Pianist Phillip K. Jones II, a Cleveland State University alumnus, will lead a centennial birthday tribute concert in honor of acclaimed composer Billy Strayhorn at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 19, in CSU’s Drinko Recital Hall, 2001 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland.
The performance is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the concert, which is made possible with support from the CSU College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Dean’s Office and the CSU Department of Music.
Jones holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin College Conservatory and a Masters in Music from CSU. This incredibly versatile musician is comfortable performing works from a wide range of musical genres. His teachers have included Rodney Hubbard, Joe Hunter, Jackie Warren, Drene Ivy and Lafayette Carthon.
William “Billy” Strayhorn (1915–1967) achieved international recognition as one of the greatest American-born composers and pianists of the 20th century. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Strayhorn spent most of his formative years in Pittsburgh, where he attended public schools, studied privately and distinguished himself as a gifted keyboard artist. Many remember Strayhorn as Duke Ellington’s trusted colleague, a member of the Ellington Orchestra and the composer of many of the group’s signature works, including “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Satin Doll.” However, less is known about his professional activities prior to the Ellington collaborations, his recordings with other artists and his solo works.
This concert and other programs during the Strayhorn centennial year will shed new light on the entire career of this brilliant American artist.