Composer/songwriter Cole Porter was one of the greatest contributors to the great American songbook. His numerous songs remain as popular today as they were when first published. He began writing songs as a student at Yale back in 1909 and continued composing until his death in 1964.
The Boston Pops, under the baton of concert master Keith Lockhart, will play a ‘Tribute to Cole Porter’ on March 19, at the Arsht Center in downtown Miami. Their repertoire will include Porter songs “Night and Day,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” What is This Thing Called Love,” “It’s Delovely” and “Begin the Beguine.”
The Pop’s performance will be thrilling. Under Lockhart’s guidance, the Pops has added his artistic vision to the orchestra. He introduced the innovative JazzFest and EdgeFest series to the Boston Pops. These featured prominent jazz and indie artists Chick Corea, Dianne Reeves, Guster, My Morning Jacket and Natalie Merchant. Lockhart has also led the Pops in collaboration with the Tanglewood Music Center’s performances of Roger and Hammerstein’s Carousel and Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. This reflects his passionate commitment to the music of the Broadway stage.
In a bow to that stage, this program will include Broadway chanteuse Kelli O’Hara and actor Jason Danieley. O’Hara credits include her Tony nominated role in South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza, and the Pajama Game. (Following the concert, she will have to hurry back to New York to perform on March 21st with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the Avery Fisher Hall). Danieley most recently starred on Broadway in Next to Normal. Other theatre credits include The Full Monty, Candide, Strike Up the Band, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Floyd Collins. He also played Lt. Joe Cable in the Emmy nominated airing of PBS Great Performances‘ South Pacific at Carnegie Hall.
Cole Porter also wrote the music for several successful musical comedies such as “Night and Day,” “I Get a Kick out of You” and “I’ve Got You Under my Skin.” However, his 1934 Broadway musical Jubilee and its song “Begin the Beguine”
After languishing in apparent obscurity, bandleader/ clarinetist Artie Shaw resuscitated “Begin the Beguine.” “I’m glad to finally meet my collaborator,” Cole remarked to Shaw when they met. It was Shaw’s creation of a musical octet in 1936 that introduced, what he considered, a bridge between jazz and classical music. The influence of avant-garde symphonic composers Stravinsky, Debussy, Bartok and Ravel were apparent. Shaw’s rendition of “Begin the Beguine” rendered it one of the best selling songs ever.
At Saturday’s concert, with the full sound of the Boston Pops Orchestra, Keith Lockhart will pay Tribute to Cole Porter by propelling his songs and “Begin the Beguine” to new heights.
The Boston Pops perform “You’ll Get a Kick Out of Cole” at the Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on March 19. For info call 305.949.6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org/tickets.
Click on link to video of Boston Pops: