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Susquehanna Life

Jazz Concert: Jonathan Ragonese and Steve Rudolph

Sep 29, 2014 09:36PM ● By Erica Shames

Bucknell University will host a free jazz concert Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Rooke Recital Hall of the Weis Music Building.

After spending the afternoon working with the Bucknell Jazz Band on a new work he composed for them, saxophonist Jonathan Ragonese will be joined by his mentor and frequent Jazz@Bucknell guest, pianist Steve Rudolph, for an evening of standards and originals.

A native of New Cumberland, Pa., Ragonese has lived in New York City for six years, completing his undergraduate degree at the Manhattan School of Music studying with Bob Mintzer, Steve Wilson and Garry Dial, and his Master's in Composition studying with Michael Patterson, Jim McNeely, David Noon & Nils Vigeland.

As a saxophonist Ragonese has performed and recorded with local and international performers Terell Stafford, David Liebman, Jon Faddis, Tim Warfield, JD Walter, The Harrisburg Symphony & Stuart Malina, Steve Rudolph, Steve Wilson, Jimmy Heath and James Moody. As a composer his works have been premiered by saxophonist Steve Wilson, the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra, The RighteousGIRLS, the Harrisburg Symphony, the Solar Winds Quintet, and the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra.

Ragonese has served on the faculty of the West Chester University Summer Jazz Institute & The Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz Camp; in 2013 he created and conducted a four-week music-focused summer program for pre-school aged students at The Children's Learning Center in NYC. His debut release, Ardent Marigolds, a duo album with pianist Steve Rudolph, was released in November 2013 on R&L Records.

Born in Evansville, Ind., Rudolph studied trumpet and composition under scholarship at Butler University. He switched his main instrumental focus to the piano at age 22 and was hired by Buddy Morrow to perform with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1977.

Since moving to Harrisburg in 1978, he has been largely responsible for the growth and development of the thriving jazz scene in Central Pennsylvania. He founded the Central PA Friends of Jazz, now in its 33rd successful season of monthly concerts, youth band, jazz camp, and the annual Central PA Jazz Festival. He serves as executive director of CPFJ and was the recipient of the 2002 Harrisburg Arts Award for dedication to the arts and community service.

The winner of the Jazziz Magazine Piano Competition at the 2000 Seven Springs Jazz Festival, he was awarded two Jazz Composition Fellowships from the PA Council on the Arts.

With 11 acclaimed CDs as a leader, he has served as producer, arranger and performer on many recordings including CDs with Johnny Coles, Bill Goodwin, Ali Ryerson, Matt Wilson and Vinny Valentino. His experience encompasses concert performances with many jazz masters including Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Terry Gibbs, Rufus Reid, Buddy Tate, Al Grey, the Mills Brothers, and Cal Collins. He has toured throughout the U.S., India, Europe, Canada, Russia and the Caribbean. A Yamaha Keyboard Artist, he is in demand as a clinician and performer.

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