October 26, 2021

World Renowned Jazz Pianist Orrin Evans to Perform FREE Concert with WCU’s Criterions Jazz Ensemble November 5Orrin Evans

The West Chester University’s Wells School of Music proudly presents the Criterions Jazz Ensemble featuring world renowned jazz pianist Orrin Evans. The ensemble will perform with Evans on Friday, November 5, at 7:30 p.m., in the Madeleine Wing Adler Theatre, Swope Music Building and Performing Arts Center, 817 S. High Street, West Chester. Jonathan Ragonese directs. The concert is FREE and open to the public and can also be viewed via Livestream.

Philadelphia-based Orrin Evans is a jazz pianist, composer and bandleader. He has been categorized as a bebop player, and one of the “young lions” that emerged in the 1990s. He has recorded more than 25 albums as a leader and surrounds himself with some of the best players on the jazz scene including Nasheet Waits, Christian McBride, Oliver Lake, Kurt Rosenwinkel and others. Orrin Evans has recorded or toured with Sean Jones, Bobby Watson, Ralph Peterson, The Mingus Big Band, Conrad Herwig, Duane Eubanks, Steve Wilson, Roy Hargrove. He organizes and contributes compositions and arrangements to his big band, the Grammy Award-nominated Captain Black Big Band, and is the recipient of a 2010 Pew Fellowship.

For the November 5 concert, the 17 ensemble members will perform selections of Evans’s recordings with the Captain Black Big Band. Evans will rehearse with the ensemble leading up to the concert and perform alongside them that evening. He will also do a public Master Class at 11 a.m. in the Wells School of Music’s Ware Recital Hall on Monday, November 5. The Master Class is open to the public.

Director of the Criterions Jonathan Ragonese says, “Working and performing alongside a guest artist of Evans’s caliber is an outstanding opportunity for our jazz students to learn from a master.”

The Criterions is the longest running University jazz band in the country. Originating in the 1920s, they were a student-led ballroom dance band, and provided entertainment for University dances, proms and post-Friday night games. As times changed, the “Crites” became a Faculty-led Jazz Ensemble by the early 1980’s, when the School of Music began Jazz curricula. They are known for their mastery of American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century.

The Criterions Jazz Ensemble will also perform this season in the 100th Annual Holiday Program on Saturday, December 11, at 3 p.m., during the Wells School of Music Jazz Festival from March 23 – 26, and on Friday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m.

All faculty, staff, students, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask which covers their nose and mouth when indoors. Face masks may be worn when outdoors, but it is not an obligation of this policy notice. Mask and COVID-19 safety measures at West Chester University will continue to be updated here. Please check ahead for updated information before attending your performance.

West Chester University’s Wells School of Music is accredited with the National Association of Schools of Music, and offers programs in Music Performance, Education, Theory, History, Composition, Music with Elective Studies in an Outside Field, and Music Therapy. With state-of-the-art rehearsal and performing facilities and scholarship opportunities, students can perform in multiple ensembles, including band, vocal/choral, orchestra and more. Students study with renowned faculty who have dual careers as dedicated educators and professional musicians. Wells School of Music faculty and students perform more than 200 concerts annually.

Enrolling more than 17,000 students, West Chester University is the largest member of the 14-institution Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and is currently celebrating its 150th Anniversary year (www.wcupa.edu/wcu150/). Founded in 1871, the University is a comprehensive public institution, offering a diverse range of more than 200 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in more than 50 fields of study. In addition to West Chester, the University offers programs through its graduate center, Philadelphia, and online. Six colleges and two schools comprise the University: University College, Colleges of Arts and Humanities, Business and Public Management, Education and Social Work, Health Sciences, and the Sciences and Mathematics, as well as the Wells School of Music, and the Graduate School.


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