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“Duke Ellington: le visioni sinfoniche di un Duca del jazz” (“The Duke of Jazz and His Symphonic Visions”). Lecture by Luca Bragalini in Prato, Italy.

Musicologist and jazz expert Luca Bragalini, the author of Dalla Scala a Harlem. I sogni sinfonici di Duke Ellington (From La Scala to Harlem: Duke Ellington’s Symphonic Visions; Turin: EDT, 2018) offers a lecture that is a journey through Duke Ellington’s symphonic works.

Jazz composer, pianist, jazz orchestra leader, and symphonic orchestra conductor, Duke Ellington (1899-1974) also composed some symphonic works of great complexity. The lecture travels in time and space: It explores Harlem as well as the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, sheds light on a symphonic ballet, The River, that is also a metaphorical representation, and investigates a symphonic poem, Night Creature, up to the discovery of the Duke's last symphonic work, the ballet Three Black Kings depicting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a Black King in a triptych, along with Biblical figures. References to African American religious culture, art history and social history will expand the lecture’s outreach far beyond music.

For MetJazz 2020, the event is sponsored by Camerata strumentale “Città di Prato” in collaboration with ICAMus. Sala delle Colonne of the Scuola di Musica “G. Verdi” in Prato, Italy, Sunday February 23, 2020 at 11:00am. Open to the public, with free admission.

In the photo below: Duke Ellington during the recording session of his symphonic work La Scala at the Studio Zanibelli, Milan, Italy, February 21, 1963; © Archivio Giancolombo; reproduced by permission.

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The February 23, 2020 event in Prato inaugurates a groundbreaking 2020-2021 ICAMus international project with Luca Bragalini on Ellington’s symphonic works; initiatives in the United States and in Europe.

The lecture is presented in conjunction with and as an introduction to the February 27, 2020 concert, co-produced by Camerata strumentale “Città di Prato” and MetJazz, that concludes the 2020 jazz festival in Prato with a performance of Ellington’s symphonic score The River.

In the photo below: Page on the February 23, 2020 event in Prato in the MetJazz 2020 program booklet.

Read and download the page (PDF).

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As ICAMus is working on the international 2020-2021 Ellington events with Luca Bragalini, the Center has completed the English edition of Professor Bragalini’s volume, Dalla Scala a Harlem. I sogni sinfonici di Duke Ellington (literary translation of the Italian title: From La Scala to Harlem: Duke Ellington’s Symphonic Visions) that is currently undergoing a peer review process and about to be submitted to major American publishers. Translated by Brent Waterhouse, the English edition (working title: Duke Ellington’s Symphonic Visions: Solving the Mystery) has been revised under the supervision of Aloma Bardi, in close collaboration with the author.

Luca Bragalini’s photo: © Leonardo-Schiavone 2019 - www.leonardoschiavone.com



LUCA BRAGALINI holds the first teaching position in History of Jazz ever obtained by a musicologist in an Italian music conservatory. He is Professor of History and Analysis of Jazz at the Music Conservatory of L'Aquila, and also teaches courses at the Conservatories of Brescia, Trento and Milan. He has discovered unpublished works by Duke Ellington, Chet Baker and Luciano Chailly; some of them he has had premièred and recorded. A published author and lecturer, Professor Bragalini represented Italy in a number of international conferences. He was Distinguished Scholar at Reed College (Portland, OR) where he offered a series of lectures on Ellington.


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Luca Bragalini’s Duke Ellington’s Symphonic Visions—published in Italy in 2018 with an accompanying CD of première recordings and featuring previously unpublished archival photos, all contents discovered by Bragalini—is the result of over ten years of research on Ellington’s symphonic music.

The Italian edition of this volume has been extremely well received, obtaining lavish praise in specialized periodicals, national newspapers and literary reviews. The “best musicological book of the year” according to Jazzit Awards 2018. “Musica Jazz”, the leading Italian periodical in the field since 1945, published an entire issue, including the cover, dedicated to Bragalini’s work; the issue was also inclusive of the CD The Symphonic Ellington. The magazine “Jazzit” dedicated an eight-page article to the book.

Find out more about Luca Bragalini’s book on Duke Ellington’s symphonic works, and order the volume from the publisher’s website.

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