Canadian music icon Howard Cable joins Symphony Nova Scotia for “The Best of Big Band”

Concert to feature classic big band hits from Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, and more

Halifax, NS – The legendary Howard Cable joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a performance of some of the greatest hits from the Big Band era on Friday, November 6 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 8 at 2 pm at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax.

The concert will feature Symphony Nova Scotia’s expanded orchestra performing a huge variety of classic Big Band and swing hits by legends like Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller.

“The Big Band era started in 1936,” says Howard. “This program traces the development and evolution of Big Band Swing – an evolution I witnessed firsthand, since forming my first swing band in high school in the 1930s.”

Howard Cable is one of Canada’s best-known and longest-serving music legends, and he’s conducted Symphony Nova Scotia every year for the past 30 years. After one of the orchestra’s recent performances with Howard, the Chronicle Herald said: “Every concert Cable conducts is historic… He is a legend in his own lifetime.”

As Howard approaches his 95th birthday this December, he remains an authentic, passionate, and in-demand interpreter of 20th-century big band and swing music.

Rather than conducting this concert, however, Howard will join the orchestra as the host, arranger, and emcee, sharing personal stories and perspectives on the music. The concert will be conducted by former Symphony Nova Scotia Resident Conductor Greg Burton, and will feature special guest Harvey Kogen performing on the clarinet, saxophone, and flute.

The concert program was hand-picked by Howard himself, and includes:

  • Glenn Miller: St. Louis Blues
  • Radio Themes of the Big Bands
  • Oscar Peterson: Place St. Henri
  • Duke Ellington: Tribute to the Duke
  • Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and George Gershwin: The Fred Astaire Songs
  • The Latin Bands
  • The Bossa Nova
  • Harold Arlen: In the Merry Old Land of Oz
  • Les Brown and Henry Mancini: The Pink Panther
  • Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman: A Royal Finale

This will be Howard’s third time performing in Halifax with his longtime collaborator and close friend, saxophonist Harvey Kogen. In the span of his career, Harvey has shared the stage with big names like Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, The Temptations, and Tina Turner. He toured North America with Blood Sweat & Tears, and played the Phantom of the Opera and Cats for their long and highly successful runs.

Tickets for both Best of Big Band concerts begin at $30 (HST included), and you can save up to 35% by purchasing a ticket package. Tickets are available at the Dalhousie Arts Centre box office (6101 University Avenue, Halifax), at 902.494.3820, or online at

New Videos: In Conversation with Howard Cable

Click here to check out a brand-new series of videos featuring Howard Cable! Hear Howard discuss his relationship with Symphony Nova Scotia, big band music, and his upcoming Best of Big Band concerts. Click the links to listen to Howard Cable in Conversation: Part OnePart TwoPart Three, and Part Four.

About Howard Cable
Howard Cable is a true Canadian icon. His 78-year career in the music industry is one of the longest in North America. After forming his first dance band in 1937, Howard’s talent began attracting attention. He quickly earned his own shows – first on CBC radio, and then on television with the popular program Showtime.
In the 1960s, Howard moved to New York, where he conducted two Broadway musicals. In addition, he worked for Richard Rodgers, Meredith Willson, and Frank Loesser, arranging their music for publication. Though his career could have continued indefinitely in the United States, Howard chose to return home to become Director of Onsite Entertainment for Expo ‘67. His longest running contribution to Canadian heritage began in 1986, when he was asked by the Commanding Officer of the Ceremonial Guard to write their signature march. This music is still played every day for the changing of the guard on Parliament Hill.

As Music Director of the Royal York Hotel, Howard worked with some of the greatest names in show business – Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, and Jim Carrey, to name only a few.

Howard has always been an advocate for music education. While teaching at the Banff Centre for the Arts, two of his students, Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) and Cynthia Dale (Street Legal) went on to very successful acting careers.

Howard’s broad repertoire keeps him in demand. He still maintains a busy schedule composing and arranging music, as well as numerous conducting engagements each year. His huge library of published music has been recorded on many labels and is performed worldwide. He has written the scores for 11 films at the National Film Board.

At age 95, Howard has no intention of stopping. He has embraced social media and is sharing the fascinating stories of his vast career in a blog called “Howard Cable Remembers”

About Greg Burton
Greg is very happy to have recently returned to the east coast after 12 years of living and working in the Toronto area. He is currently based in Sackville, New Brunswick and teaches in the Music Department of Mount Allison University.

Greg was an active conductor, performer, and teacher while in the Toronto area, having been Music Director of the York Symphony Orchestra, Halton Mississauga Youth Orchestra, the University of Toronto Wind Ensemble, and the McMaster University Chamber Orchestra. He performed with and conducted the Niagara Symphony, and was Director of Arts at Hillfield Strathallan College.

Prior to his work in Ontario, Greg was a regular conductor and performer with Symphony Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. Greg is honoured to be working again with Howard Cable and his colleagues in Symphony Nova Scotia.

About Harvey Kogen
Harvey Kogen performs on saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Although born in New York and schooled in Boston, he early on made Canada his home. He summers in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia.

His night-club and stage credits cover decades of appearances with the likes of Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Tina Turner, Donny Osmond, Three Dog Night, and Rod Stewart – to name only a few! He was featured as jazz soloist for the Toronto appearances of Tony Bennett, and has appeared at major jazz festivals and as leader of his own jazz ensemble on CBC Jazz Radio Canada.

Harvey toured North America with Blood Sweat & Tears, and played Phantom of the Opera and Cats for their highly successful runs. In demand as an orchestral performer, he has appeared at all of the major Toronto theatres, and has travelled to Boston to do shows with Gladys Knight and others. He is regularly featured as soloist in Howard Cable’s symphony concerts across Canada, most recently with the Stratford and Thunder Bay symphonies (2013) and the Kingston Symphony (2015).

Since his 2011 and 2012 appearances with Symphony Nova Scotia, his performance credits include Howard Cable’s “Legends” stage show for its summer-long run in 2013; the shows Cinderella, Anything Goes, Chicago, and Family Guy Live; as well as stage shows of Frank Sinatra Jr., Jerry Lewis, and The Temptations. He is currently playing woodwinds for the Cyndi Lauper musical Kinky Boots in Toronto.

As reviewer Stephen Pedersen said of Harvey’s last appearance with Symphony Nova Scotia, “His fluency on all three instruments is a tour-de-force… Riding a roller-coaster to scorch the clouds with his high notes and hot tempi, he worked up the crowd into an apocalypse of clapping and cheering.”
Harvey is delighted to be returning to Halifax and Symphony Nova Scotia.

About Symphony Nova Scotia
Symphony Nova Scotia is Nova Scotia’s orchestra. Each year more than 50,000 audience members (including 15,000 young music lovers) join us in communities across Nova Scotia for performances of the music they love – from baroque and classical to pop and rock and folk. Under the inspirational leadership of Music Director Bernhard Gueller, Symphony Nova Scotia is one of the most broadcast orchestras in the country, with over 20 commercial releases and multiple East Coast Music Awards. Visit to learn more, listen online, or get tickets today!


For more information, please contact:
Heidi MacPhee
Director of Communications and Marketing, Symphony Nova Scotia
902.421.1300 x. 226
[email protected]