As the Omaha Symphony begins is new season, an old favorite resounds while a new piece comes from a favorite performer.  Popular Pops star Matt Catingub returns here for the sixth time. The conductor, saxophonist, vocalist and arranger is again at the piano, but he also makes his local debut as composer in 2014’s “Three Shades of Blue, Concerto for Violin and Jazz Trio.” He wrote it to feature violinist Amy Schwartz-Moretti whose husband,  Cantigub regular drummer Steve, is also on hand.

Matt wrote and performed his own music for the George Clooney film, Goodnight and Good Luck, the soundtrack of which won a Grammy. He’s also penned plenty of arrangements for such stars as Kenny Loggins,  Boz Scaggs, the Righteous Brothers, Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Dave Koz, and Pat Benatar. Other credits: he’s performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Ruth Brown. the Louie Bellson and Toshiko Akiyoshi / Lew Tabackin big bands and eventually formed his own aggregation. He has a knack “for turning an orchestra into the biggest of big bands,” said the World Herald  about a performance last year playing “to the strengths” of Omaha musicians.

The concert also features Richard Strauss’s familiar charmer “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks” which celebrates and personifies the legendary tricky folk hero. “Were it food, it would be one of the most scrumptiously perfect souf­flés ever made,” observed Paul Thomason, citing “exquisite ingredients, all at the peak of their savoriness, in a dish that could delight both a child and the most jaded gourmand;” adding, “ it is no surprise the work has become such an audi­ence favorite.” 

Thomas Wilkins likewise conducts Antonin Dvořák’s 7th Symphony which delights in Slavic inspirations paired with intimations of tragedy.

Quite a kick-off with these three scores.

This Omaha Symphony concert is Sept. 22 & 23 at Kiewit Hall, Holland Center, 1200 Douglas St. Fri. & Sat.  7:30 p.m.  Tickets: $19-$70.

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