Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra Announces Full Musician Roster

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts announces the completion of the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra.

A group of eighteen professional musicians have been selected from over 120 that auditioned at the downtown arts center in late February. Under the vision and leadership of artistic director Rodney Whitaker, the orchestra will give its first performance on April 21, 2017 as special guest to three-time Tony Award-winner Bernadette Peters as part of Morgan Stanley Moments at Dr. Phillips Center as previously announced.

Tickets for the performance are currently on sale. Tickets start at $35.00 and may be purchased online at drphillipscenter.org, by calling 844.513.2014 or by visiting the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office at 445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. Online and phone ticket purchases are subject to handling fees.

The group will make its debut solo performance with "Ellington for Lovers" in the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 8 p.m. "Duke Ellington's music embodies romance and the adult human situation. During his 50+ years of composing, his music touched on many different subjects, especially romance," said Rodney Whitaker, artistic director of the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra. "He wrote such pieces as, 'In a Sentimental Mood,' 'Do Nothin' Til You Hear from me,' 'I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,' 'All Too Soon,' and 'Sophisticated Lady,' just to name a few. His music has always set a mood for romance and even captures the essence of heartbreak."

Tickets for the performance go on sale to the public Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $35.00 and may be purchased online at drphillipscenter.org, by calling 844.513.2014 or by visiting the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office at 445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. Online and phone ticket purchases are subject to handling fees.

Rounding out the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra are the following players:

Trumpet:

Keaton Akins

John DePaola

Paul Chong-You

Scott Dickinson

Bobby Pickwood

Trombone:

Michael Dease

Frank Wosar

Corey Paul

Derrick Harris

Gina Benalcazar

Saxophone:

Tamara Danielsson

David MacKenzie

Dan Jordan

Diego Rivera

Scott Devlin

Rhythm:

John Lumpkin, percussion

Addison Frei, piano

James Zito, guitar

Based on the deep roots and importance of jazz history, the formation of Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra showcases the arts center's commitment to create and sustain its own professional jazz programming.

"When we announced the formation of the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra in January, we confirmed our commitment to jazz for Central Florida as well as the global arts community. Prior to the 2014 opening of the arts center, we embraced this music form and planned to develop it into a center of excellence. With this orchestra, we now look forward to contributing to the legacy of America's classic music with our extraordinary, talented jazz musicians led by the remarkable Rodney Whitaker," said Kathy Ramsberger, president and CEO of Dr. Phillips Center.

"We are so humbled by and grateful for the turnout of exceptional talent at our auditions earlier this year. We are excited to embark on this journey and proud to have found the best-of-the-best to represent this quintessential American art form with our very own in-house jazz orchestra," said Whitaker. "The performance of jazz now will be influenced by these musicians for generations to come."

Jazz is officially recognized as a National Treasure and a uniquely American art form of indigenous music. Often referred to as "America's classical music," jazz is one of North America's oldest and most celebrated musical genres. The history of jazz can be traced to its origins amongst African Americans in New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. From ragtime and blues to big band and bebop, jazz has been a part of a proud American music culture for more than 100 years.

Rodney Whitaker is an internationally-renowned bassist and Mack Avenue recording artist. He currently holds the title of Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University, where he has built one of the leading jazz degree programs and performing faculty in the United States. A proven and committed jazz educator, Whitaker has presented numerous master classes across the nation and is a member of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization operating the state-of-the-art performing arts center in downtown Orlando, Florida. With its opening in November 2014, the performing arts center launched its vision of Arts for Every Life by being a gathering place for creativity and discovery; a vibrant urban destination where artists, audiences and students come to experience, explore and learn. The two-block community destination features the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Seneff Arts Plaza, Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts, the DeVos Family Room, and other event rental spaces. Future expansion includes Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater, along with rehearsal, classroom, office space and commercial development spaces. Dr. Phillips Center is a private non-profit collaborating with the City of Orlando, Orange County, the State of Florida and generous donors.

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