Free Bridge Quintet

Tonight! A Centennial Tribute to Leonard Bernstein
April 6, 2018 - 8:00pm
Old Cabell Hall
$15 General / $13 UVa Faculty & Staff / $5 Students / Free for UVA Students who reserve in advance / Free for students under 18.

The Free Bridge Quintet, UVA’s Faculty Jazz Quintet, will present “TONIGHT!, A Centennial Tribute to Leonard Bernstein” on Friday, April 6 at 8:00 pm in Old Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia.  The Quintet will perform “Tonight”, “I Feel Pretty”, “Mambo From the Dance at the Gym”, “Maria”, “Lucky To Be Me”, and “Somewhere”, along with other Bernstein pieces.  The Free Bridge Quintet is celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday by interpreting his music through their own unique sound honed over twenty years of performing, recording, and arranging music together.

Hailed as "one of the most prodigally talented and successful musicians in American history" by The New York Times obituary, Bernstein became conductor of the New York City Symphony in his twenties, and began conducting orchestras from around the world, making his overseas debut with the Czech Philharmonic in Prague in 1946.  He continued performing as a concert pianist while his career as a conductor flourished.  With classical music still being seen as a European arena, Bernstein would become the first American conductor to lead dozens of European orchestras, including being the first American to conduct an opera at La Scala Opera House in Milan, where he also debuted with the La Scala Orchestra as conductor and piano soloist in 1950.
While ensconced in the world of classical music, Bernstein never felt above any aspect of American music.  As a teenager, he put together a jazz band, and was highly regarded for his jazz piano playing at parties.  As a student at Harvard, his thesis was  an assertion that jazz is the basis for American composition.  After college, he supported himself playing jazz piano in nightclubs while transcribing improvised solos of some of his favorite jazz players, including Coleman Hawkins. Indeed, Bernstein’s works abound with jazz influences and rhythms.  His score for clarinet solo and jazz ensemble, “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs” (1949), was a commission for Woody Herman’s jazz band.
Bernstein’s  “On the Town” (1944), one of the most successful musicals in Broadway and film history, produced a number of unforgettable songs that became enduring popular hits, while the melodies and jazz-inflected harmonies of “West Side Story” (1957) have provided inspiration for numerous jazz greats.  Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Buddy Rich, and Art Blakey are only a few of the jazz artists who have reinterpreted his works.

The Free Bridge Quintet is celebrating its twentieth anniversary season as UVA’s Faculty Jazz Quintet.  The group features Jeff Decker on saxophones, John D’earth on trumpet and flugelhorn, Butch Taylor on piano, Peter Spaar on bass, and Robert Jospé on drums. The quintet has been a staple of not only the UVA and Charlottesville jazz scene, but also the greater Central Virginia jazz scene for more than two decades. The Quintet, throughout its over forty concerts, is well known for its celebrations of the great figures of jazz history, but, equally known as a group that produces its own innovative works. 
Tickets are $15 General, $13 for UVA Faculty & Staff, $5 for Students and Free for UVA Students who reserve in advance. Tickets can be purchased at the Arts Box Office at or by calling 434.924.3376.
Old Cabell Hall is located on the south end of UVA's historic lawn, directly opposite the Rotunda. (map) Parking is available in the central grounds parking garage on Emmet Street, in the C1 parking lot off McCormick Rd, and in the parking lots at the UVA Corner.  Handicap parking is available in the small parking lot adjacent to Bryan Hall.
All programs are subject to change. For more information please call the McIntire Department of Music at 434.924.3052.
For tickets please visit or by call 434.924.3376.

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UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176