Tomorrow’s Warriors

Nu Civilisation Orchestra presents: Duke Ellington’s The Queen’s Suite

Southbank Centre's Queen's Jubilee highlight

Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Southbank Centre, 12th April 2022 Tomorrow’s Warriors announced today a highlight of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations – the acclaimed Nu Civilisation Orchestra presents: Duke Ellington’s The Queen’s Suite, which will take place at Queen Elizabeth Hall on Friday 3 June, with tickets on sale tomorrow 13 April to Southbank Centre members, with general sale on Thursday 14 April here.

The evening will see Nu Civilisation Orchestra (NCO) perform a showstopping selection of Duke Ellington’s compositions, including The Queen’s Suite inspired by his meeting with the Queen in 1958.

Led by gifted pianist, composer and musical director Peter Edwards, NCO will also present Edwards’ original piece Above and Beyond the Horizon.

Nu Civilisation Orchestra has performed Duke Ellington’s incredible repertoire numerous times, from the 2009 performance of The Queen’s Suite, to Ellington’s Sacred Music at the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall in 2019.  This June, NCO will reprise its 2009 The Queen’s Suite performance for a special evening as part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Joining the orchestra on double bass will be Dr Gary Crosby OBE, recipient of The Queen’s Medal for Music and NCO founder and Artistic Director.

On 18th October 1958, Duke Ellington was presented to Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at a private reception to mark the centenary of Leeds Festival. So inspired was Ellington by this meeting that he promised to compose a suite in honour of the Queen. For 40 years, The Queen’s Suite, one of Ellington’s greatest and most beautiful works, was shrouded in mystery with the composer insisting only one copy of the recording be pressed and handed directly to the Royal household.  The piece remained hidden from the public until after Ellington’s death, before finally being premiered by the Bob Wilmer Orchestra in 1998.

NCO and Tomorrow’s Warriors Founder & Artistic Director, Dr Gary Crosby OBE said “It’s a truly wonderful moment to bring back Duke Ellington’s seminal The Queen’s Suite with NCO in celebration of The Queen’s platinum jubilee. Across its 14-year history, Nu Civilisation Orchestra has been building an eclectic body of work, presenting audiences with stories worthy of great soundtracks and expanding musical scores, with contributions from the world of visual arts, film, dance and literature. It will be an extra special evening celebrating Ellington’s genius.”

NCO is ever shifting in size and scale, from a quintet to a 24-piece orchestra, and everything in between, with a vision of bringing soulful, socially aware artistic expression to classic repertoire across jazz and popular music. NCO is committed to increasing diverse representation in the orchestra setting, while showcasing exciting, cutting edge and eclectic new arrangements and compositions from some of the most exciting young musicians in the UK today. Peter Edwards is the Musical Director and leader of NCO which comprises several members, including Edwards himself, who have come through the award-winning Tomorrow’s Warriors Learning Programme, which has a focus on supporting musicians from the black community and girls into successful, professional careers in music.

Press images here


About Tomorrow’s Warriors:  Tomorrow’s Warriors is a pioneering talent development agency, creative producer, learning and training provider, charity and consultancy specialising in jazz. Founded in 1991 by Queen’s Medal for Music recipient Gary Crosby OBE and Janine Irons MBE, TW helps aspiring young artists from diverse backgrounds discover their magic and achieve creative ambitions. TW nurtures nascent talent and builds engaged, culturally diverse audiences. Tomorrow’s Warriors has provided a crucial development platform for many of the artists now tearing up the international jazz scene – Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia, Cassie Kinoshi and Nérija, Femi Koleoso and Ezra Collective, Binker Golding, Shabaka Hutchings and Sons Of Kemet, CHERISE, ESKA, Denys Baptiste, Soweto Kinch, Zara McFarlane and many more. With a dedicated resident space at The Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall to host its Young Artist Development Programme aimed at talent aged 11-25 years old, comprising of learning and participation, artist development and professional performances, Tomorrow’s Warriors is proud to be a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England and a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner. Tomorrow’s Warriors is pivotal in elevating UK jazz, valued by its alumni and respected by funding partners for the impact delivered through its pipeline for outstanding, diverse talent.  In 2021, Tomorrow’s Warriors received the Jazz FM Impact Award and Music Producers Guild Inspiration Award, and Gary Crosby was honoured by the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) with an honorary doctorate entitled ‘Doctor of Music honoris causa’.

Tomorrow’s Warriors is a not for profit company and a Registered Charity No 1153613. Give today to Tomorrow’s Warriors here

About the Southbank Centre: The Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre occupying a prominent riverside location that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. We exist to present great cultural experiences that bring people together and we achieve this by providing the space for artists to create and present their best work and by creating a place where as many people as possible can come together to experience bold, unusual and eye-opening work. We want to take people out of the everyday, every day. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. The Southbank Centre is made up of the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as being home to the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. It is also home to six Resident Orchestras (Aurora Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Philharmonia Orchestra).

Tomorrow’s Warriors

Pioneering talent development organisation, creative producer, learning provider and charity specialising in jazz.