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Presented By: Judaic Studies

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a Black King of the Bible in Duke Ellington’s Symphonic Triptych “Three Black Kings”

Luca Bragalini

Luca Bragalini Luca Bragalini
Luca Bragalini
An ICAMus (The International Center for American Music) event, sponsored by MCECS (Michigan Center for Early Christian Studies), in collaboration with the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and Dept. of Middle East Studies, University of Michigan

In honor of Martin Luther King Day 2022

Advanced Registration Required:

Jazz composer, pianist, jazz orchestra leader, and symphonic orchestra conductor, Duke Ellington also composed some symphonic works of great complexity. Three Black Kings, a score for ballet, was his last major work. The first movement represents Balthazar, the Black king of the Nativity; the second portrays Solomon, King of Israel; and the third celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ellington's personal friend. Luca Bragalini will discuss Martin Luther King’s musical depiction in Three Black Kings, with an analysis of the implications of the Black King’s imagery in art history, political thought, and the importance that religion has had for the African American community.


Joshua Scott - Welcome
Jim Lepkowski, President of MCECS-Michigan Center for Early Christian Studies - Intro from MCECS
Karla Mallette, Director of MES-Middle East Studies Dept., University of Michigan - Intro from MES
Aloma Bardi, Director of ICAMus-The International Center for American Music - Intro from ICAMus; Aloma introduces Luca Bragalini
Luca Bragalini appears for a “hello”

3:15 – Video - duration: 51:12

4:10-4:30 – The Panel of Specialists discussing the video (max 3 mins. each) includes (in order of appearance):
Aloma Bardi - American-Music scholar, Founding Director of ICAMus

Rodney Caruthers II - New Testament scholar, Reseach Fellow at Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies

Stefano Zenni - Musicologist and jazz expert, Music Conservatory Bologna, Italy

Gabriele Boccaccini - Middle East Studies Dept. & Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

Bill Doggett - Historian, archivist, and African-American music expert, Director of Bill Doggett Productions

Marcello Piras - Musicologist and author, expert of jazz and Musics of the Americas, Puebla, Mexico

4:30-4:45 – Luca Bragalini replies to comments

4:45-5:00 – Q&A, general discussion

5:00 – End of event & announcement of upcoming webinar on Feb 1

In the website edited by Professor Gabriele Boccaccini, a page provides further information and bibliography on the Black King in the history of Christian thought and in the arts:

Luca Bragalini is Professor of Jazz History at the Music Conservatory of Brescia, Italy. He has discovered unpublished works by Duke Ellington, Chet Baker and Luciano Chailly; some of them he has had premièred and recorded. A published author and lecturer, Professor Bragalini was Distinguished Scholar at Reed College (Portland, OR) where he offered a series of lectures on Ellington. His book Duke Ellington’s Symphonic Visions—published in Italy in 2018, with an accompanying CD of première recordings and previously unpublished archival photos, all contents discovered by Bragalini—is the first volume entirely dedicated to Ellington’s symphonic music.

Note on ICAMus

ICAMus-The International Center for American Music is a Non-Profit Organization, established in Florence in 2002. ICAMus is committed to the study, performance, and teaching of American music and America’s musical life, with special attention to pre-Civil War Early American Music. The Center is led by an international Board of Directors and an Advisory Board of specialists in the field, and is active through concerts, university courses, lectures, conferences, publications, recordings, and radio broadcasts. ICAMus has carried out numerous initiatives in Europe and the United States. It has assembled a special library, which also includes rare books and manuscripts.
Luca Bragalini Luca Bragalini
Luca Bragalini

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