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Tuesday May 9, 2023

Trumpeter Chuck Lazarus and His All-Star Band Join the Minnesota Orchestra June 3 for “A Night in the Tropics”

Conducted by Sarah Hicks, principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, concert includes music from Brazil, Cuba and Hawaii

In early June, Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus will reprise his "A Night in the Tropics" program, an audience favorite that was last offered in 2016. Together with the full Orchestra, Lazarus will be joined onstage by his all-star band that includes Grammy Award-winners, former collaborators of Prince and other Minnesota- and world-renowned performers including pianist Tommy Barbarella, bassist Jeff Bailey, drummer David Schmalenberger and percussionist Daryl Boudreaux.

The program will be performed at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday, June 3, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $49 to $109.

Inspired by the evocative melodies and rhythms of Brazil, Cuba, Hawaii and other tropical locales with deep musical histories, the concert presents beloved classics and new arrangements, all under the baton of Sarah Hicks, principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall. The program opens with Songs for the Big Island, an original composition by Lazarus; among other works are a tribute to the legendary Brazilian composer and bossa nova artist Antônio Carlos Jobim, and Dos gardenias, a bolero written in 1945 by Cuban composer Isolina Carrillo that would gain international fame with its later recording by the supergroup Buena Vista Social Club.

Born in North Carolina and trained at the Juilliard School, Lazarus joined the Minnesota Orchestra’s trumpet section in 2000. As a soloist, composer and bandleader, he has created and starred in four original orchestral shows featuring his jazz ensemble: “A Night in the Tropics,” “American Riffs,” “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Our Love is Here to Stay.” This is the third program he has headlined at Orchestra Hall during the 2022-23 season, following a Merry & Bright concert in December as well as a series of American Riffs Young People’s in March that were also conducted by Sarah Hicks.


Sarah Hicks

Sarah Hicks is the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, a role in which she oversees planning for and conducts many concerts in the broad-spectrum series of popular music, jazz, Broadway classics and movie scores. She also conducted the Inside the Classics and Sam & Sarah series for ten seasons.

Hicks’ career has seen collaborations with a diverse range of artists, from Hilary Hahn and Dmitri Hvorostovsky to Rufus Wainwright, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson. She has been an artistic leader in concerts featuring artists from Minnesota’s internationally-renowned popular music scene—including shows with The New Standards, multiple sold-out performances with Dessa and a live-in-concert recording released on Doomtree Records, and collaborations with indie band Cloud Cult. A specialist in film music and the film in concert genre, she is passionate about creating concert experiences which combine sight and sound, and that welcome new audiences to the orchestral genre. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

Charles Lazarus

Trumpeter Charles Lazarus has charted a unique course during his tenure with the Orchestra as a soloist, composer and bandleader. In 2015, he premiered Steve Heitzeg’s trumpet concerto American Nomad, commissioned by Paul Grangaard. Lazarus’ composition A Perfect Square, paired with Michael Hall’s book of the same name, was composed for the FRIENDS of the Minnesota Orchestra Kinder Konzerts series and was made into a children’s animated short film.

Lazarus has been a member of several of the best-known brass ensembles in the world including Canadian Brass, Dallas Brass and Meridian Arts Ensemble, and has performed with Empire Brass, London Brass and the New York Philharmonic Principal Brass. During the 2021-22 season he joined community members and musicians in performances to support the Circle Rock Concerts for Community series benefitting mental health awareness, and in May 2021 he soloed with the Florida Orchestra in his “Fly Me to the Moon” program. His five solo recordings, Solo Settings, Zabava, Merry & Bright, Lovejoy and, most recently, 2021’s Merrier & Brighter, showcase his wide-ranging talent and feature collaborations with a wide range of composers, arrangers and performers, including members of the Minnesota Orchestra. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

Tommy Barbarella

Pianist and keyboardist Tommy Barbarella is best known for working extensively with Prince, and he arranged Purple Rain for the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2016 performance at the Minnesota Vikings home opener. He also composed Symphony of the North, an original work that was recorded by the Orchestra for a video production shown at Vikings home games that won the Best Show Open award at the 2022 Golden Matrix Awards. He has toured, recorded and performed with the likes of Art Garfunkel, Mavis Staples, Jonny Lang, Nick Jonas, Italian superstar Giorgia and local supergroup Greazy Meal, and he has contributed his talents to Hollywood features by directors such as Spike Lee, Robert Altman and Marc Forester.

Jeff Bailey

Bass player Jeff Bailey has performed in a wide variety of musical settings as a musician, composer, sound designer, producer and educator. He has performed with world-renowned artists and has composed original music and sound design for productions at the Guthrie Theater and Yellow Tree Theatre, among other companies, and is a professor of practice and director of the certificate in music production program at Hamline University. He is a founding member of the Twin Cities-based jazz fusion band Mississippi, whose third recording project is slated for release in early 2023, and also runs the Minnesota-based Lowe-Tone Studios. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

David Schmalenberger

Drummer David Schmalenberger recently performed with the Laura Caviani trio, the Bill Simenson Jazz Orchestra, Pat Frederick and Low Company, the Freier Department, The Steeles, Karrin Allyson, Marilyn Maye, Take That Back!, Cantus, Rebel Fiddle and DAT Trio. He also recently recorded with vocalist Connie Evingson, guitarist David Singley, trumpeter Charles Lazarus, the Laura Caviani trio with Chris Bates, Vicky Mountain and David Martin, Jerry Kosak and the Bill Simenson Jazz Orchestra (“Big Alpaca”). He is currently an adjunct faculty member at Carleton College, Augsburg University and Anoka-Ramsey Community College, and is active as a clinician offering workshops in jazz, percussion and world music. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

Daryl Boudreaux

Daryl Boudreaux is a percussionist, singer, songwriter and a member of the Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness. A Twin Cities Musicians Union (TCMU) member, he also serves as percussionist at Saint Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in Minneapolis. He began playing music in junior high school with classmate Prince Nelson (the artist formerly known as “Prince”) and later joined forces with Jimmy “Jam” Harris. He has performed with The Steeles, Bruce Henry, Jody Watley, T. Mychael Rambo, Ronnie Laws, Mint Condition, Ann Nesby, Parliament-Funkadelic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. More: minnesotaorchestra.org.

Live at Orchestra Hall


with Charles Lazarus and the Minnesota Orchestra


Saturday, June 3, 2023, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall


Minnesota Orchestra

Sarah Hicks, conductor

Charles Lazarus, trumpet

Tommy Barbarella, piano

Jeff Bailey, bass

David Schmalenberger, drums

Daryl Boudreaux, percussionist


Tickets: $49 to $109


Tickets and subscription packages can be purchased now at minnesotaorchestra.org or by calling 612-371-5656. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.


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