Review: Arkansas Symphony premiere of D. J. Sparr’s “Katrina” concerto for jazz guitar

Posted on: April 11, 2016

“The Maumelle Performing Arts Center on Saturday night was as full as it’s been for an Arkansas Symphony Orchestra concert,” writes Eric E. Harrison in Sunday’s (4/10) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock). Jazz guitarist Ted Ludwig “has repeatedly proved that he is an ineffable treasure since his arrival in Little Rock in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina blew him out of New Orleans. Ludwig was soloing in the world premiere of D.J. Sparr’s Concerto for Jazz Guitar and Orchestra: Katrina,” led by led by Music Director Philip Mann. “The solo part is highly improvisatory … so … any future listeners, won’t ever hear it quite the same way as did the Saturday audience that … gave him a subsequent ovation … Ludwig’s playing was … a center of calm in the midst of an orchestral part through which Sparr tone-paints Ludwig’s own journey, from a clear but menacing day in New Orleans through the storm, its exceedingly eerie aftermath and finally Ludwig’s landing in Little Rock. The orchestra … provided waves of sound and some fun battery sound and visual effects (including three percussionists waving orange vuvuzelas in the midst of the noisy storm).”

Posted April 11, 2016