The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

January 10, 2014

Norman Philharmonic to pair Beethoven with Basie

NORMAN — It won’t be a matter of ‘roll over Beethoven’ at Norman Philharmonic’s first performance in 2014 on Jan. 19.

The cat named Ludwig’s 18th century classical grooves will be performed in the same concert as tributes to modern jazz heroes Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong and Charlie “Bird” Parker.

“We’re trying to approach orchestral music in a little different way than a lot of symphonies and chamber orchestras in the U.S.,” Norman Phil Music and Artistic Director Richard Zielinski said. “We intend to produce a variety of music. You won’t hear a whole concert of Mozart.”

Zielinski said Norman’s 3-year-old philharmonic’s upcoming concert will include a variety of classical music as well as American music, such as work composed by Aaron Copland, and a variety of jazz.

It’s not difficult to imagine that pairing a polka by Igor Stravinsky followed by Barry Switzer guest conducting the theme from movie “The Magnificent Seven” might raise eyebrows. But Zielinski is fearless that way and believes it’s just right for our diverse American culture.

“In the second half of the concert we’ll bring in the Oklahoma City Jazz Orchestra,” he said. “When the curtain opens you’ll see an old time jazz ensemble like Count Basie would have had, along with strings from Norman Philharmonic. You won’t find that in a lot of symphony concerts around the country.”

Zielinski likes to stir things up and what he’s learned is that Norman Philharmonic’s musicians dig the style and genre change-ups.

“Music is music to me and I’ve been told I’m very different from a lot of classical conductors,” he said. “There’s good jazz and good rock ‘n’ roll just like a lot of it is bad. You’ll find that in all kinds of music.”

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