Bluesy piano, wailing clarinets: no composers defined a city like Duke Ellington and George Gershwin defined Manhattan. Tonight they come to you in full symphonic sound, as the RSNO joins forces with pianist Makoto Ozone and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in a special arrangement of Gershwin’s intoxicating Rhapsody in Blue, before flying to San Francisco in a classic Hitchcock film score and prowling the urban jungle of West Side Story. Big cities, big tunes – and you’d better believe it’s going to swing.
Repertoire includesEllington - Black and Tan Fantasy Grieg arr. Ellington - Morning Mood from Peer Gynt Suite Bernstein arr. Florian Ross - West Side Story Suite Gershwin arr. Tommy Smith - Rhapsody in Blue (Extended Version) Herrmann - Suite from Vertigo Bernstein - Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
SoloistsMakoto Ozone - Piano Scottish National Jazz Orchestra
Conductor Bertie Baigent
Described as ‘a force to be reckoned with’ (Opera Magazine), Bertie Baigent’s twin disciplines of conducting and composition give him a fresh, distinctive approach to creating and performing music. In June 2022 he won the Grand Prix, Classical Prize, and Symphonic Prize at the International Conducting Competition Rotterdam, working with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. He has also been Music Director of Waterperry Opera Festival since 2017, and is Assistant Conductor with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Recent collaborations include concerts with the New Japan Philharmonic, St Louis Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino, and in the 2021/22 season he will also conduct the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, and NHK Symphony Orchestra. Baigent was recently awarded prizes in the competitions of Tokyo and Turin, along with immediate invitations for return engagements.
Baigent’s compositions have been widely performed internationally, and he has been awarded commissions and prizes by institutions including the Royal Philharmonic Society, the BBC, and the National Centre for Early Music. His works have been performed in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Washington National Cathedral, and the Britten Studio by ensembles including the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Aurora Orchestra, and the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral. He is currently collaborating with the director and playwright Joseph Winters on an operatic adaption of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which will be premiered in 2022.
Baigent trained as a cellist, pianist, and organist, before reading music at the University of Cambridge, graduating with a double first in 2016. Subsequently he studied conducting with Sian Edwards and composition with Patrick Nunn at the Royal Academy of Music where he graduated with distinction and the DipRAM award in 2018, also winning the the Ernest Read Prize and the Sir Henry Wood Scholarship.
Piano Makoto Ozone
Makoto Ozone is a unique force in both jazz and classical music, blending sound worlds and a host of influences into his performances. Born in Kobe, Japan, he was self-taught in jazz, under his father’s guidance, first on the organ, then piano. He first came to public attention when he gave his solo recital at the Carnegie Hall in 1983, following his graduation from Berklee College of Music. Ozone then became the first Japanese artist to sign an exclusive contract with CBS and released his first album, Ozone, a year after his Carnegie debut.
His stellar career in jazz, which earned him a Grammy nomination in 2003, has brought him regularly to the forefront of the international jazz scene, recording and touring with musicians such as Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Paquito D’Rivera, Anna Maria Jopek, Branford Marsalis, and others. In 2004, he formed his own big band in Japan, “No Name Horses” which has regularly toured to Europe, North America and Asia since its creation. In more recent years, Ozone has expanded into classical repertoire, alongside his jazz engagements. Having first performed Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue in 1996, he now performs concertos by Mozart, Bernstein, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov with major orchestras. Alongside his performing schedule, Ozone composes music, with over 300 pieces to his name, many for ‘No Name Horses’, as well as a symphony and piano concerto.
In 2014, Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic invited Ozone to join their Asian tour. Following this, he performed with the orchestra at the Lincoln Center, New York, in 2014 and again in 2017, from which a recording ‘Beyond Borders’ with performances of Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue and Bernstein The Age of Anxiety was released. He has collaborated with a prestigious list of conductors including François-Xavier Roth, Marin Alsop, Alan Gilbert, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Lahav Shani, Thomas Zehetmair and Charles Dutoit and orchestras including San Francisco Symphony, Sao Paulo Symphony, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, as well as many orchestras in Japan, such as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra and Sapporo Symphony.
Recent highlights include Ozone’s debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France / Lahav Shani, Detroit Symphony Orchestra / Leonard Slatkin and Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra / Christian Arming. This season, Ozone will perform with Stuttgarter Philharmoniker / Dan Ettinger, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony / Alan Gilbert, as well as performing with his jazz trio in New York and Toronto.
Makoto Ozone has an extensive discography, releasing over 30 albums under his name and as a composer in solo, duo and trio settings, as well as performing as a collaborator on many others. His many awards include the Kinokuniya Theatre Award (2000), Kobe City Culture Award (2005), Fumio Nanri Prize (2007), Hyogo Prefecture Culture Award (2009), Art Encouragement of Education, Culture, Sports, Science Minister’s Prize (2014). In 2018, Ozone received the Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon by the Government of Japan. This is Japan’s highest award to individuals who have made significant contributions to the nation’s academic or cultural life.