LEGENDARY MICHEL LEGRAND LIVE IN CONCERT WITH SENSATIONAL MARIO PELCHAT AND SPECIAL GUEST STAR DIONNE WARWICK
November 15-21, 2009
Strathmore Hall, Music Center at Strathmore, Washington, DC
Boston Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York
After a sold-out tour in Canada, legendary French-Armenian virtuoso pianist, composer, and multiple Oscar winner MICHEL LEGRAND will be playing a rare New York engagement, joined by Québec sensation MARIO PELCHAT, whose velvet and sexy voice is familiar from the Nôtre Dame de Paris, and accompanied by a quartet of brilliant musicians, including CATHERINE MICHEL (harp), soloist of Opéra de Paris. Special Guest Star in NYC and Boston: five times Grammy Award Winner Dionne Warwick. The concert is a mixture of classical movie hits by Maestro Legrand, built around romance and nostalgia of French ‘chanson’.
It is difficult to pin the multi-talented Michel Legrand down into one single category: this amazingly versatile virtuoso pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, producer, singer, 3-time Oscar winner (out of 13 nominations) and 5-time Grammy winner, Michel Legrand has been astonishing audiences since the 1950s, when his very first album, I Love Paris, became one of the best selling instrumental albums ever released. An international star, who has won as much respect in the States as he has in Europe, Legrand is an insatiable musician whose creativity and ambition appear to know no bounds.
He has composed over 200 film scores (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Thomas Crown Affair, Yentl, and The Three Musketeers to name a few)and television scores (from Lady Sings The Blues to Wuthering Heights to Ice Station Zebra), several musicals (including the Broadway-bound French hit, Le Passe Muraille), and made well over a hundred albums. His long-time collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman has resulted in such memorable songs as: “What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life?,” “The Windmills of Your Mind”, named one of America’s Greatest Movie Songs by the American Film Institute, “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?”
He has worked with Maurice Chevalier, Miles Davis, Kiri Te Kanawa, Edith Piaf, Johnny Mathis, Neil Diamond, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Aretha Franklin, Jack Jones, James Galway, Ray Charles, Arturo Sandoval, Lena Horne, and Barbra Streisand, to name just a few. His songs have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Cleo Laine, Nina Simone, Henry Mancini, Tony Bennett, and Rosemary Clooney, among others.
Mario Pelchat and Michel Legrand worked together on an eponymous album, released in March 2009, where Pelchat interpreted Legrand’s world-famous songs, after which the pair played a sensational shows in Paris. The chemistry was such a success, that Canadian tour was launched.The songs from this new album will premiere at Lincoln Center.
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Monday, November 23, 2009
Michel Legrand Live in Concert at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall
Review by Linda Amiel Burns
With Mario Pelchat and Special Guest Star Dionne Warwick
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Michel Legrand is a music legend having been honored in his long and illustrious career with 3 Oscars (13 nominations), 5 Grammys, a BAFTA and Golden Globe to name a few. This one-night-only sold out concert at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, following a Canadian tour, attested to his popularity. The multi-talented Michel Legrand is a masterly pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, producer and singer and has been astounding audience since the 1950’s “tearing down the barriers between jazz, classical music and easy listening and is at home in any musical situation.”
This was clear as he walked on to the stage with no introduction to a thunderous applause and sat down at the Steinway Concert Grand piano surrounded by musicians Luc Catellier on Drums, Jimmy Lahaie on Guitar, and Gregory Morency on Doublebass. They began with a jazz instrumental of some of Mr. Legrand’s most beautiful melodies including, “Watch What Happens” and “You Must Believe in Spring.” He sang a moving rendition of one of his most popular and beautiful songs “What Are you Doing The Rest of Your Life?” (lyrics: The Bergmans) from a film that was not a hit called The Happy Ending. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to understand Mr. Legrand when he spoke, as the problem seemed to be in the sound system, along with his strong French accent. I was wishing for subtitles.
A highlight of the evening was the introduction of Catherine Michel, a world-class harpist, who played a gorgeous medley of the songs from Yentl with Mr. Legrand on piano. You rarely see harp soloists these days and can understand why Ms. Michel “with her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship, and extraordinary technique” is recognized as one of the most distinguished harpists in Europe. Next to be introduced was Mario Pelchat, a star in Canada with a long list of international credits who sang “The Summer of 42” and a duet with Dionne Warwick of “How Do You Keep The Music Playing” with great singing but not much chemistry between them. Dionne Warwick stood behind the piano and looked as if she was reading the lyrics while singing “Nobody Knows The Sound of My Voice” and then sang a duet with Michel Legrand of “I Will Wait For You” from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. The concert ended with Dionne, Mario and Michel performing one of Legrand’s greatest songs, “The Windmills of Your Mind” from The Thomas Crown Affair that was named one of America’s Greatest Movie Songs by AFI in 2004. All in all, it was a wonderful concert and an honor to be in attendance to hear this master of song, the legendary Michel Legrand, playing virtuoso piano of his own lush melodies accompanied by fine musicians and renowned singers.
Venue: Strathmore Hall, Music Center at Strathmore
The Music Center at Strathmore, a 2,000 seat state-of-the-art concert hall, brings world-class performances and arts education to Montgomery County, Maryland. Strathmore holds performances by major national artists including folk, blues, pop, jazz, show tunes, and classical music. The Music Center at Strathmore provides top-notch acoustics for classical, pops, holiday and summer concerts. The Music Center at Strathmore opened its doors in February, 2005.