Peter Nero & Philly Pops Present Winding Around the Â'60s and Â'70s Through 5/16
From Broadway to Hollywood. On stage and on screen. There is no other voice like the phenomenal Maureen McGovern. With a voice that is a beacon for American song, Ms. McGovern returns to join Peter Nero and the Philly Pops to wind her way around the songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Featuring hit after baby boomer hit by Paul Simon, James Taylor, Carole King, Bob Dylan, and more, don't miss this unforgettable evening of timeless classics that sing to the heart!
Performances of Winding Around the '60s and '70s with Maureen McGovern take place May 12 at 8:00 p.m., May 14 at 8:00 p.m., May 15 at 3:00 p.m., and May 16 at 3:00 p.m.
In October 2009 Grammy Award-winning pianist and conductor Peter Nero was honored with lifetime achievement awards from the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the Philadelphia Musicians' Union Local 77, AFM. He also received the Mario Lanza Award, in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of music, in November 2009.
"If the perfect pops conductor could be conjured, ... he might answer to this description," wrote Philadelphia Inquirer music critic Peter Dobrin: "Huge talent with polymath abilities and catholic tastes. Musician who actually enjoys giving audiences what they want. Plays piano like a dream. ... [H]e might look something like Peter Nero."
"Peter Nero is, of course, known for his piano playing, covering a range from classical concert repertoire to straight-ahead jazz. His fingers stretch as far as Art Tatum's, and he practically knows no limits on the Steinway. He is also a fine conductor ... Philadelphia is lucky to have him and his, by now, trademark Philly Pops," said All About Jazz's Victor L. Schermer on May 8, 2009.
"Nero ... plays with the energy of a 20-year-old rock and roll drummer," noted the Palm Beach Daily News on March 26, 2008. "His Juilliard training shows in the cleanliness of his technique and in his control of the tone of the piano. His technical arsenal includes brilliant passage work, rapid bass lines, arpeggio-like figures ascending and descending, and subtle dynamic variations. His fast playing is thrilling, and his slow playing is marked by a beautiful lyricism."
A two-time Grammy Award-winning pianist, Peter Nero leads his unrivaled Pops orchestra blending classical, swing, Broadway, blues, and jazz-all performed with virtuosity, authenticity, and an inviting sense of humor. The Washington Post has called him "the epitome of the Pops Conductor/Performer."
One of his greatest achievements is being the founding Music Director of the world renowned Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. On January 27, 2007, Mr. Nero joined Rod Stewart from the piano for a performance of "They Can't Take That Away from Me" at the Academy of Music 150th Anniversary Concert. Mr. Nero's recent guest performances include engagements with the Indianapolis Symphony, the National Arts Centre Symphony in Ottawa, the Charlotte Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, and the Baltimore Symphony, among others. His complete concert schedule can be found at www.peternero.com.
As a Steinway artist for close to 50 years, he recently returned to New York's Carnegie Hall to perform at a gala celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Steinway with many noted pianists, including Dr. Billy Taylor, Herbie Hancock, and Michel Legrand.
Born in Brooklyn, Mr. Nero began his formal music training at the age of seven. By the time he was 14, he was accepted to New York City's prestigious High School of Music and Art and won a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music. Constance Keene, his teacher and mentor, once wrote in an issue of Keyboard Classics that "Vladimir Horowitz was Peter's greatest fan!"
Peter Nero recorded his first album in 1961 and won a Grammy Award that year for "Best New Artist." Since then, he has received another Grammy, garnered 10 additional nominations, and released 68 albums. His early association with RCA Records produced 23 albums in eight years. His subsequent move to Columbia Records resulted in a million-selling single and album-The Summer of '42-now available on CD.
His recordings over the last 13 years include two CDs with the Philly Pops, Holiday POPS! and Broadway Showstoppers, and three CDs with full symphony orchestra: On My Own, Classic Connections, and My Way. He also recorded Peter Nero and Friends, which contains collaborations with Mel Torme, Maureen McGovern, and Doc Severinsen, among others. His latest CDs are romantic albums titled Love Songs for a Rainy Day and More in Love. By popular demand, four of his earlier vinyl recordings have been re-issued on CD. Music lovers of all generations can now hear him on Rod Stewart's album As Time Goes By ... The Great American Songbook, Volume II.
Mr. Nero's first major national TV success came at age 17 when he was chosen to perform Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue on Paul Whiteman's TV special. He subsequently appeared on many top variety and talk shows, including 11 guest appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and numerous appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Hailed as one of the premier interpreters of Gershwin, Mr. Nero starred in the Emmy Award-winning NBC Special "S'Wonderful, S'Marvelous, S'Gershwin." Other TV credits include performances on PBS-TV's "Piano Pizzazz" and with the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., on its July 4th special titled "A Capitol Fourth." He served as music director and pianist for the PBS-TV special "The Songs of Johnny Mercer: Too Marvelous for Words" with co-stars Johnny Mathis, Melissa Manchester, and the Philly Pops.
Among Mr. Nero's long list of honors are six honorary doctorates (the most recent from Drexel University in 2004) and the prestigious International Society of Performing Arts Presenters Award for "Excellence in the Arts." He is also included on two historic walks of fame-one in Philadelphia, and one in Miami, Florida. In 1999 he received the Pennsylvania Distinguished Arts Award, presented by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. Previous honorees include Marian Anderson, James Michener, Andrew Wyeth, and Riccardo Muti. In February 2009, the Abraham Lincoln Foundation of the Union League of Philadelphia presented Mr. Nero with its prestigious Lincoln Award as part of its Lincoln Day 200th Anniversary celebration. The Award is given to persons of distinction who, through their actions, have significantly contributed to the United States of America.
Peter Nero is an active supporter of many important causes, including the funding of school music programs, fundraising for the building of new arts centers across the country, as well as research for cancer, dystonia, and autism.
When not touring the world, Peter Nero makes his home in the Philadelphia area. He has two children-Beverly, a successful film producer residing with her husband in California, and Jedd, a commercial real estate entrepreneur residing with his wife near New York City. Both children have made him a grandfather.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops
Recently hailed by allaboutjazz.com as "arguably the best pops ensemble on the planet today," Peter Nero and the Philly Pops was founded in 1979 under the musical leadership of pianist and conductor Peter Nero. Maestro Nero's unique talents and innovative programming ideas blend all musical genres making their concerts widely popular in the pops world. POPS concerts run the gamut from great classics to jazz improvisation, big band to Broadway hits, ragtime to rock 'n' roll. Peter's participation as piano soloist is always received with boundless enthusiasm and acclaim. Guest artists-both established stars as well as outstanding new vocalists from Broadway and the concert stage-join The POPS each season. The Voices of The POPS, the resident vocal group, has become a member of the Philly Pops family as well.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops is the Official Pops Orchestra of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a significant part of Philadelphia's cultural scene. The POPS has produced continuously growing and loyal audiences and performs to regularly sold-out crowds as a resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops has played a role in the City of Philadelphia's Fourth of July celebration for over 25 years. On July 3, 2009, for the sixth consecutive year, Peter and The POPS performed a free outdoor concert in front of Independence Hall. This immensely popular annual event, which includes a musical tribute to all branches of the armed forces, draws thousands of attendees. The 2008 concert also featured Peter and The POPS performing music for the wedding of premier historic re-enactors Ralph Archbold and Linda Wilde, better known to Philadelphians as Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross. On July 4, 2006, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops performed a free outdoor concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Their concert on the Parkway the previous Independence Day, featuring Sir Elton John, Patti LaBelle, and Bryan Adams, reached over a half million people. Other notables who have joined them for past city celebrations include James Earl Jones, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Ray Charles, Boyz II Men, and Dionne Warwick.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops had the honor of performing at the opening of the National Constitution Center in 2003, and participating in National Public Radio's nation-wide radio broadcast on July 4, 2002. Another highlight took place in April 2002, when Astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn made a guest appearance with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, in a special performance of Peter's original composition Voyage into Space at the Kimmel Center. Peter and The POPS was featured on ABC-TV's "Independence Day 2001," a live, star-studded national broadcast, sharing the stage with such luminaries as Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Whoopi Goldberg, and Garth Brooks.
Other memorable moments through the years include a performance at the Republican National Convention during the summer of 2000; a Washington, D.C., gala performance to commemorate NASA's 40th anniversary in 1998; Philadelphia's "We the People" concert, the 1987 celebration of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, which was broadcast nationally on CBS-TV; and a debut at New York City's Carnegie Hall in 1984, with a return visit in 1997.
For many years Peter Nero and the Philly Pops performed in the historic Academy of Music. In December 2001, they became the second largest resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, a state-of-the-art, world-class venue on Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops is presented by Encore Series, Inc., a non-profit organization enriching the cultural life of Philadelphia through the performing arts. For more information, please visit www.phillypops.org.
Maureen McGovern's nearly 40 year career includes Grammy Award nominations for Best New Artist, Best Traditional Pop Vocal, and Oscar Award-winning Gold Records "The Morning After" (Billboard #1) and "We May Never Love Like this Again." Grammy nominated in 1973 and 1998, she shares a Grammy Award for Best Musical Recording for Children (2005) for her participation in the CD/DVD Songs from the Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers. Her most recent disc, released on PS Classics, is A Long and Winding Road. Other critically acclaimed CDs include musical tributes to George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Richard Rodgers, and Marilyn and Alan Bergman, among others.
On Broadway Ms. McGovern has appeared in the musical Little Women in the role of Marmee, for which she received a 2005 Drama Desk Award nomination; The Pirates of Penzance; Nine; The Threepenny Opera; and national tours of Little Women and The King and I. Her off-Broadway credits include originating the role of Mary in Brownstone. Regional appearances include Maureen McGovern: A Long and Winding Road, Elegies, Dear World, Letters from 'Nam, The Lion in Winter, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Of Thee I Sing, Let 'Em Eat Cake, The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, and I Do, I Do. She co-created, composed the music, and starred in The Bengal Tiger's Ball. Ms. McGovern can also be seen in the film Airplane! (as the guitar strumming nun), The Towering Inferno, and in the DreamWorks animated movie Joseph: King of Dreams.