THE Maestro’s 120TH Birthday Celebration at the Duke Ellington monument, on Sunday, April 28, 2019, 1PM to 3PM, is a free all-Ellington theatrical music presentation at The Duke Ellington Monument, that stands majestically at the Frawley’s Circle in Central Park (corner of 110th Street and 5th Avenue), the Gateway to Harlem. Mercedes Ellington, producer, performer/choreographer, Ellington’s granddaughter is the Founder & Artistic Director of The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts (DECFA).
This Musical Tribute features The Duke Ellington Center Big Band led by Frank Owens with a special array of dancers, vocal stylists and the Tap City Youth Ensemble, a project of The American Tap Dance Foundation. Included will be many surprise productions.
There will also be a special performance of one of Ellington’s most beloved compositions, “Cottontail,” starring Marion Cowings with “Flopsy,” “Mopsy,” “Cottontail” and “Peter.
“Bobby Short so admired Ellington’s contributions that he dedicated 14 years to raise money through his Duke Ellington Memorial Fund, Inc. and commissioned renowned sculptor Robert Graham to design and commemorate the monument in his honor,” says Ms. Ellington. “I founded the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts in 2004 to ensure that Ellington’s musical legacy and heritage would remain intact. The term ‘beyond category,’ which Ellington used to define excellence – will live on. Along with the great work of Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center, we are dedicated to make the Ellington legacy continually meaningful and available to new generations of musicians and music lovers everywhere.”