2017 Blossom Music Festival
August 27 – Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
Introducing the Concert
Music, Song, Ella!
This evening’s concert is presented in celebration of Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday, noted worldwide this past April. Hers was a unique life, showcasing a stupendous talent for musical style. From a difficult childhood, she strode across history’s stage with incomparable class, winning admiration from millions and millions of fans through her uncompromising craft, her honesty in song, her caring and sharing of musical gifts that continued to blossom and bloom throughout her life.
She sang widely, from early jazz standards through an unprecedented sequence of albums devoted to some of America’s best songwriters and writing teams of the 20th century — Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer. Her voice was unique, her renditions became legendary. Her artistry encompassed a thousand emotions, from turmoil and sadness to joy and ennui. Her abilities knew few limits. She sang in bands, with orchestras, for royalty and politicians, for real people and their friends.
Tonight, we welcome Ella’s memory to our ears, not in imitation but with reverence and humility, with joy in our hearts and a legend’s voice in our minds. And, while she sang many songs of many others, she also penned a few herself — which became among her most memorable hits.
Ella sold her first million records by the age of 21. Her recordings soared on charts dozens of times, winning 14 Grammy Awards. She sang with many of the 20th century’s greatest musicians. She performed at Carnegie Hall 26 times. She was awarded the United States National Medal of Arts in 1987, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992.
She was named Ella Jane Fitzgerald. She became Ella, the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz. Tonight we celebrate her life, her art, and the many gifts she left us — in sound and memory, in hard reality and legendary optimism. —Eric Sellen
Dubbed “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 14 Grammy awards and sold over forty million albums.
Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella.)
She performed at top venues all over the world, and packed them to the hilt. Her audiences were as diverse as her vocal range. They were rich and poor, made up of all races, all religions and all nationalities. In fact, many of them had just one binding factor in common — they all loved her.
Read more at www.ellafitzgerald.com.