Conductor Jason Ikeem Rodgers, working to build musical bridges

Posted on: October 15, 2021

“Not many dudes these days think Ludwig van Beethoven’s their dude,” writes Jonathan Shipley in Wednesday’s (10/13) ArtsATL (Atlanta), in a profile of “Jason Ikeem Rodgers, founder and music director of Orchestra Noir, Atlanta’s African American orchestra…. Since he was 11 years old, growing up in the projects of Philadelphia, Beethoven has been Rodgers’ dude…. For a Black kid, growing up in Meek Mill’s rough neighborhood—a kid who listened to all the latest hip-hop and R&B tracks—Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor for solo piano, composed by a curmudgeonly deaf German who has been dead for nearly 200 years, changed the kid’s life forever. That kid grew up and is now a maestro. Rodgers founded Orchestra Noir in 2016. They’ll be performing the tunes he grew up with, with an orchestral twist, on October 15 at Center Stage. ‘90s Vibe: The Best of Hip Hop and R&B’ promises to showcase what Rodgers’ mission has always been: to celebrate the cultural achievements of African American music pioneers across all genres of music, including classical…. ‘I am exposing people who would only normally listen to classical to hip-hop and R&B and people who would normally only listen to hip-hop and R&B to classical,’ he says.’ ”