Blackstar Symphony Creative Team
Donny McCaslin (Artistic Director, Co-Music Director) is best known as the saxophonist on David Bowie’s last album, Blackstar. The noted composer and bandleader has released a dozen albums over his genre-defying, Grammy-nominated career. McCaslin began playing at age 12, and as a teenager, performed in his vibraphonist father's band in Santa Cruz. By high school, he had appeared multiple times at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
After attending Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, McCaslin became a sought-after player in New York City. David Bowie saw McCaslin perform as soloist for the Maria Schneider Orchestra and brought in McCaslin’s progressive jazz quartet that came to define Blackstar's visionary stylistic fusion. As David Hadju wrote in The Nation, “Donny McCaslin was David Bowie’s David Bowie.”
In turn, Bowie influenced McCaslin, who fused alt-rock and jazz on his first album with lyrics, 2018’s "BLOW." Donny McCaslin now brings you the Blackstar Symphony, the most electrifying presentation of Bowie’s final work to date.
Jules Buckley (Co-Music Director, Orchestrator) Grammy winning composer, arranger, and conductor, Jules Buckley has collaborated on a staggering discography of over 70 albums.
Jules has curated live and recording projects reimagining styles from jazz, disco, and soul to electronica, global and avant garde for orchestra with some of the hottest names in music including: Quincy Jones, Snarky Puppy, Michael Kiwanuka, Jacob Collier, Bokanté, Lianne La Havas, Massive Attack and many more.
Jules is co-founder and conductor of the Heritage Orchestra, Honorary Conductor of the Metropole Orkest (following his tenure as Chief Conductor) and Chief Artist in Association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
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Tim Davies (Conductor, Orchestrator) is a Grammy-nominated and Annie-winning composer, arranger, orchestrator, and conductor. He is a respected lead orchestrator and regular conductor in studios from Los Angeles to London. His credits for film and television include La La Land, Free Guy, Frozen movies, both Ant-Man movies, and many others. He also recently conducted his own award-winning score to Maya and the Three, recorded in Sydney, Australia. No stranger to the concert hall, he has led a number of live concerts, including for the National Symphony Orchestras of both the U.S. and Taiwan.
Burke Wilmore (Lighting Designer) is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and an honors graduate of Wesleyan University. He has designed or adapted seven works for BODYTRAFFIC and has also lit the work of Camille A. Brown (Black Girl: Linguistic Play, Mr. Tol E. Rance, City of Rain). He was the resident designer for Battleworks (2001–2010) and to date has lit five of Robert Battle’s works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. For American Repertory Ballet, he lit Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet. He frequently collaborates with Broadway star André de Shields, for whom he lit the Louis Armstrong musical Ambassador Satch, and designed scenery and lighting for de Shields’ production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. Mr. Wilmore designed scenery and lighting for Apollo Club Harlem, and Ellington at Christmas, both at the Apollo Theater.
Troy Choi (Sound Designer). Based in Southern California, Troy has been the audio engineer for the of LaLa Land in Concert, World Tour, Love Actually in Concert, and Revolution: Music of the Beatles – A Symphonic Experience. He’s also worked with Herbie Hancock and Danny Elfman.