the singular lives of composer Billy Strayhorn and performer Gene Kelly live at Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Concert-goers who donate at the elevated level will receive a musical memoir of the evening’s festivities. The VIP reception begins at 6pm. The jazz concert starts at 8pm. The Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre is located at 5941Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh , PA 15206. For more information call (412) 363-3000.