Ashworth’s well-known artistry ranges the gamut of music from classical to pop and jazz. He’s performed or recorded with greats ranging from Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Rosemary Clooney, The Temptations, Doc Severinsen, Bobby McFerrin and Al Jarreau to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, Sydney (Australia) Symphony Orchestra and Chicago’s Music of the Baroque – plus many more.
He can be heard on innumerable recordings and has appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” as well as the broadcast premiere of Keillor’s opera “Mr. And Mrs. Olsen.” A longtime professor of brass studies at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Ashworth has also been on the faculty of numerous international brass conferences, and has appeared as a clinician, soloist and adjudicator throughout the USA, in Australia and Europe.
Ashworth and MSO Founding Music Director/Conductor Les Marsden first began making music together 45 years ago while teens, as Principal Trombone and Principal Trumpet at C. L. McLane High School in Fresno, as well as in other local/regional orchestras including the Fresno Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. Both are alumni of McLane High and California State University, Fresno.
Decades after their student days, in 2004 Marsden composed his “Concerto Burlesco for Trombone and Orchestra” for Ashworth, who guest-appeared with the MSO in concerts in Mariposa, Merced and Oakhurst in performances of that work and others during the orchestra’s ensuing two seasons. .
After an absence of 12 years since their last collaboration, Marsden decided it was time to bring his old friend back to the Yosemite region for these two special concerts for the orchestra’s 16th season.
In addition to “Concerto Burlesco,” the MSO will be heard in one of the most famous and universally-loved pieces of music ever written: Antonín Dvořák’s 9th Symphony “From the New World.” 2018 marks the 125th Anniversary year of the 1893 premiere of Dvořák’s landmark symphony. The composer lived that year in Manhattan, as one of the most famous composers in the world, and prestigious Director of the new American Conservatory of Music.
The Czech composer was determined to show American composers how to write American concert music – lessons which serve as the basis of the “American sound” to this day. He drew upon African-American spirituals, Native American dance rhythms and songs, and folk music of the many immigrant populations from Europe to create all original material for his masterpiece. The “New World” symphony is especially known for the second movement ‘Largo’ – popularly known from the words later added by the composer – as “Goin’ Home.”
Dvořák’s close friend and mentor Johannes Brahms will be represented in the MSO concert by his “Tragic” Overture, providing contrast to Marsden’s “Concerto Burlesco.” Opening the concerts will be another recognizable piece: Franz von Suppé’s giddy Overture to “Light Cavalry” – a showpiece of rousing, galloping music often used in cartoons and popular entertainment from the golden age of film to the present day.
The Saturday, Apr. 14 concert will be held at 7 p.m. in the Fiester Auditorium at Mariposa County High School. Ticket prices are $10 Adults/$6 Students. MCACI members: $8 Adults/$5 Students.
The Sunday, Apr. 15 matinee concert in the Great Lounge of the Majestic Yosemite (Ahwahnee) Hotel in Yosemite National Park will begin at 2 p.m. That Yosemite concert is a free event with attendance first come, first seated. Donations are welcome.
The MSO has been offering annual spring concerts in Yosemite for a decade. Those concerts are made possible by the orchestra’s partnership with and the generous support of the National Park Service and Concessionaire Yosemite Hospitality – a Division of Aramark.
Tickets for the Mariposa Concert only may be securely purchased online from the Mariposa County Arts Council by visiting http://tinyurl.com/TicketMSO or by calling 209-966-3155 for more information.
The Mariposa Symphony Orchestra is a program of the Mariposa County Arts Council, Inc.
Visit the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra Marsden Marx Pages (Former career ended by disability): http://tinyurl.com/ygpj7og