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Melody Gardot and The New York Pops to Launch SummerStage 2010 6/1

The New York Pops kicks off the summer with celebrated American jazz singer Melody Gardot on the opening night of Central Park SummerStage. This FREE concert, conducted by New York Pops Music Director Steven Reineke, will open the summer-long festival on Tuesday, June 1 in Central Park's Rumsey Playfield.

No tickets or reservations are necessary. Enter Central Park at 69th Street and 5th Avenue. Doors open at 7:00 PM and the concert begins at 8:00 PM. Picnickers on blankets are welcome and concessions are available for purchase.

City Parks Foundation celebrates the 25th birthday of its flagship free performing arts festival, SummerStage, in 2010 by extending programming beyond Central Park. Over 100 culturally-diverse music, dance, word, film, comedy and theater programs have been scheduled in 16 parks throughout the five boroughs, from June 1 until August 29. This season highlights major New York artistic movements of Harlem Renaissance, Hip Hop, Salsa and others; in addition to The New York Pops, featured free performances include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The xx, Public Enemy, Comedy Central's The Daily Show, St. Vincent, McCoy Tyner, Living Colour and many more.

This program is generously supported by Robert Pohly and Julie Turaj with additional support from the Music Performance Fund. The concert continues a decade-long tradition of New York Pops concerts at Central Park SummerStage and the second year in a row opening the festival.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Melody Gardot's route to music has been an unconventional and often arduous one. Growing up in Philadelphia, she began taking music lessons at age nine, and was playing piano in local lounges by the time she was 16, although she didn't think of music as anything more than a hobby at the time. After being hit by a car and severely injured when she was 19, music became a key therapeutic element in her lengthy recovery process. Though music became an integral element of Gardot's recovery, it also became an outlet for self-expression. This young chanteuse's songs offer deeply compelling evocations of love, loss and heartache, while her voice offers a level of emotional authority and technical fluency that one would normally expect from a veteran performer. She draws upon elements of jazz, blues, folk and country, with expressive vocals that are both sensitive and seductive. Her breakthrough album, My One and Only Thrill, has sold almost one million copies worldwide and was nominated for three Grammy awards. Melody has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, The Late Show with David Letterman and National Public Radio. For more information, visit www.melodygardot.com.

The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States, and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music. Led by Music Director Steven Reineke, the orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall, enjoying one of their highest subscription renewal rates. The New York Pops was founded by former NBC Music Director Skitch Henderson in 1983 with a mission to create greater public awareness and appreciation of America's rich musical heritage. Along with performing at Carnegie Hall, The New York Pops tours throughout the world and gives free concerts in New York City parks. The orchestra's media projects include performing music for the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular on NBC since 2005, nationwide radio broadcasts, and numerous recordings. The New York Pops' extensive education programs allow thousands of public schoolchildren to participate in concert and music-making experiences at Carnegie Hall and in schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. For more information, visit www.newyorkpops.org

Steven Reineke began his tenure as Music Director of The New York Pops in the 2009-2010 season. Mr. Reineke conducts the orchestra's annual concert series at Carnegie Hall as well as tours, recordings, and nationwide telecasts, including the annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular on NBC Television. Mr. Reineke is also Principal Pops Conductor of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra and the Modesto Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he holds the title of Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, where for fifteen years he served as a composer, arranger, and conducting protégé of the late celebrated pops conductor Erich Kunzel. Steven Reineke's notable conducting appearances include his Hollywood Bowl debut in 2007, his Carnegie Hall debut conducting The New York Pops in 2008, and his Boston Pops and Philadelphia Orchestra debuts in 2009. Mr. Reineke is also an established symphonic composer, with the most recent performances of his works by the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic.

City Parks Foundation (CPF) is the only independent, nonprofit organization to offer park programs throughout the five boroughs of New York City. CPF works in over 750 parks citywide, presenting a broad range of free arts, sports, and education programs, and empowering citizens to support their parks on a local level. Their programs and community building initiatives reach more than 600,000 people each year, contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods throughout New York City.

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