"Uke Canít Be Serious" A Ukulele Concerto by Jim Beloff
Since 1999, Jim Beloff has performed his ukulele concerto "Uke Canít Be Serious" with The Wallingford Symphony Orchestra, The Choate/Rosemary Hall Orchestra and The Santa Monica High School Orchestra in Connecticut, California, Germany and Austria. In November 2016 he will be performing it with the Michigan Philharmonic. To hear the piece in itís entirety, click the video links below.
"Uke Canít Be Serious" began life in 1998 as a series of instrumental motifs that I picked out on my ukulele. At some point, I had a conversation with Philip Ventre, conductor of The Wallingford Symphony Orchestra about the lack of symphonic works that included a ukulele, and in that moment Phil commissioned me to write a ukulele concerto. Thinking that perhaps these little melodies could gel into a larger piece, I found Jason Nyberg, a wonderful orchestrator who set these melodies into a delightful arrangement. The Wallingford Symphony premiered the piece on November 13th, 1999 at the Paul Mellon Arts Center at The Choate School with me playing the ukulele part. The title, of course, is a play on words, but perhaps, in time, the idea of a ukulele playing with a symphony orchestra wonít seem so unusual after all.
Live performance: Jim Beloff with conductor Nan Washburn and the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra on 11/12/2016.
Studio recording: ukulele/vocals: Jim Beloff; synth orchestra: Jason Nyberg.
Live performance: Jim Beloff with the Santa Monica High School 80 piece orchestra performing "Uke Can't Be Serious" during the Santa Monica Ukulele Festival.
Uke Canít Be Serious Ukulele Concerto News and Press:
MUSIC; Out of Hawaiian Pop, Into the Classics By Robert Sherman (New York Times)
When the Wallingford Symphony celebrates its 25th anniversary next Saturday evening at 8, the audience at the Paul Mellon Arts Center will be party to an unusual event: the world premiere of what may be the only Concerto for Ukulele and Symphony Orchestra. Read more
A Concerto for Ukulele and Orchestra (Ukulele Magazine)
A ukulele concerto for symphony orchestra? This is not something you hear every day. Occasionally, youíll hear a Baroque piece arranged for the uke, such as Vivaldiís Lute Concerto in D Major, or perhaps a modern composition featuring an orchestra full of ukuleles. But a uke concerto for symphony orchestra is a rare bird indeed. Read more