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Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Classics & Jazz

January 13 @ 7:30 pm EST

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Experience rhythmic elegance at our Classics & Jazz concert on January 13th. Under the baton of guest conductor Damien Sneed, we’ll explore the rich tapestry of African American orchestral music. Featuring clarinetist Mebrakh Haughton-Johnson and jazz pianist Jason Flowers, the concert bridges the soulful depths of spirituals with the vibrant energy of jazz. From the historic compositions of Florence Price and Margaret Bonds to a rousing tribute to Duke Ellington, it’s a celebration of musical legacy not to be missed!

This concert features some of the most beautiful American orchestral compositions created by African Americans. The first part of the program incorporates two well-known African American female composers, Florence Price (1887 – 1953) and Margaret Bonds (1913 – 1972), honoring the American musical art form created by the enslaved, the spiritual. Price’s Colonial Dance (unknown) reflects dance, which was an integral part of African American life and American life more generally around the time she composed it. And Price’s Concert Overture No. 1 (unknown) is based on the spiritual Sinner, Please Don’t Let This Harvest Pass. Bond’s Montgomery Variations (1964) is a symphonic theme and variations in 7 movements based on the spiritual I Want Jesus To Walk With Me. The second half of the program highlights the indigenous American musical genre, jazz featuring music by James P. Johnson (1894 – 1955), William Grant Still (1895 – 1978), David Baker (1931 – 2016), Duke Ellington (1899 – 1974) and the guest conductor, Damien Sneed (1979 – present). Yamekraw (1927), originally composed by highly influential jazz and stride pianist James P. Johnson, was later orchestrated by William Grant Still, “Dean of African-American Composers,” for a Carnegie Hall Concert. Baker’s Jazz Suite for Clarinet and Orchestra: Three Ethnic Dances (1993) is a brilliant fusion of jazz and classical music reminiscent of a stellar film score. And finally, the world premiere of Sneed’s A Symphonic Homage to The Duke (2024) will end the evening in a sizzling tribute to one of America’s greatest composers, Duke Ellington.

We are excited to collaborate with The Brianna Fund for Children with Physical Disabilities, offering a two-weekend MLK celebration experience. The festivities begin on January 13 with our “Classics and Jazz” concert, featuring guest conductor Damien Sneed and guest artists Mebrakh Haughton-Johnson and Jason Flowers. The celebration continues on January 20 at St. John’s Congregational Church for the 2024 Gospel Concert, honoring the mission of the Brianna Fund. Join us for these exceptional events, celebrating hope, flight, and freedom.

Details about the Brianna Fund are available at

Go online or contact the Box Office to purchase your tickets today!


January 13
7:30 pm EST


Symphony Hall
34 Court Street
Springfield, MA 01103
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