Posted March 16, 2010

Fourth stream reaches mainstream with world premiere of ‘La Banda’


Bill Cunliffe's dream is coming true. The former professor at the Boyer College of Music and Dance is teaming up with Temple once again as the Temple University Symphony Orchestra becomes the first to perform his composition “fourth stream ... La Banda.”

“I had a dream that this big artillery of musicians was playing this piece I wrote and I was sitting in the audience,” said Cunliffe, composer, arranger and jazz pianist.  “I'm very grateful to everyone at Temple. It's been a great experience.”

“La Banda,” a 16-minute original piece, combines the elements of classical, jazz and world Latin percussion. While the work isn't Cunliffe's first composition, it is his first true collaboration with Temple.

Trumpeter Terrell Stafford, director of Jazz Studies at Boyer, approached Cunliffe about composing something for the Symphony to play. What Cunliffe came up with — “La Banda” — features music in the salsa vein that's integrated firmly with classical music and the symphony orchestra. The premiere on Sunday, March 21st, at the Ninth Annual Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts concert will also feature the music of famed jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, and his son, Chris.

“If it wasn't for Dave Brubeck, I wouldn't be doing what I am doing because he was one of my first loves,” said Cunliffe. “He paved the way for all of us. He's a very important musician.”

The Philadelphia premiere of “La Banda” will be followed by a performance next month at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. For information about the concerts, visit the Boyer College of Music and Dance website.