Gordon will perform his works with orchestra

Wycliffe Gordon's dates with Symphony Orchestra Augusta have him writing his first orchestral arrangements.

Symphony Orchestra Augusta's Pops! At The Bell concert series is again bringing immense musical talent to Augusta with its second concert of the season.


Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, one of the Augusta area's own, will perform with the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet in a holiday concert with the orchestra and Holiday Festival Chorus at Bell Auditorium on Dec. 3.

The concert will be repeated Dec. 4 at The Etherredge Center for Fine and Performing Arts at USC Aiken, presented by the Aiken Symphony Guild. The chorus, under the direction of Bill Hobbins, will sing Christmas classics.

The performances are Gordon's first with Symphony Orchestra Augusta and will include several of his original arrangements. The concert will feature jazz selections and holiday music, Gordon said.

"It's my first time actually writing for orchestra. To be given the opportunity to arrange something and have the premiere of the piece in my hometown is great. I look forward to working with the orchestra, and I hope this is the first of many collaborations to come," he said.

Gordon said he has always wanted to work with the local orchestra. He credits Maestro Shizuo "Z" Kuwahara, its music director and conductor, with bringing in music and performers, such as LeAnn Rimes, that people wouldn't often hear in Augusta, "if at all," he said.

"I'm really excited that we have a conductor that has a vision about keeping the orchestra in the mainstream consciousness of the arts community. I'm happy that Z is here to bring such a fresh vision to the orchestra, which will stay in touch with what we need to keep the orchestra alive and going. And that is to always have new patrons," Gordon said.

Born in Waynesboro, Ga., Gordon says he is looking forward to coming home to perform. He is in the process of moving back to Augusta.

Gordon has achieved success as a performer, conductor, composer, arranger and educator. His accolades include the Jazz Journalists Association's Award for Trombonist of the Year in 2008, 2007, 2006, 2002 and 2001. He received the Jazz Journalists Association Critics' Choice Award for Best Trombone in 2000.

Gordon also tours regularly with the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet and performs at jazz venues worldwide. He is a former veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and has been a featured guest artist on Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center series.

His latest album, Cone and T-Staff , was released in February.

He serves on the faculty of the Jazz Arts Program at the Manhattan School of Music. He is working on publishing all the music that he has written.

Kuwahara is also looking forward to the performances. "I have enjoyed this collaboration with Wycliffe and am eager to perform with him and the Quartet in these debut concerts in December," Kuwahara said in a release.

If you go

WHAT: Pops! At The Bell featuring Wycliffe Gordon Quartet with the Holiday Festival Chorus

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3

WHERE: Bell Auditorium

TICKETS: $20, $35 and $45; (706) 826-4705, www.soaugusta.org; tickets can also be purchased the evening of the concert starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Bell Auditorium box office. Full-time students and military personnel with valid ID can purchase $7 tickets that evening, based on availability.

WHAT: Home for the Holidays with Wycliffe Gordon

WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 4

WHERE: USC Aiken Etherredge Center, 471 University Parkway

TICKETS: (803) 641-3305