The New West Chester Jazz Orchestra plays Count Basie

We are thrilled to announce the first ever performance of the new West Chester Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Jonathan Ragonese.

“My mission is to present the highest level of creative and improvisational music featuring artists connected to West Chester, Chester County and their community of peers from the tri-state region.” - Jonathan Ragonese

Why is your very first concert the music of Count Basie?

Bob Curnow (WCU ’63) recently gifted the school his catalog of published works from his company, Sierra Music Publishing. It includes a treasure trove of some of the great works of 20th century big band music. Included in it are some of the original arrangements for the Count Basie band by Benny Carter, Billy Byers and others. As a nice evening that is sure to please a wide audience, it seemed the best way to launch the West Chester Jazz Orchestra.

What is your future vision for WCJO?

Moving forward, my vision for the West Chester Jazz Orchestra is vast.

It will include musicians from Chester County, South-eastern PA, Philadelphia and the tri-state area. We will perform original compositions, commission new works, and play a wide array of music for large ensemble. I hope that we will feature guest artists regularly With my work at WCU, it is the perfect vehicle for expanding educational offerings to the community!