Zodiac Suite

By Mary Lou Williams
The United States Air Force Band
Col. Don Schofield, conductor
Aaron Diehl Trio
May 2024

ZODIAC SUITE
By Mary Lou Williams
The United States Air Force Band
Col. Don Schofield, conductor
Aaron Diehl Trio

In 1945, pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams finalized and first performed her tour de force orchestral Zodiac Suite, 12 pieces based on the astrological signs from Aries to Pisces, many dedicated to jazz greats of her era born under the signs, including Billie Holliday, Dizzy Gillespie, Ethel Waters, Thelonious Monk, Café Society owner Barney Josephson, and more. Williams debuted her celestial odyssey in a piano trio format, then arranged the work for chamber-jazz ensemble, and performed a recomposition with full orchestra at Carnegie Hall, yet the full suite was never performed during her lifetime. Pianist Aaron Diehl has devoted considerable energy to restoring Williams’s original orchestrations, first for the New York Philharmonic during pandemic lockdown, and then live with the Philadelphia Orchestra in spring 2023. Washington Performing Arts presents the Aaron Diehl Trio, The United States Air Force Band, and other works for a one-night concert event and D.C. premiere of Williams’s Zodiac Suite as she imagined it.

Venue and ticket information to be announced.

“One of the most celebrated early examples of jazz and classical music in active synthesis — and also, in celestial terms, one of the most star-crossed.”

WRTI Radio, Philadelphia

Our Partners

This performance is made possible through the generous support of the following sponsors: Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts and Galena-Yorktown Foundation.

Special thanks to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; and The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.

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