David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, written many scores for Broadway theater and film, including the classic scores for the films Splendor in The Grass and The Manchurian Candidate; two operas, including the groundbreaking Holocaust opera The Final Ingredient; and the score for the landmark 1959 documentary Pull My Daisy, narrated by novelist Jack Kerouac. He is also the author of three books, Vibrations, an autobiography, Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac, a memoir, and Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat.
A pioneer player of jazz French horn, he is also a virtuoso on piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries, as well as an inventive, funny improvisational lyricist. He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, (who chose him as The New York Philharmonic's first composer-in-residence in 1966), Dizzy Gillespie, Langston Hughes, Dustin Hoffman, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Odetta, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Depp and Tito Puente.
Amram's most recent orchestral works include Giants of the Night, (commissioned and premiered by flutist Sir James Galway in 2002); Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie, (commissioned by the Woody Guthrie Foundation in 2007); and Three Songs: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (written for and premiered by pianist Jon Nakamatsu in 2009). He was also chosen as the 2008 Democratic National Convention's Composer In Residence For Public Events.
In a career that spans five decades, 23 albums and three Grammy Awards, multi-talented singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Chapin has covered an incredible amount of creative ground. In addition to his work as a recording artist and concert performer, Chapin has acted on Broadway, as well as working extensively in films, television and radio. The New York Times called Chapin "one of the great personalities in contemporary folk music," while Billboard called him "the best family artist around" and described him as "totally captivating." In 1971, he began a five-year run as the host of the Emmy and Peabody award winning children's series Make A Wish. Chapin and his songs were also featured in the seminal 1970 documentary film Blue Water, White Death, for which he spent six months sailing the Indian Ocean searching for great white sharks.
Chapin launched his solo recording career with 1976's Life Is Like That. It was the first of a string of albums that further established his reputation as both a gifted storyteller and a natural entertainer, winning him an uncommonly loyal fan base in the process. He also continued to venture into other creative areas, playing the lead role in the hit Broadway musical Pump Boys and Dinettes, working off-Broadway as musical director of both Cotton Patch Gospel and Harry Chapin: Lies and Legends, and serving as host of TV's National Geographic Explorer. He has also written and performed satirical topical songs for NPR’s Morning Edition, and had a cameo role as the Vice Presidential candidate in Jonathan Demme's 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate.
Chapin was already firmly established as a performer and recording artist when he first branched out into family music with his 1988 album Family Tree. His latest family release is The Incredible Flexible You, a collection of 12 new songs that help young listeners navigate the tricky waters of social interaction. Each tune is designed for preschool and early elementary children with social cognitive challenges, and their parents and teachers, too.
In addition to his varied musical and media endeavors, Chapin is also a powerful advocate on behalf of a variety of charitable causes. He is an active board member of WhyHunger, the organization which the artist's older brother, the late singer-songwriter/activist Harry Chapin, founded (as World Hunger Year) in the 1970s. He also remains active in a variety of environmental causes, as well as efforts on behalf of music and the arts in our public schools.
Jon Cobert is a studio musician, composer and arranger. He has recorded with John Lennon, John Denver, Harry Chapin, Loudon Wainwright III, Dion, Henry Gross, Phyllis Hyman, Klaus Nomi, Linda Eder, and Laura Branigan, among others. He has also writtenthe themes for ESPN's Baseball Tonight and College Football Gameday, as well as hundreds of TV and radio jingles for Rolling Rock, Budweiser, Canon, Rite-Aid, Dr. Pepper, Pepperidge Farm, Wendy's, and Burger King. Along with Allan Schwartzberg and Bob Mann, Jon just finished producing and arranging the new CD by Regis and Joy Philbin entitled Just You. Just Me. for Big Dot Records. Jon has released the first CD of his own original songs, Here's Your Canoe. Due to popular demand, he has just released a CD of solo piano recordings appropriately titled Standards on Solo Piano. It consists of Jon playing some old favourites such as "Bewitched," "Honeysuckle Rose," "All the Things You Are," and "Over the Rainbow," plus a few "newer" tunes like "Hey Jude" and "Send In the Clowns." No muss, no fuss, just a piano and a piano player. Like the good old days, only digital.
emma's revolution is the duo of award-winning activist musicians, Pat Humphries & Sandy O. Called “Inspiring, gutsy and rockin,” the duo is celebrating the release of their third CD, Revolutions Per Minute, an electrifying soundscape of “rousing and soulful" songs of social conscience, in settings from intimate acoustic to full-on funk. Grand Prize winners in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, the duo's songs create new standards in the art of social justice. Their songs "Peace, Salaam, Shalom" and "Keep on Moving Forward" are sung around the world, and their music has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Pacifica's Democracy Now!
Pat and Sandy are partners in life, love, and justice. In the spirit of Emma Goldman's famous attribution, “If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution,” emma's revolution brings their uprising of truth, hope and a dash of healthy irreverence to concerts and peace & justice, environmental, LGBT & women's rights, immigration & human rights, and labor events around the world. Based in the Washington DC area, emma’s revolution has performed at more than a thousand events throughout the US and abroad. Join the revolution!
Nora Guthrie graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 1971. Following a career in modern dance Nora began working with her father’s materials in 1992. Based on her intimate connection to her father’s ideas and ideals, Nora brings a refreshing interpretation of his work and a new understanding of his legacy. In 1994, Nora co-founded the Woody Guthrie Archives with Harold Leventhal and archivist Jorge Arevalo. In addition to managing the Archives and preserving her father’s personal materials and original creative works, Ms. Guthrie develops and produces new projects which continue to expand Woody Guthrie's cultural legacy.
Her first project, in 1992, was the publication of a lost songbook of Woody’s original lyrics and illustrations, Woody’s 20 Grow Big Songs. Nora co-produced the accompanying album with her brother Arlo Guthrie, which received a Grammy nomination. In 1996, Ms. Guthrie co-produced the first ever Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum Tribute series honoring Woody Guthrie. Among the many artists that participated in the tribute weekend were Bruce Springsteen, Jorma Kaukonen, Indigo Girls, Billy Bragg, Joe Ely, David Pirner, Tim Robbins, Alejandro Escovedo, Ani DiFranco and Arlo Guthrie. Ani DiFranco produced the live CD Til We Outnumber ‘Em, which was released on her label Righteous Babe Records. In 1998, Ms. Guthrie curated the first major exhibit This Land Is Your Land: The Life and Legacy of Woody Guthrie in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibit opened in May 2000 at the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles and toured for three years at major museums throughout the country.
2012 marked Woody’s 100th birthday. The year-long celebrations, co-produced by Nora and Bob Santelli, Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum Foundation, included educational conferences, exhibits, adult and elementary school outreach programs and presentations, and concerts that followed Woody’s road from Oklahoma through California and on to New York City. The year culminated with an all-star concert at The Kennedy Center on Oct. 14, 2012. Just released June 18, 2013 to CD and DVD on Sony Legacy Records and premiered on PBS, this star-studded tribute concert featured performances by John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, Judy Collins, Ani DiFranco, Tom Morello, the Del McCoury Band, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, among others.
Christine Lavin is a singer/songwriter/guitarist/recording artist living in New York City. She has recorded 20 solo albums (latest: Cold Pizza For Breakfast on Yellow Tail Records). She has also produced nine compilation CDs showcasing the work of dozens of songwriters whose work she loves -- one of them, the food-themed One Meat Ball, includes a 96-page cookbook that Christine edited. For four years she hosted "Slipped Disks" on XM satellite radio, playing CDs slipped to her backstage by compatriots, and is the occasional guest host on Sunday Breakfast on WFUV-FM. She also writes freelance for various publications (including The Washington Post, Huffington Post, The St. Petersburg Times, The Performing Songwriter, and Delta Sky Magazine).
Her song "Amoeba Hop" was turned into a science/music book by illustrator Betsy Franco Feeney (Puddle Jump Press), received the stamp of approval from The International Society of Protistologists, and won a Best Book Award from the American Association for The Advancement of Science. Betsy and Christine have collaborated again on Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, a children's book with CD that tells the story of an oil spill with an emphasis on clean, alternative energy. More than 50 singers from around the world are included on the CD.
Christine most recently received a 2012 NYC Nightlife Award given annually to the best concert and cabaret performers. In November 2011, her book Cold Pizza for Breakfast: A Mem-Wha? won the 43rd Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in non-fiction writing about pop music. Christine has also won five ASCAP composer awards, the Backstage Bistro Award for Best NYC Singer/Songwriter Of The Year, The Kate Wolf Memorial Award, and her album Good Thing He Can't Read My Mind won Album Of The Year from the National Association Of Independent Record Distributors.
Michael Mark received a Drama Desk Award for best supporting actor in the role of Stanley in the original Broadway cast of I Love My Wife. From there he signed on as musical director for the national tour of I Love My Wife starring Tom and Dick Smothers. Michael is perhaps best known for writing the theme for TV's Entertainment Tonight program. In 1981 Michael was cast in the original production of Cotton Patch Gospel by Harry Chapin. It was there that Michael met Tom Chapin, Michael and Tom have collaborated on music for the childrens musical The Magic Fishbone. Michael has released his first CD, Good To Be Here.
Doug Mishkin is a singer-songwriter in the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, and Don McLean. Over the years he has performed at hundreds of concerts and programs across the country, primarily in the Jewish community. Climbing That Ladder, his newly-released album with eight originals, includes a recording of “Sweet Survivor,” written by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary, on which Yarrow joins Doug. The title cut of Doug’s first album, Woody’s Children (2012), is played each year on the anniversary of the radio show of that name on WFUV-FM, where Doug has sung it accompanied by Seeger, Paxton, Tom Chapin, Judy Collins, Christine Lavin, and others.
Respected around the world for her music and activism, Holly Near’s joy and passion inspire people to join in her celebration of the human spirit. Equally compelling at her shows or through your speakers, her music fully engages listeners in the world around them. Holly has made a career speaking to anyone in the world who believes in peace, justice, and feminism, a wonderful spectrum of humanity. Born in Ukiah, CA in 1949, Holly built on her performing career with acting parts on The Mod Squad and appeared in a number of guest roles in seminal 70s TV shows like Room 222 and The Partridge Family. In 1970, she was a cast member of the Broadway musical Hair. Following the Kent State shootings of that year, the entire cast staged a silent vigil in protest. The song “It Could Have Been Me” was her heartfelt response to the shootings. In 1971, she joined the Free The Army Tour, an anti-Vietnam War road show of music, comedy, and plays organized by antiwar activist Fred Gardner and actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland.
In 1972, Holly was one of the first women to create an independent record company, paving the way for women like Ani DiFranco and others. Her goal was to promote and produce music by politically conscious artists from around the world, a mission that Redwood Records fulfilled for nearly 20 years. Holly has been recognized many times for her work for social change, including honors from the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Organization for Women, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; she was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year and received the Legends of Women’s Music Award. During her travels in the Pacific with the Free The Army show, Holly became a globally conscious feminist, linking international feminism and anti-war activism. Another significant arena of Holly’s activism is the LGBTQ community and she was one of the first celebrities to discuss her sexual orientation during a pioneering 1976 interview with People Magazine. As she has observed, “Music can influence choices, for better or worse. A lullaby can put a troubled child to sleep but Muzak can put a whole nation to sleep. A marching band can send our children off to war. It can also have everyone laughing and dancing and loving as it leads a gay-pride parade.”
Tom Paxton has become a voice of his generation, addressing issues of injustice and inhumanity, laying bare the absurdities of modern culture and celebrating the tenderest bonds of family, friends, and community. In describing Tom Paxton’s influence on his fellow musicians, Pete Seeger has said “Tom’s songs have a way of sneaking up on you. You find yourself humming them, whistling them, and singing a verse to a friend. Like the songs of Woody Guthrie, they’re becoming part of America.”
Paxton has been an integral part of the songwriting and folk music community since the early 60′s Greenwich Village scene, and continues to be a primary influence on today’s “New Folk” performers. In 1965 he made his first tour of the United Kingdom — the beginning of a still-thriving professional relationship that has included at least one tour in each of the succeeding years. He has performed thousands of concerts around the world in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Canada. That these fans still enjoy his work is a testament to the quality of his recent work, and to the enduring power of modern standards like “The Last Thing On My Mind,” “Ramblin’ Boy,” “Bottle Of Wine,” “Goin’ To The Zoo,” and “The Marvelous Toy.” Paxton’s songbooks, critically acclaimed children’s books (available from HarperCollins), award-winning children’s recordings, and a catalog of hundreds of songs (recorded by artists running the gamut from Willie Nelson to Plácido Domingo), all serve to document Tom Paxton’s 40-year career.
Tom received a 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy during the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. He was nominated for a Grammy for Comedians and Angels in 2007, Live in the U.K. in 2006, Looking For The Moon in 2003, and for his children’s CD, Your Shoes, My Shoes in 2002. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from ASCAP, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC in London.
Tom Paxton’s place in folk music is secured not just by hit records and awards, but by the admiration of three generations of fellow musicians. An internationally recognized and loved cultural figure, he has always chosen goodwill over commercial success. His generosity has taken the shape of a benefit concert performance for a little girl fighting leukemia, or a personal note of encouragement to an up-and-coming songwriter. This is the man who wrote and lives the words, “Peace will come, and let it begin with me.”
For more than 55 years, Robert Sherman has been closely associated with classical radio station WQXR and his ground-breaking live performance show "The Listening Room"as well as the very popular "McGraw Hill Financial's Young Artists Showcase", but since 1969 Bob has also produced and hosted "Woody's Children" the highly acclaimed contemporoary folk series now heard Sunday afternoons as 4 on WFUV.
"Woody's Children" has won two Ohio State, three Gabriel, and sundry other broadcasting awards, and along the way has included live studio performances by such eminent folk artists as Judy Collins, Odetta, Peter, Paul and Mary, Malvina Reynolds, Schooner Fare, Dar Williams, and dozens more including, of course, all of the superb singer-songwriters on our 45th Anniversary roster tonight.
Bob Sherman has produced and hosted fund-raising concerts at the 92nd Street Y (one of them including the singing reunion, after some four decades, of Pete Seeger and Burl Ives), and co-hosted - with Pete Seeger and Oscar Brand respectively - folk events at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, and here at Symphony Space. He also organized and hosted the 1966 "Woody's Children Folk Fest" at the TIlles Center on Long Island, which among other highlights, featured the first public concert in over thirty years by the original Chad Mitchell Trio.
For more than forty years, Bob was a music critic and music columnist for The New York Times and for nearly thirty years served on the faculties of The Juillard School and New York University. A concert narrator with such esteemed ensembles as Canadian Brass, the United States Military Academy Band (West Point) and the Greenwich Symphony, he sits on the Advisory boards of many cultural organizations, also serving them variously as competition judge, pre-concert lecturer, panel moderator and emcee. Co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music and two best selling books with Victor Borge including My Favorite Intermissions, he also joined his brother, Alexander Sherman, to compile a pictorial history of their celebrated mother, pianist Nadia Reisenberg. As the president of The Nadia Reisenberg/Clara Rockmore Foundation, Bob had kept his mother and aunts's legacies alive and well, re-mastering and re-releasing over a dozen CD recordings.
Singer/songwriter Noel Paul Stookey has been altering both the musical and ethical landscape of this country and the world for decades—both as the “Paul” of the legendary Peter, Paul and Mary and as an independent musician who passionately believes in bringing the spiritual into the practice of daily life. While acknowledging his history with Peter and Mary (performing occasionally with Peter as a duo following the passing of their partner Mary Travers in 2009), Noel Paul has stepped beyond the nostalgia of the folk era. Whether judged by the subject matter of his current concert and recorded repertoire or by virtue of his active involvement with the Music2Life initiative (www.music2life.org) linking music fans to the expression of contemporary concerns via many different artists and musical genres, Stookey's current musical outlook continues to be fresh, optimistic, and encouraging.
Born December 30, 1937, Stookey grew up in the Midwest where he played electric guitar in his high school rock ’n’ roll band (the Birds of Paradise) and hung out at an R&B record shop listening to groups like the Drifters, the Platters, the Cadillacs. When he moved to New York City, he was 20, looking for independence, but what he found were “Peter” and “Mary,” and a career that took on a life of its own, with their first album shooting to the top of the charts, where it stayed for two years. He has performed in intimate coffeehouses, at the White House, and in massive stadiums. At the 1963 March on Washington when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, Peter, Paul and Mary delivered the compelling “If I Had a Hammer” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
Noel Paul Stookey has recorded over 45 albums, both as part of the legendary trio and as a soloist. In the year 2007 alone he released three CDs: Facets of the Jewel, Promise of Love, and Song for Megumi. In addition to his performance life, Stookey oversees Neworld Multimedia, presenting new artists and creating children’s TV shows and music. The royalties from his classic “Wedding Song” go to the Public Domain Foundation, where nearly $2 million has been put to work for charitable causes. If Stookey has his way, he hopes to make the world a better place by supporting a dialogue of acceptance and inclusion...perhaps his song “Love Rules!” says it best: “...tryin to be a student of transparency; more of Love and less of me...”