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

January 27 @ 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Cost: Free

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: https://tinyurl.com/2zvsappv

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.

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 He has discovered unpublished works by Duke Ellington, Chet Baker and Luciano Chailly; some of them he has had premièred and recorded.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Ellington’s Symphonic Visions—published in Italy in 2018, with an accompanying CD of première recordings and previously unpublished archival photos, all contents discovered by Bragalini—is the first volume entirely dedicated to Ellington’s symphonic music.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 http://www.icamus.org/ 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.


January 27
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Category:


University of Michigan Frankel Center for Judaic Studies


Event Area of Town
Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti
Organization Name
Frankel Center for Judaic Studies