Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra Announces 25th Season

Showcasing Jazz Innovations in Museum's New Performance Space

Sep 09, 2015, 10:17 ET from Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO), the big band-in-residence of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a season of "Jazz Innovations" October 2015–July 2016 in the museum's new performance space in the just-opened Innovation Wing. Led by conductor and artistic director, Charlie Young, the SJMO brings together the museum's extensive jazz collections, rich and current research and original instruments to make America's jazz legacy come alive in concert.

The 2015–2016 season will present a series of five concerts that will use the musical compositions, instruments and archives housed in the museum to explore a theme of "Jazz Innovations," or how American jazz icons explored and experimented with new ideas in composition, sound and instrumentation.

Concerts will be held in the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza against the backdrop of the museum's dramatic new Innovation Wing. New this year, the SJMO will host concerts in a unique and intimate cabaret-style setting featuring prime table seating, encircled by four rows of standard seating, allowing audiences to have an up-close and engaged experience. All table seats include a complimentary glass of wine; additional food and drink will be available for purchase.

A five-concert season pass for standard and table seating will be available at a special discounted rate until Oct. 17. All tickets and season passes are on sale now on the Smithsonian Jazz website: A list of the 2015 fall concerts follows:

Afro-Cuban Jazz: Back in Full Swing
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 16 and 17; 7:30 p.m.

To kick off the new season "in full swing," the SJMO big band will spend two evenings celebrating the unique sound and development of Afro-Cuban jazz.

Sinatra: His Way
Friday, Dec. 4; 7:30 p.m.

Just in time for the holidays, the SJMO will feature the songbook of the legendary icon, Frank Sinatra (1915–98), with "nothing but the best" to commemorate his centennial.

"By exploring jazz as an art form and means of entertainment, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra promotes a greater appreciation for jazz as an American treasure," said Young.

The SJMO was founded in 1990 with an appropriation from the U.S. Congress in recognition of the importance of jazz in American culture and its status as a national treasure. At its largest, a 17-member big band, or in smaller iterations, including a quintet and small group, concerts feature transcribed works, new arrangements, commissioned works and programs that illuminate the work of jazz masters who contributed to the development of American jazz and defined the music's character.

"Through world-class collections, scholarship, concerts, exhibitions and programs, the SJMO explores the American experience through the transformative power of jazz," said Ken Kimery, the orchestra's executive director. "Smithsonian Jazz stewards this music as an important bridge between our national identity, our shared history and our communities."

The National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. For more information, visit The museum is located on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.


SOURCE Smithsonian's National Museum of American History