Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Performing Arts Center will present “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration” featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Chorale Le Chateau on Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall.
Two decades ago, Marsalis composed and recorded “In This House, On This Morning” and began a creative exploration of how to reflect the forms of the African-American church service onto a theme of universal humanism while raising a joyful noise. Marsalis refined this integration of sacred and secular expression in 2008 with his extended work “Abyssinian 200: A Celebration,” commissioned by Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church to celebrate its 200th anniversary.
Following a performance of the “Abyssinian Mass” at London’s Barbican Centre in 2012, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis brings this work to Athens. Conductor Damien Sneed leads Chorale Le Chateau, a 70-person gospel choir, through the compendium of shouts, chants and joyous expressions required by this masterwork.
A native of New Orleans, Marsalis is the managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. He began his classical training on trumpet at age 12 and entered the Juilliard School of Music at 17. He made his recording debut as a bandleader in 1982 and has since recorded more than 70 jazz and classical albums, winning nine Grammy Awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz Grammys in the same year, a feat he repeated the following year. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his oratorio, “Blood on the Fields,” which was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Theresa Chafin, a doctoral student in musicology at UGA, will offer a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.
From 6-8 p.m., the Georgia Museum of Art (located next to the Performing Arts Center) will hold “Make It an Evening” with gallery tours before the concert. Jittery Joe’s coffee and desserts by Cecilia’s Villaveces’ Cakes will be available for $5 per person.
Tickets for “Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration” are $25-$60 with discounts for UGA students. A limited number of tickets remain. For ticket availability, call the box office at 706-542-4400 or toll free at 888-289-8497.
The performance underwriter is an anonymous donor in honor of the auxiliary of Athens Regional Medical Center.