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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

The "Kalamazoo Suite," a new orchestral work by Branford Marsalis, to be premiered by the KSO

Branford Marsalis
Eric Ryan Anderson
Branford Marsalis

The "Kalamazoo Suite" by Branford Marsalis gets its world premiere at 7:30 pm on Saturday, Mar 23 at Miller Auditorium in a concert by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. Music director Julian Kuerti will lead the concert, which also includes the Symphony No. 5 by Shostakovich, and Ravel's Concerto for the Left Hand, performed by guest soloist Yekwon Sunwoo, gold medalist of the Van Cliburn Competition.

Marsalis, whose career as a saxophonist and composer encompasses the jazz, classical, and pop worlds, joins Cara Lieurance and Kuerti to talk about the new work.

Marsalis doesn't consider himself to be a full-time classical composer, but says "I don't have the struggles that a lot of non-classical musicians who write for orchestra have, because I've been listening to classical music virtually my whole life." When describing his approach to putting music on the page, he describes himself as "melody-centric, in an era full of super-harmonized and systematized music."

Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.