Jazz and pop merge in Eastman’s 2019-20 Kodak Hall Series 

Pianist Jon Batiste (October 5), soprano Hila Plitmann (November 8), and vocalist-arranger Bobby McFerrin (March 4) are featured artists in Eastman School of Music's 2019-20 Kodak Hall Series. - LEFT PHOTO PROVIDED; CENTER PHOTO BY MARC ROYCE; RIGHT PHOTO BY CAROL FRIEDMAN
  • LEFT PHOTO PROVIDED; CENTER PHOTO BY MARC ROYCE; RIGHT PHOTO BY CAROL FRIEDMAN
  • Pianist Jon Batiste (October 5), soprano Hila Plitmann (November 8), and vocalist-arranger Bobby McFerrin (March 4) are featured artists in Eastman School of Music's 2019-20 Kodak Hall Series.
There’s plenty to like about the roster of headlining talent coming to Eastman Theatre in the 2019-20 season, as part of Eastman School of Music’s Kodak Hall Series. The lineup features iconic artists Wynton Marsalis and Bobby McFerrin — who have been winning audiences over to jazz and vocal music, respectively, for decades — as well as TV-film composer Jeff Beal and jazz pianist Jon Batiste, who are poised to shape the future of popular music for years to come.

Batiste opens the series on October 5. The gifted jazz pianist and vocalist vaulted into the national spotlight in 2015 when he and his group Stay Human became the house band for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” As evidenced on his 2018 album “Hollywood Africans,” the Juilliard-trained Batiste is quietly charismatic, with virtuosic facility on the keys and a stylistic flexibility that finds him equally at home in the worlds of classical, blues, soul, and pop. jonbatiste.com.

At this point, Wynton Marsalis is a certified national treasure, and on October 30, he and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will be making their way to Rochester with their signature brand of cool jazz classicism and crowd-pleasing solos. wyntonmarsalis.org; jalc.org.

On November 8, a different sort of big band arrives, when conductor Leonard Slatkin leads an orchestral performance of the music of Grammy-winning composer Jeff Beal. With a vigorous, percussive style and hypnotic melodic fragments, Beal has written iconic themes for the blockbuster show “House of Cards,” as well as the art biopic “Pollock” and the documentary “Blackfish.” The concert will also include a performance from contemporary classical soprano Hila Plitmann, a fellow Grammy winner who will sing the composer’s new song cycle “The Paper Lined Shack.” jeffbeal.com; leonardslatkin.com; hilaplitmann.com.

The series concludes on March 4, 2020 with acclaimed jazz vocalist and arranger Bobby McFerrin. The 10-time Grammy-winning musician behind the hit song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” will be joined by Gimme5 and vocalists David Worm and Joey Blake for “Circlesongs,” a series of soulful improvisations featuring call-and-response and sung in McFerrin’s singular style. bobbymcferrin.com.

Ticket subscriptions for the Kodak Hall Series and other Eastman Presents series can be found at the Eastman Theatre box office, 274-3000. Single tickets for the Kodak Hall Series go on sale on Tuesday, September 5. Additional concert information can be found at esm.rochester.edu/theatre.
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