For many years, they were regular highlights of every Berliner Philharmoniker season – but always fresh and surprising: the dance projects of the orchestra’s Education Programme which gained popularity worldwide through the feature film Rhythm Is It! In 2010, the orchestra and its chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle came up with something very special: a joint performance with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the legendary trumpet player Wynton Marsalis.
Wynton Marsalis wrote a new work especially for this project, entitled Swing Symphony, which takes us on a musical journey through the history of jazz – something Wynton Marsalis sees as inseparable from dance: “Jazz is dance music – and if you can’t dance to it, then it’s not jazz." That evening in the Berlin Treptow Arena, the young dancers under the direction of choreographer Rhys Martin showed very impressively just how perfectly Marsalis’s Swing Symphony fulfils these requirements.
“It was simply moving to see how these children and teenagers danced with such enthusiasm, joy and discipline, overcoming any inhibitions and shyness,” as the broadcaster Kulturradio reported. “It was also touching to see the pride in their eyes at the end, while the audience showed their appreciation with foot-stamping and standing ovations. Also to see the musicians of the Berliner Philharmoniker and of Wynton Marsalis’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra from New York – particularly the hardboiled, super cool jazz musicians – as they made their triumphant march through the arena at the end with childlike excitement and enjoyment."