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Celebrate a Cool Yule with CWU’s Jazz Nutcracker

When Tchaikovsky completed The Nutcracker in 1892, it’s likely he never dreamed it would be presented in a vastly different musical idiom. Less than a century later, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn rearranged the classical ballet score into the Jazz Nutcracker, which will be performed at Central Washington University at 7:00 p.m., December 13, in the Jerilyn S. McIntyre Music Building Concert Hall.

Performed by CWU’s award-winning Jazz Band I, directed by Chris Bruya and Norm Wallen, the concert will feature a collection of seasonal favorites done in a big band style, followed by the complete Ellington-Strayhorn Jazz Nutcracker.

The jazz arrangement was first performed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1960, and is considered one of the most ambitious tasks undertaken by Ellington and Strayhorn.

“Ellington and Strayhorn actually recomposed the ballet, creating music that is definitely jazz,” said Chris Bruya, CWU director of jazz studies. “What listeners will find is that the music is familiar, yet adds new and surprising twists to our expectations.”

Tickets are $7 for general admission and $5 for seniors, children, and CWU students w/ID. Tickets for the Jazz Nutcracker are available online at, by phone at 509-963-1429, or at the Wildcat Shop. Parking is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, excepted in specially designated spaces (handicapped, loading) or lots assigned to residence halls.

All proceeds from this concert will support ensemble travel and the CWU Jazz Scholarship Fund.

For more information call 509-963-1426.


Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

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