Music Department to host Jazz Night with jazz interpretations of a 17th century classic


Iowa State’s Jazz ONE ensemble will perform “The Nutcracker Suite” Wednesday night.

Jack Mcclellan

Iowa State’s department of music and theatre is hosting a jazz performance Wednesday night in Simon Estes Music Hall. The event is named “Jazz Night: The Nutcracker Suite.” The concert will be a direct transcription of “The Nutcracker Suite,” a famous album made by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. 

The concert will be performed by the Jazz ONE ensemble, one of the four jazz bands operated by the music department. The concert will begin at 7:30 the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall inside of the Simon Estes Music Hall.

The concert aims to recreate the of the original album released by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn in 1960. Performers will play the same songs in the exact spirit and tone as the original release.

“The Nutcracker Suite” is a jazz interpretation of of The Nutcracker, a 19th century ballet created by Russian composer, Pyotr llyich Tchaikovsky. The Nutcracker’s strong association with the holiday season is almost more apparent in Ellington and Strayhorn’s compositions, making this event the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

Narrating the concert will be concertmaster of ISU Symphony Orchestra, Olivia Helton. Helton, a senior majoring in interior design, will offer bits of historical context on “The Nutcracker Suite” and the adaptation from the original “Nutcracker” ballet. Helton will also be featured soloing along with the ensemble as a jazz violinist towards the end of the show.

Admission for the event is $5, and tickets will be available both at the door of the concert and in 149 Simon Estes Music Hall prior to the event. Seating is limited, so arriving early or purchasing tickets ahead of time is recommended.