Arts & Culture

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra in Concert: “Jazz Beyond Borders” in Chicago March 14 in partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago and featuring Hubert Laws

MCG Jazz is pleased to announce a special engagement featuring The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO), the 19-piece big band orchestra in-residence at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, in Chicago, IL,  on Thursday, March 14, 2019. In partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the performance will take place at the Studebaker Theater, 
410 S. Michigan Ave, at 7:30PM.

NEA Jazz Master and internationally renowned flutist Hubert Laws will join the SJMO, under the direction of artistic director Charlie Young, for a one-of-a-kind concert experience at Studebaker Theater to present a collection of music ranging from historic Duke Ellington arrangements from the Smithsonian archives to new compositions and new arrangements for jazz orchestra of classic Hubert Laws compositions.

“We are thrilled to bring the SJMO to the city of Chicago,” said Young, adding “We are creating a bespoke concert tailored to the community. Jazz bridges cultures and promotes democracy, cultural diversity and innovation and through authentic collaboration, we create something much greater than the sum of its parts.”

“It is an honor to partner with the Smithsonian and SJMO who understand the role of this important American icon that we call jazz, “ says Heather Ireland Robinson, Executive Director of Jazz Institute of Chicago. “We are further glad to host NEA Jazz Master Hubert Laws in Chicago.”

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra was founded in 1990 with an appropriation from the U.S. Congress in recognition of the importance of jazz in American culture and its status as a national treasure. A cornerstone of the Smithsonian’s commitment to jazz, the SJMO, led by Conductor and Artistic Director Charlie Young, has performed for audiences across the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Its concerts, by the full orchestra and smaller groups, include transcribed works, as well as new arrangements, commissioned works and programs that illuminate the contributions of small ensembles and jazz masters who contributed to the development of American jazz and defined the music’s character.


Internationally renowned flutist Hubert Laws is one of the few classical artists who has also mastered jazz, pop, and rhythm-and-blues genres; moving effortlessly from one repertory to another. He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, with the orchestras of Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Cleveland, Amsterdam, Japan, Detroit and with the Stanford String Quartet. He has given annual performances at Carnegie Hall, and has performed sold out performances in the Hollywood Bowl with fellow flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal and was a member of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestras. In addition, he has appeared at the Montreux, Playboy, and Kool Jazz festivals; he performed with the Modern Jazz Quartet at the Hollywood Bowl in 1982 and with the Detroit Symphony in 1994. His recordings have won three Grammy nominations.

Mr. Laws has been involved in unique projects such as collaborations with Quincy Jones, Bob James, and Claude Bolling for Neil Simon’s comedy California Suite, a collaboration with Earl Klugh and Pat Williams on the music for How to Beat the High Cost of Living: and film scores for The WizColor PurpleA Hero Ain’t Nothing but a Sandwich, and Spot Marks the X.

There are 23 albums in Mr. Laws’ discography for such record companies as: Atlantic, CBS, CTI, and for the Music Masters record label.

Mr. Laws also maintains his own publishing companies, Hulaws Music and Golden Flute Music, and he founded Spirit Productions in 1976 to produce his own albums and those of promising new artists. He was selected the #1 Flutist by Downbeat’s readers’ poll for 11 years in a row including 2015.  Laws received his National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters award in 2011.

About the author


News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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