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Carnegie Hall Celebrates Barbara Cook's 85th Birthday Tonight, 10/18

Barbara Cook returns to Carnegie Hall to celebrate her 85th birthday tonight, October 18 at 8:00 p.m. with a special performance in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage.

Miss Cook gained early fame in musicals like The Music Man and Candide, and, over the course of her career, she has played on the biggest stages all across the globe. The illustrious soprano made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1975 and, most recently, performed in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with renowned singer/songwriter James Taylor kicking off his Perspectives series with a gala concert celebrating Carnegie Hall’s 120th anniversary in April 2011. For Barbara Cook’s 85th Birthday Concert at Carnegie Hall, Lee Musiker and Ted Rosenthal serve as musical directors and surprise special guests will be announced from the stage on the evening of the performance.

Considered “Broadway’s favorite ingénue” during the heyday of the Broadway musical, Miss Cook then launched a second career as a concert and recording artist soaring from one professional peak to another. Whether on the stages of major international venues throughout the world or in the intimate setting of New York’s Café Carlyle or Feinstein’s at the Regency, Barbara Cook’s popularity continues to thrive—as evidenced by her 1997 birthday concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Albert Hall in London, a succession of six triumphant returns to Carnegie Hall, where she made a legendary solo concert debut in 1975, and an ever-growing mantle of honors including the Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk, and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, her citation as a Living New York Landmark, and her induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

A 2011 Kennedy Center Honoree, Miss Cook recently returned to the Broadway stage after a 23-year absence and was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in the musical Sondheim on Sondheim, directed by James Lapine for the Roundabout Theater Company. In January 2006, she made her solo concert debut at the Metropolitan Opera Company, making her the first female pop singer to be presented by the Met in the company’s 123 year history; the concert was recorded and released by DRG Records. In 2004, Miss Cook’s concert, Barbara Cook’s Broadway, was hailed as one of the ten best theatre productions of the year.

Barbara Cook’s Broadway followed close on the heels of her earlier triumph, the critically acclaimed Barbara Cook in Mostly Sondheim. Miss Cook premiered this program at Carnegie Hall in February 2001 before taking it to London’s West End where it was the smash hit of London’s 2001 summer season, eventually garnering two Olivier Award nominations for Best Entertainment and Best Actress in a Musical. Miss Cook went on to perform Mostly Sondheim at Lincoln Center Theater for a sold-out fourteen week run, winning a Tony Award nomination for Best Theatrical Event, and has performed the show in major cities throughout the United States.

A native of Atlanta, Barbara Cook made her Broadway debut in 1951 as the ingénue lead in the musical Flahooley. She subsequently played Ado Annie in the City Center revival of Oklahoma!, followed by a national tour of that hit show. In 1954, her performance as Carrie Pipperidge in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel led to the role of Hilda Miller in the original production of Plain and Fancy. Miss Cook went on to create the role of Cunégonde in the original production of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.

This was followed by her creations of two classic roles in the American musical theater—Marian the Librarian in the premiere production of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, a performance which earned her the Tony Award, and Amalia in the Bock-Harnick-Masteroff musical She Loves Me. In addition to starring roles in The Gay Life, and The Grass Harp, Miss Cook played Mrs. Anna in the legendary City Center revival of The King and I and appeared in a second production of Carousel at City Center, this time playing the role of Julie Jordan. Sometime later she played Magnolia in the New York State Theater’s production of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s fabled Showboat. Miss Cook originated the role of Patsy in Jules Feiffer’s Little Murders, and in 1972 she again returned to the dramatic stage in the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center’s production of Gorky’s Enemies.

In 1974, Miss Cook began a creative partnership with musical arranger, accompanist, composer, dance arranger and conductor Wally Harper, a shining model of artistic collaboration and enduring friendship, which lasted for nearly 31 years until his death in 2004. Numerous recordings mark the journey of this unique partnership, beginning with Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall, a live recording of their legendary 1975 Carnegie Hall debut, recently re-released by Sony Records. A subsequent engagement at Carnegie Hall in September 1980 was captured on It’s Better With a Band, produced and arranged by Mr. Harper.

In September 1985, Miss Cook appeared with the New York Philharmonic as Sally in the renowned concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies. She also recorded Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel and The Disney Album for the MCA record label. Miss Cook was nominated in 1986 for an Olivier Award for her one-woman show at London’s Albery Theatre and received the Drama Desk Award in 1987 for her Broadway show, A Concert for the Theatre. In October 1991 Miss Cook’s appearance as a featured artist at the Carnegie Hall Gala Music and Remembrance: A Celebration of Great Musical Partnerships underscored her commitment to two important causes: the advancement of the performing arts and support of AIDS research. Miss Cook was one of the only American performers chosen to perform at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival in the fabled Sydney Opera House. Musical America selected her as their 2007 Vocalist of the Year, the first pop singer to be so honored by this classical performing arts organization.

Miss Cook’s studio recordings include eight original cast albums; two Ben Bagley albums of songs by Jerome Kern and George Gershwin; an album entitled Songs of Perfect Propriety, featuring poems by Dorothy Parker set to music by Seymour Barab; and As of Today on the Columbia label. Her most recent DRG recordings include Close as Pages in a Book; Barbara Cook: Live from London; Oscar Winners: The Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein; All I Ask of You; The Champion Season: A Salute to Gower Champion, the Grammy Award-nominated Count Your Blessings, a collection of traditional Christmas songs; Tribute, based on her sold-out Café Carlyle concert; No One Is Alone, based on her most recent Carnegie Hall concert; Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder; the boxed-set of recordings Essential Barbara Cook; Cheek to Cheek, a live performance recording of her critically acclaimed concert with Michael Feinstein at Feinstein’s at the Regency; and her latest, You Make Me Feel So Young, also recorded live in performance at Feinstein’s at the Regency.

Lee Musiker—pianist, conductor, music director, arranger and orchestrator—is well known for his wealth of experience working with the premiere artists in the jazz, classical, Broadway, and pop genres. These include Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, Barbara Cook, Maureen McGovern, Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Joel Grey, James Taylor, Renée Fleming, Marilyn Horne, Dawn Upshaw, Deborah Voigt, Kathleen Battle, Denyce Graves, Nathan Gunn, Sylvia McNair, Julia Migenes, Joshua Bell, Buddy Rich, Doc Severinson, Wynton Marsalis, Chris Botti, and John Pizzarelli. Since 2001 Mr. Musiker has been touring with Tony Bennett, and he served as music director and pianist for the Grammy Award-winning album Tony Bennett: Duets—An American Classic as well as the recent Duets 2.

A Steinway artist, Mr. Musiker has performed with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Orpheus, New York Pops, Boston Pops, Hollywood Bowl, and London Symphony Orchestra and has conducted the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, National, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. He has also conducted the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon and the Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestras, as well as at the Henry Mancini Institute. As an arranger and orchestrator, Mr. Musiker has written for symphony orchestras, recordings, movies, and television and has shared Grammy and Emmy awards.

A native New Yorker and fourth-generation musician, Lee Musiker received degrees from the Manhattan and Eastman schools of music, with further studies at The Juilliard School, and has served on the faculties of Mannes College of Music, The New School, and New York University (as part of the distinguished Piano Faculty Master Class Series). After a two-year tour as pianist with the Buddy Rich Band, he returned to New York and began playing in the orchestra pits of many hit Broadway shows. He was a guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR and has been featured in Steinway and Keyboard magazines.

Ted Rosenthal has performed worldwide as a soloist, leader and sideman with many jazz greats, including Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Bob Brookmeyer, James Moody and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Winner of the 1988 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, Rosenthal has released twelve CDs as a leader. His latest CD, Impromptu, features his reimaginings of classical themes for jazz trio. His recent CD, One Night in Vermont, is a duo with legendary trombonist Bob Brookmeyer. Rosenthal is Artistic Director of Jazz at Dicapo in New York City. He has also performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and with Jon Faddis and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. Rosenthal is the pianist of choice for many top jazz vocalists including Helen Merrill and Ann Hampton Callaway. He has appeared on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz on National Public Radio and performed with David Sanborn on NBC's Night Music.

Rosenthal’s classical/jazz crossover performances include solo and featured appearances with The Boston Pops, The Baltimore Symphony, The Kansas City Symphony, The Rochester Philharmonic, The Detroit Symphony, The Tucson Symphony, and The Fort Worth Symphony.

A recipient of three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rosenthal regularly performs and records his compositions, which include jazz tunes and large-scale works. "The Survivor," a concerto for piano and orchestra, has been performed by the Manhattan Jazz Philharmonic and the Rockland Symphony Orchestra, with Rosenthal at the piano. He has also composed music for dance, including "Uptown," by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, premiered in New York in 2009 and currently touring around the world. He is currently commissioned to compose and perform his 2nd jazz piano concerto, which will be premiered in May 2011 by the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in New York City.

Rosenthal received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. He is active in jazz education, and is a faculty member at Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. In addition, Rosenthal presents jazz clinics throughout the world, often in conjunction with his touring.

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