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Such Sweet Thunder: A Listening Session

General Programming

dateFebruary 11, 2022 timeFriday, 7:00pm–8:15pm EST locationVirtual Event
  • Columbia University Office of the President
  • Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Core Curriculum
  • Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery
  • Miller Theater
  • The Center for Jazz Studies
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Album cover of Such Sweet Thunder featuring Duke Ellington in side profile and part of a review of the album

Renowned composers and instrumentalists Courtney Bryan and Nicole Mitchell will join Professor Brent Hayes Edwards for a live listening session featuring the Duke Ellington Orchestra's 1957 recording of Such Sweet Thunder, sharing some of their favorite sections of Ellington's suite and discussing some of the innovative ways Ellington and his collaborator Billy Strayhorn orchestrated their classic "tone parallel" to Shakespeare.

The four “sonnets” on Such Sweet Thunder have “fourteen-line” melodies. What does it mean to adapt sonnet form into musical structure? How can music reveal character? What is the relationship between music and the written text? The performative text? What is unique about Duke Ellington’s orchestration? Together, the panelists will help us listen better. Please find the program here.

Courtney Bryan, Tulane University
Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University
Nicole Mitchell, University of Pittsburgh

Pre-show performance with:

The Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program Students
Stephanie Chow (guitar), Andre Yan (sax), Paul Torres (bass)