December 13, 2019 | Hill Auditorium

Behind The Music

Join your Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra in welcoming the holidays with some of the most beloved music of the season. Hill Auditorium will glow with the magical spirit of this cherished A2SO tradition. This year, we present Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. Enjoy this unique and imaginative jazz interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet. Hill Auditorium will ring with the vibrant colors of Ellington’s arrangement as the A2SO celebrates the holiday season. 


STEPHENSON Holiday Overture

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on “Greensleeves”

TCHAIKOVSKY Nutcracker Suite No. 1 Excerpts

Choral Selections Performed by MEASURE FOR MEASURE

Festive Sounds of Hanukkah arr. BILL HOLCOMBE

ANDERSON Sleighride

ELLINGTON Nutcracker Suite (After Tchaikovsky)

Selections From “Frozen” 

MILLER Let There Be Peace on Earth

Steven Jarvi, guest conductor


Measure for Measure

Huron High School Choir

Pioneer High School Choir

Skyline High School Choir

Duke Ellington & The Nutcracker

Fresh off a historic recording project for the Queen of England in 1959, the composing duo of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn embarked on a new project to reimagine the ballet score of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. The incredible imagination of Duke Ellington was no secret. With a background in the visual arts, Ellington’s compositions and arrangements are often praised for his vivid imagination resulting in unique orchestration and sonic colors. The Nutcracker Suite does not simply place jazz rhythms underneath the well-known themes from the Russian composer, it reimagines these themes. The result is a suite that can be heard as entirely Ellington’s while remaining firmly in the spirit of Tchaikovsky’s original work.

Further Listening

By The Numbers

Reindeer leading Santa's sleigh

First performance of Ellington's Nutcracker Suite

Musicians in Your A2SO