Looking ahead to the start of June, and Nu Civilisation Orchestra will perform a selection of Duke Ellington’s compositions, including The Queen’s Suite inspired by his meeting with the Queen in 1958, as a prominent part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations at the Southbank Centre, London.
Led by gifted pianist, composer and NCO Musical Director Peter Edwards, the Orchestra will also present Edwards’ original piece Above and Beyond the Horizon.
On 18 October 1958, Duke Ellington was presented to Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at a private reception to mark the centenary of Leeds Festival. So inspired was Ellington by this meeting that he promised to compose a suite in honour of the Queen.
For 40 years, The Queen’s Suite, one of Ellington’s greatest and most beautiful works, was shrouded in mystery with the composer insisting only one copy of the recording be pressed and handed directly to the Royal household.
The piece remained hidden from the public until after Ellington’s death, before finally being premiered by the Bob Wilmer Orchestra in 1998.
The Nu Civilisation Orchestra will now reprise their 2009 performance of The Queen’s Suite as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations with Dr Gary Crosby OBE, recipient of the Queen’s medal for music and co-founder of Tomorrow’s Warriors, joining the orchestra on double bass for this special evening.