The University of North Texas College of Music gets raves for its classical music program. It gets as much acclaim, or more, for its world-class jazz studies program.
The college celebrates both on Sunday afternoon at its annual gala.
“Symphony Meets Jazz” will showcase the UNT Symphony Orchestra, A Cappella Choir and members of the UNT Jazz Singers and the internationally renowned UNT One O’clock Lab Band juggling sounds of symphony and of syncopation.
The annual gala is a performance and dinner for College of Music supporters. Past galas have featured vocal performance students and their professors as well as up-and-coming instrumentalists studying under the college’s considerable stable of faculty. The gala concert is always open for the public.
The man behind the concert is music faculty member Richard DeRosa, whose composing and arranging talents have buttressed music luminaries such as Norah Jones, John Legend, Annie Ross and Willie Nelson. Over the last 10 years, DeRosa has arranged and conducted music for Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra — the ensemble that featured the likes of Jones, Nelson and Legend.
DeRosa’s work has bridged generations. He came to UNT with music credits that are likely burned on the brains of daytime TV fans, thanks to the music cues he provided for soap operas Another World, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. He has recorded and toured with Jackie Cain and Roy Kral, Bob Brookmeyer, Gerry Mulligan and Susannah McCorkle.
James Scott, the dean of the College of Music, said the gala concert features DeRosa’s considerable skill. The professor — whose teaching resume includes the Juilliard School, among others — arranged a catalog of music for the student musicians who will perform in Winspear Hall on Sunday.
DeRosa’s arrangements of songs “Autumn in New York” and “Cherokee” reimagine familiar American standards as orchestral showpieces for both jazz and classical soloists.
He’s arranged the piece “One O’clock Jump” for a jazz quintet of members of the One O’clock Lab Band, and his “Tenderly/Autumn Leaves” medley features student violinist Leah Greenfield and Maestro David Itkin, conductor of the symphony, himself at the piano.
The A Cappella Choir and members of the Jazz Singers will join together with members of the One O’clock Lab Band for DeRosa’s take on Leonard Bernstein’s hit song “America” from West Side Story.
DeRosa’s semester is busy. In addition to preparing for the gala, DeRosa has also been arranging jazz pieces from the 1930s that will be used in the UNT Department of Dance and Theatre’s A Jazz Dream by guest director Maggie Harrer and Dallas Theatre Center scenic designer Bob Lavallee. The adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens on Nov. 1.
LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
SYMPHONY MEETS JAZZ
• What: Gala concert celebrating the UNT College of Music
• When: 4 p.m. Sunday, followed by an optional gala dinner
• Where: Winspear Hall at the Murchison Performing Arts Center, on the north side of I-35E at North Texas Boulevard
• Details: Concert-only tickets cost $25. Tickets for the concert and post-performance dinner cost $100. For reservations, call the box office at 940-369-7802 or visit www.thempac.com .
ON THE WEB
Can’t make the concert? The event will be streamed online live at http://recording.music.unt.edu/live .