Jazz composer Mary Lou Williams originally wrote her Zodiac Suite with each section inspired by a musical associate born under a different zodiac sign. MSO Artistic Partner Aaron Diehl premieres the complete version for full orchestra, after having presented four of the sections with the New York Philharmonic in 2021. In the second half, the MSO stays among the stars in Holst’s The Planets, delighting in the astrological characters of our solar system.


On Saturday, May 27, join us at 6:30 pm in the in the Ellen & Joe Checota Gallery for a special pre-concert performance by the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Youth Jazz Ensemble (UJAY), as they present works by Mary Lou Williams and Duke Ellington to complement the evening’s program. UJAY is an auditioned group comprised of the Greater Milwaukee Area’s finest high school jazz musicians. Founded by Curt Hanrahan in 1992 and now under the direction of saxophonist and educator Rosemary Walzer, UJAY students prepare quality repertoire in a professional-style setting, engage with guest artists/clinicians, and perform in the University and Milwaukee jazz communities.


To learn more about Mary Lou Williams’s Zodiac Suite and the artists who inspired it, visit the Zodiac Suite Resource Page.


The MSO Steinway piano was made possible through a generous gift from Michael & Jeanne Schmitz

Aaron Diehl on Zodiac Suite