A year ago, conductor Jason Weinberger heard Suite for Ma Dukes for the first time. A long time fan of J. Dilla, Weinberger’s first thought when he heard the music was that he needed to find a way to perform Miguel Atwood-Ferugon’s “stunning reinventions of Dilla’s music.” “I’m always looking for ways to open up the traditional orchestra experience to new things anyway, so this seemed very natural.”
After a quick Google search, Jason found Miguel and sent him a message to see if there was anyway to get the Dilla pieces in front of one of the orchestras he worked with. A few months later they met in LA and connected over Dilla, Flying Lotus, and Lutoslawski, and the rest is history.
Earlier this year, Miguel Atwood-Ferugon and the Mochilla Team flew out to Cedar Falls, Iowa to witness J. Dilla’s music being performed as part of the WCFSO’s (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra) tribute to Great American Composers. The evening had Dilla’s music performed alongside legends Duke Ellington and William Grant Still.
“As the person responsible for programming the concert, I probably don’t have to explain how exciting it was for me to find myself performing Dilla’s music with the WCFSO. Even more gratifying, though, were other aspects of the evening – feeling the connections emerge between Dilla and his predecessors William Grant Still and Duke Ellington, taking the orchestra outside of its comfort level and in process to a whole other level of music making, and especially offering our audience the opportunity to abandon preconceptions and discover something special. In the words of one listener in attendance that night, ‘the music was beyond interesting, especially the movements from Suite for Ma Dukes by J. Dilla…’ we were swept along enjoying sound adventures we never could have imagined that we would enjoy.” – Jason Weinberger
Watch as this video takes you on a sound adventure and witness the magic of Dilla’s music performed on what would have been the eve of his 36th birthday to a sold out audience. The standing ovation Miguel received was testament not only to the beauty of his work on Dilla’s music, but the power of music. Sounds ability to open ears, minds, and hearts.
“I think Dilla would have been proud of that.” – Jason Weinberger