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ASO to feature South Africa's leading saxophonist at Valentine’s Day concert

Posted at 10:56 AM, Feb 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-13 11:56:16-05

LAFAYETTE, La. — According to Executive Director Dana Baker for Acadiana Symphony Orchestra (ASO), Acadiana Center for the Arts (ACA) will host the Symphony on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, at 7 pm to present Love, Sax & Tango – A Cultural Revolution. The Valentine’s Day event will incorporate a relatively new concept in classical music that challenges orchestral norms: saxophone as the focal point of the concert. Karèn Devroop, South Africa's leading saxophonist, will join the Symphony to perform a romantic collection of tango and other love songs composed by visionaries like Astor Piazzolla and George Gershwin, as well as the guest artist himself. Tickets are on sale now here.

Executive Director, Dana Baker, says Karén Devroop has not only played with most of South Africa’s top jazz and classical musicians, but all over the world as a soloist and lead alto saxophonist and has several live and studio recordings to his credit. As the founder and current director of the Unisa Big Band, as well as Artistic Director of the Unisa Jazz Festival, Karén has appeared as a side act for popular artists such as Cedar Walton, Earth Wind and Fire, Jill Scott, Chicago, and Queen Latifah. He released his new album Ancestral Home in December 2020, which has received streaming in over 40 countries, with two tracks peaking at #1 and #3 on the jazz charts in the USA.

Baker said, “Saxophone and the musical form of tango are both uncommon fixtures in the symphony. Though the instrument was originally designed to be used in classical music, this did not begin until the 19th century, due to the instrument’s relatively late invention in 1846. Further, the musical form of tango, which came to life on the streets, and in the red-light districts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, did not gain broader notoriety until it was elevated to some of the world’s most prestigious concert stages by 20th century composers like Astor Piazzolla.” She added, “Our Valentine’s Day concert will definitely be one of the most unique and special of the season!

Karén will participate in several community events in conjunction with the UL School of Music while he is visiting the City of Lafayette. These include a Jazz Master Class on Monday, February 13, 2023, at 10 am, in UL’s Angelle Hall, room 168; a guest lecture at the School of Music Recital Hour on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at 10 am, in the Angelle Hall Auditorium; and a concert with the UL Wind & UL Jazz Ensembles on Thursday, February 16, 7 pm, in the Angelle Hall Auditorium. The first two events are free and open to the public, no registration required. The concert is open to the public, and pricing varies. For full concert details, click here.

Turning Points is ASO's 38th concert series named for the dictionary term that describes an occurrence of significant change, ultimately affecting the future of people, places or things. Significant turning points of the past are emphasized as well as the collective arrival to another historical turning point. Each concert of the season is a reflection on these significant changes found throughout history, exploring the societal influences like music and film that created the impetus for change, Baker says.