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Meet Amazing Americans Musicians & Composers Duke Ellington
Portrait of Alvin Ailey, 1955.
Portrait of Alvin Ailey in 1955

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Duke Ellington's Varied Career
In 1970, the American Ballet Theater commissioned Ellington to develop a ballet, which he called The River. The ballet was choreographed by the famous dancer Alvin Ailey and premiered on June 25, 1970, at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center.

That same year, he was also commissioned to write a comic opera. Other works he wrote include a theater piece called Jump for Joy and music for films, including Cabin in the Sky and Black and Tan Fantasy. He and his co-writer, Billy Strayhorn, also composed the entire score for the film Anatomy of a Murder. What could top this?

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