Ellington’s Nutcracker & The Ballad of the Brown King - Akron Symphony Orchestra
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Ellington’s Nutcracker & The Ballad of the Brown King

November 12 at 7:30 pm

Enjoy an exciting twist to a classic holiday favorite and welcome a special guest, Akron-born Louise Toppin.

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Ellington’s Nutcracker & The Ballad of the Brown King


November 12
7:30 pm
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E.J. Thomas Hall
198 Hill Street
Akron, OH 44325 United States
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Margaret Bonds and Langston Hughes tell the Christmas story through the person of Balthazar, the Black member of the Three Kings. Akron’s Julia Perry, who began her career in Europe, sets the mystical writings of Catherine of Siena, a beloved figure in the history of Italian literature. Respighi remakes toe-tapping music of the Italian Renaissance into modern miniatures with cinematic brilliance. And Duke Ellington takes five of the best known dances from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and dresses them up in top hat and tails. All four works are vibrant updates, “handshakes across the centuries.”

The best way not to miss a note is to become a season subscriber. Subscriptions for the 22-23 Season are now on sale. Patrons who subscribe enjoy steep discounts on a full season of concerts, guaranteed seats, a 10 percent discount on additional single ticket purchases, and a flexible ticket exchange program. 

Subscription packages for the full season start as low as $112, with Flex Subscriptions starting at $64. (Click here to explore our subscription options.)

Christopher Wilkins, conductor
Louise Toppinsoprano
Frank Ward, baritone
Akron Symphony Chorus
Members of Gospel Meets Symphony Choir

Ottorino Respighi Ancient Airs and Dances No. 2
Margaret Bonds The Ballad of the Brown King (A Christmas Cantata)
Julia Perry Fragments from the Letters of Saint Catherine
Duke Ellington Nutcracker Suite (after Tchaikovsky)

Listen to a preview on Spotify.

All concerts take place at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, located on the campus of The University of Akron. Per guidelines set by The University of Akron, masks are optional for all patrons attending concerts at EJ Thomas Hall.

Single tickets go on sale August 1.



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