“The Devil Pulls the Strings Which Make Us Dance” 
- Baudelaire

It’s story time at Fortas Chamber Music Concerts at the Kennedy Center.

On Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 Fortas presents the Gateways Chamber Players and narrator Phylicia Rashad in two cautionary tales on what happens when you try to get something for nothing by means of a deal with the devil.

An all-star ensemble performs Igor Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale Suite from 1918 and Wynton Marsalis’s 1998 A Fiddler’s Tale. Both involve the devil and a violin. Spoiler alert: the devil always wins.

Stravinsky’s piece about a returning soldier who sells his violin and soul to the devil, is an avant-garde blending of many musical idioms, including the pasodoble, tango, waltz, ragtime, Klezmer, Martin Luther’s A Mighty Fortress is our God and even Bach.

80 years later, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, in a joint project with Jazz at Lincoln Center, commissioned Wynton Marsalis to write an update on Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale. Marsalis recounts the story of a young woman, Beatrice Conners, who wants to be a superstar fiddler. With a little help from Bubba Z. Beals, aka BZB, she rises to the top of her profession, but still feels unfulfilled. Like Stravinsky’s music, The Fiddler’s Tale features an eclectic score, blending jazz, tango, blues, ragtime, and waltzes.

Performed by members of the Gateways Chamber Players, this special ensemble includes musicians from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Imani Winds, The Phoenix Symphony, and more.


The Soldier’s Tale Suite

A Fiddler’s Tale

Damien Sneed, conductor
Phylicia Rashad, guest artist, narrator
Alexander Laing, clarinet (The Phoenix Symphony)
Monica Ellis, bassoon (Imani Winds)
Billy Hunter, trumpet (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)
Weston Sprott, trombone (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)
Wesley Sumpter, percussion (LA Phil)
Tai Murray, violin (Yale School of Music)
Patricia Silva Weitzel, double bass (Des Moines Symphony)

Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m.

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