The string section of an orchestra usually includes dozens of violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. For one night in November, the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra will add a ukulele for a special concerto.
“Jumpin'” Jim Beloff will be performing his piece Uke Can’t Be Serious: A Concerto for Ukulele and Symphony Orchestra along with the Michigan Phil at the Village Theater in Canton, Michigan, on November 12.
Beloff, an author, musician, composer, and all-around ukulele impresario, was commissioned by the Wallingford (CT) Symphony Orchestra to write a ukulele concerto in 1999. The result, Uke Can’t Be Serious: A Concerto for Ukulele and Symphony Orchestra, has been performed live by Beloff and company numerous times over the years. Not long ago, Beloff worked with Jason Nyberg to create a version using synthesized orchestration. The piece shows off the uke’s versatility, ranging from pensive passages to Tin Pan Alley-style pop to the instrument’s “My Dog Has Fleas” tuning.
Beloff’s performance will be a part of a larger program, featuring works by Aaron Copland, Richard Rodgers, Julia Perry, and Henry Cowell.
The Village Theater at Cherry Hill, Canton, Michigan
Henry Cowell Old American Country Set (1939)
Julia Perry Short Piece for Orchestra (1965)
Jim Beloff Uke Can’t Be Serious: A Concerto for Ukulele and Symphony Orchestra (1999)
Richard Rodgers Tribute to Richard Rodgers (MPYO side-by-side)
Aaron Copland Four Dance Episodes from “Rodeo” (1942)