Sofia Longa is currently attending the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida as a sophomore. The New World School of the Arts is a center of artistic and academic excellence in the visual and performing arts. She has been playing the double bass for four years, starting at the age of ten. Some of her influences include the great Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, and Christian McBride. This year, Sofia is planning on auditioning for Young Arts, whose mission is to identify exceptional young artists, amplify their potential, and invest in their life long creative freedom. Sofia hopes to keep playing this marvelous music we know as jazz. 

This past spring, Sofia performed with the New World School of the Arts High Jazz Jazz Ensemble at the Essentially Ellington competition in New York City. Her bass playing contributed to a third place award for the ensemble, as well as an “Outstanding Rhythm Section” award. Billy Strayhorn Song Inc. and the Billy Strayhorn Foundation congratulate this up and coming rising star and wish her the best in following a wonderful musical path she is traveling…Congrats Sofia!

Founded in 1997, Litchfield Jazz Camp serves about 300 residential and day students during a month-long program on the campus of the The Frederick Gunn School in Washington, Connecticut. Run by Litchfield Performing Arts (established 1981), a charitable organization dedicated to changing lives through music, the Camp’s philosophy is simple. They start with a faculty of amazing and inspiring jazz musicians who represent the best jazz players/educators on the scene today. To that they add eager music students in a non-competitive, all-inclusive program. No audition is required; just a desire to attend and make music. Litchfield Jazz Camp embraces all learners: students of all ages from 13 years up– beginners, intermediate learners, advanced players, students with learning disabilities. That is how the collaborative, supportive and fun atmosphere at Litchfield Jazz Camp is created. Learn more about Litchfield at:


Featuring a stunning score, Billy Strayhorn: Something to Live For brings to life the remarkable true story of one of the greatest composers of all time. From his impoverished beginnings in Pittsburgh to his lifelong collaboration with Duke Ellington, this world-premiere new musical follows the highs and lows of Billy Strayhorn’s career, the joys and heartbreak of his personal life, and the challenges he faced living as an openly gay Black man in mid-20th century America at the dawn of the civil rights movement. Through his collaborations with Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, and the greatest jazz orchestra of all time, Billy Strayhorn transcended racial and sexual barriers and brought a unique fusion of jazz and classical music to the world with all-time favorites including “Take the ‘A’ Train” and the immortal “Lush Life.”  This show contains mature language. 

TWO ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES NOW AVAILABLE! Due to popular demand, Pittsburgh Public Theatre added two performances to the premiere of BILLY STRAYHORN: SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR, extending the production through October 11th at the O’Reilly Theater. Added performances: Tuesday, October 10th at 7pm and Wednesday, October 11th at 8pm. Tickets start at $35 and great seats are still available for many performances, September 19th-October 11th. Buy tickets now before you risk missing this once-in-a-lifetime world premiere!

Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots) has joined the producing team led by Steven Tabakin for Pittsburgh’s Public Theatre’s world premiere of the new musical Billy Strayhorn: Something to Live For, which will play the O’Reilly Theater September 19th thru October 8th. The musical charts the life of openly gay jazz innovator and activist Billy Strayhorn and his collaborations with Duke Ellington, including “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Lush Life.”

Porter, who was one of the producers of the Tony-winning A Strange Loop, says, “People don’t know or appreciate who Billy Strayhorn was. He was an accomplished musical genius and an openly gay Black man back in the day. His story needs to be told, and Darius de Haas is the perfect person to bring Strayhorn to life. This new musical, under the inspired direction of Kent Gash, deserves to have its world premiere in Pittsburgh where Strayhorn first discovered his love of music. I am proud to be a producer on this thrilling musical that finally tells his personal story.”

The new jazz musical, which launches the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s 2023-2024 season, is written by Rob Zellars (The Chief) with Gash. It features music and lyrics by Strayhorn, plus a nine-piece jazz band led by Matthew Whitaker.

“This is a Pittsburgh origins story that not many people are aware of,” Zellers said in an earlier statement. “Strayhorn’s life began in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. His gift for composing, arranging, and performing jazz took him from Westinghouse High School to New York City at the pinnacle of American jazz music. Despite his decades-long partnership with Duke Ellington where he wrote music and lyrics for some of the band’s best known work, he never received the recognition he rightly deserved.”

Directed by Gash (Paradise Blue), the cast will be led by Obie winner de Haas (The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselRunning Man) as Strayhorn and J.D. Mollison (Les Miserables) as Duke Ellington, with Charl Brown (Motown: The Musical) as Aaron Bridgers, Keziah John-Paul (The Book of Mormon) as Lillian Strayhorn and Ivie Anderson, Arielle Roberts as Lena Horne and Billie Holiday, Richard McBride as Mercer Ellington and Joseph McGranaghan as Lennie Hayton.

Photo of Billy Porter by Meredith Truax.

A number of distinguished panelists contributed to the “Strayhorn: Known & Unknown” symposium. Following David Hajdu’s keynote lecture, a group consisting of A. Alyce Claerbaut, Lisa Barg, Marlon Martinez and Robert O’Meally gave presentations about the life and work of Billy Strayhorn, and then answered questions from the audience. This was part of the Library’s three-day “Salute to Strayhorn.” This event helped celebrate the Billy Strayhorn music manuscripts and estate papers collection, now held in the Music Division of the Library of Congress. You can view this very informative piece on Strayhorn below:

David Hajdu, author of the 1996 critically acclaimed book, “Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn”, gave the keynote lecture for the symposium that was in celebration of Billy Strayhorn. Part of the Library’s three-day “Salute to Strayhorn” event, Hajdu’s talk brought to light aspects of Strayhorn’s life that are often overshadowed by his professional relationship with Duke Ellington. View this wonderful lecture that was presented at the Library of Congress in June, 2023.