Visualizza la navigazione

Dancers in love

Sunday 30 Of June 2024 - 20:00, Piazza del Castello

The compositions of Duke Ellington for lyric voice

Arundo Donax

Pasquale Laino sax
Pietro Tonolo sax
Mario Raja sax
Rossano Emili sax
Federica Raja soprano


Arundo Donax

Arundo Donax is the scientific name of the common reed, the vibrating element that gives the Saxophone its voice. The quartet first formed in the early nineties and immediately strived to cultivate both improvisation and writing, ranging from jazz to contemporary literature and the production of original music for specific projects. To date the formation has produced three records: C’era una volta, dedicated to the world of childhood, Arundo Donax, with tracks by authors including Carlo Boccadoro and Carla Bley, Dancers in Love, with music arrangements by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. The concert program draws inspiration from tracks in the record Dancers in Love, based on the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, specifically arranged by the members of Arundo Donax for the formation of the saxophone quartet. Additional tracks, also in original arrangement, include those which Ellington composed for a non-jazz voice, more operatic in nature. True to Arundo Donax, the concert is completed by original music written by the group’s members.


Pasquale Lainois a multi-instrumentalist and soprano sax specialist who has worked in very different fields, from the symphonic orchestra to pop music, jazz big bands and contemporary music. For years he performed with Mango, Matia Bazar and Carmen Consoli. He is solo sax in numerous sound tracks, including Il Commissario Montalbano, Mio fratello è figlio unico, Habemus Papam. Since ’96 he was been working with the group “Klezroym”, with whom he has performed worldwide. He has participated in theatre, tv and radio shows as an instrumentalist and composer (including with Carlo Cecchi, Paolo Rossi, Vincenzo Cerami, Ascanio Celestini, Marco Presta and Antonello Dose). He has taught in the Conservatory and since 2004 he has been working as a composer for cinema, RAI and Mediaset.

Pietro Tonolo is one of Europe’s most renowned jazz saxophonists. His career began at a tender age, with performances in Europe and America with the bands of Gil Evans and Chet Baker. He has recorded a hundred or so CDs as a sideman and in his own name, achieving extensive success acclaim. He has worked with many major jazz artists from Italy (Franco D’Andrea, Massimo Urbani, Enrico Rava, Rita Marcotulli, Danilo Rea, Roberto Gatto) and Europe (Aldo Romano, Tony Oxley, Henri Texier, with whom he has toured in the Orient, Africa and Latin America). He has regularly performed with musicians including Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Joe Lovano, Joe Chambers, Gil Goldstein, Steve Swallow, Paul Motian (as member of his“Electric Bebop Band”) and is one of the most esteemed Italian musicians by colleagues overseas. He has also worked with numerous contemporary music groups, including Claudio Ambrosini’s Ex Novo Ensemble, Giovanni Mancuso’s Laboratorio Novamusica, Danilo Grassi’s Next Time Ensemble, and the Milanese group Sentieri Selvaggi, as well as with the Orchestra of Padua and Veneto and Virtuosi italiani.

Mario Raja saxophonist, composer and arranger. He has been active for years in different musical fields, from jazz quartets to symphonic orchestras. He has worked with musicians including Mel Lewis, Bob Brookmeyer, Joe Chambers, Luciano Berio, Jerry Lewis, George Pretre, Stewie Wonder, Massimo Urbani, Sal Nistico and Giuseppe Sinopoli. He was first tenor sax of the RAI orchestra of Rome. Since 1988 he has been conducting the “Mario Raja Big Bang” whose members include some of the best Italian jazz musicians, from Paolo Fresu to Danilo Rea. In ‘97 and ‘98 he conducted the AMJ national jazz orchestra. Since 2007 he has been conductor of the “Napoletan Jazz Orchestra” working with musicians including Joe Lovano, Archie Shepp, Randy Weston and Enzo Avitabile. He conducts the Jazz Youth Orchestra of Scuola di Testaccio, Rome, with whom he prepared the sound for the film “Inferno” of 1911, on occasion of the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante. He teaches at the Perugia Conservatory.

Rossano Emili is a saxophonist, arranger and composer who has been active since the nineties, both in the “high-brow” world of music- with the RAI Symphonic Orchestra, Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Louis Andriessen and other ensembles Sentieri Selvaggi, Artisanant Furiex and Parco Della Musica Contemporanea – and on the jazz scene – working with, to name but a few, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Motian, Willem Breuker, Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Uri Caine, Joe Chambers, John Taylor, Ethan Iverson, the Lydian Sound Orchestra, Barga Jazz Big Band, Umbria Jazz Orchestra and many Italian formations. His repertoire also includes over forty records and he has performed at the most important Italian and European jazz festivals, including Umbria Jazz, Manchester Jazz Festival, Banlieus Blues, Grenoble Jazz Festival, Time in Jazz, Roccella Jonica Jazz Festival, Nis Jazz Festival, and Bath International Music Festival. He holds the chair of classical Saxophone at the “A. Pedrollo” Conservatory, Vicenza.


Federica Raja


She graduated with honours from the “F. Morlacchi” Music Conservatory of Perugia with Michela Sburlati. She has attended post-diploma courses with Mietta Sighele, Barbara Frittoli, Ian Bostridge and Mariangela Sicilia. She has played parts including Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi (Wexford Opera Festival), Liu in Turandot (San Carlo Theatre, Naples, Musikalische Komödie, Leipsig and others), Adina in The Elixir of Love, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Ännchen in Der Freischütz, Gretel and Sandmann in Hänsel und Gretel, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas. She is also very active in the field of chamber and sacred music (solo soprano in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Antonio Greco’s “Cremona Antiqua Ensemble” Stabat Mater by Pergolesi, Membra Jesu Nostri Buxtehude, Laudes evangelii by Bucchi). With the saxophone quartet Arundo Donax she has performed in concerts at the Quirinale, broadcast live on Radio Tre. In 2021 she was among the winners of the “Riccardo Zandonai International Competition for opera singers” and in 2023 she received the Donizetti Prize at the “Claudio Desderi International Competition”. As a chorister she has participated in numerous concerts conducted by Riccardo Muti (Verdi’s Macbeth, Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, Verdi’s Nabucco, and Verdi’s Requiem). Federica Raja 74