Alexander String Quartet and Branford Marsalis
- Friday, Sept. 26, 2008, 7:30 p.m.
- Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive, KU campus, Lawrence
- Cost: $18 - $35
- Age limit: All ages
The Lied Center of Kansas, CornerBank and The Eldridge present Branford Marsalis and Alexander String Quartet to perform, among other works, StanGetz' legendary arrangement for strings and saxophone, Focus.Celebrated for its extraordinary interpretations of incredible classical composers like Beethoven, Mozart and Shostakovich, Alexander String Quartet will explore pairing classical and jazz music conventions with three-time Grammy Award-winner Branford Marsalis on saxophone to perform a traditional meets improvisational program that includes Eddie Sauter's significant work, Focus; a 1961 composition written for jazz musician Stan Getz.Focus, in particular, capitalizes on the classical tradition of Alexander String Quartet contrasted against the jazz spontaneity of Bradford Marsalis. Commissioned by Getz to demonstrate how classical structure and the soul of the modern era are both legitimate and beautiful when brought together, Focus features Bela BartÃ³k inspired harmonies, textures and melodic string quartet jazz material matched with improvisational saxophone music.Founded in New York City in 1981, Alexander String Quartet's members include Zakarias Grafilo, violin, Frederick Lifsitz, violin, Paul Yarbrough, viola and Sandy Wilson, cello. Becoming the first string quartet to win the Concert Arts Guild Competition in 1982, Alexander String Quartet garneredinternational acclaim by becoming the first and only American quartet to win the London International String Quartet Competition, receiving both the jury's highest award and the Audience Prize in 1985.Branford Marsalis, the oldest of the musically gifted Marsalis brothers, began his professional career in the early 1980s playing with Art Blakey's big band, Clark Terry, and Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Branford then joined his brother Wynton's quintet before forming his own ensemble. He has been musical director of the Tonight Show Band and has performed and recorded with a number of jazz champions including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins.Branford Marsalis and Alexander String Quartet's performance is one of several jazz/classical-themed presentations in the Lied Center 2008-09 season including Metta Quintet, Imani Winds and Calder Quartet still to come.