For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephanie Janes PR, (617) 419-0445, stephanie@stephaniejanespr.com 

Celebrity Series of Boston
Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director
Presents

Bobby McFerrin

Sunday, March 1, 2020, 3pm — Symphony Hall 

McFerrin high-res photo | McFerrin video preview

Celebrity Series Press Room

(Boston) Celebrity Series of Boston will present vocalist Bobby McFerrin on Sunday, March 1, 2020, at 3pm at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA. This performance is generously sponsored in part by Julia Byers & Steven Holtzman. Media partner is 99.5 WCRB.

Tickets start at $45 and are available online at www.celebrityseries.org, by calling (617) 482-6661 Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., or at Symphony Hall’s Box Office, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA.

This concert marks the seventh Celebrity Series performance for Bobby McFerrin; he made his debut in 2001 and was seen most recently in 2013 in an all-gospel program, “Spirit You All.”

For decades Bobby McFerrin has broken all the rules. The 10-time Grammy winner has blurred the distinction between pop music and fine art, goofing around barefoot in the world’s finest concert halls, exploring uncharted vocal territory, inspiring a whole new generation of a cappella singers and the beatbox movement. His latest album, spirityouall, is a bluesy, feel-good recording, an unexpected move from the music-industry rebel who singlehandedly redefined the role of the human voice with his a cappella hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” his collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea and the Vienna Philharmonic, his improvising choir Voicestra, and his legendary solo vocal performances.

It’s been the quietest and most polite of revolutions. Bobby McFerrin was always an unlikely pop star. He created a lasting ear-worm of a #1 hit early in his career. Then he calmly went back to pursuing his own iconoclastic musical journey, improvising on national television, singing melodies without words, spontaneously inventing parts for 60,000 choral singers in a stadium in Germany, ignoring boundaries of genre, defying all expectations. Most people don’t know that Bobby came from a family of singers. Bobby’s father, the Metropolitan Opera baritone Robert McFerrin, Sr., provided the singing voice for Sydney Poitier for the film version of Porgy & Bess, and his mother Sara was a fine soprano soloist and voice teacher. Bobby grew up surrounded by music of all kinds. He remembers conducting Beethoven on the stereo at three, hiding under the piano while his father and mother coached young singers, dancing around the house to Louie Armstrong, Judy Garland, Etta Jones and Fred Astaire. He played the clarinet seriously as a child, but he began his musical career as a pianist, at the age of 14. He led his own jazz groups, studied composition, toured with the show band for the Ice Follies, played for dance classes. Then one day he was walking home and suddenly he understood that he had been a singer all along.

Bobby’s history as an instrumentalist and bandleader is key to understanding his innovative approach to mapping harmony and rhythm (as well as melody) with his voice. “I can’t sing everything at once,” he says, “but I can hint at it so the audience hears even what I don’t sing.” All that pioneer spirit and virtuosity has opened up a great big sky full of new options for singers; so have Bobby’s experiments in multi-tracking his voice (Don’t Worry, Be Happy has seven separate, over-dubbed vocal tracks; Bobby’s choral album VOCAbuLarieS (with Roger Treece) has thousands). 

But virtuosity isn’t the point. “I try not to “perform” onstage,” says Bobby. “I try to sing the way I sing in my kitchen, because I just can’t help myself. I want audiences to leave the theatre and sing in their own kitchens the next morning. I want to bring audiences into the incredible feeling of joy and freedom I get when I sing. “

Program to be announced from the stage.

About Celebrity Series of Boston  

Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. The Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers–from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more–to Boston’s major concert halls for 81 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience—on stages, on streets, in neighborhoods–everywhere.

Celebrity Series of Boston is grateful to our 2019-20 Season Sponsors Amy & Joshua Boger, and to the many individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies whose support helps fulfill our mission to present performing artists who inspire and enrich our community. Institutional supporters include the Barr Foundation through its ArtsAmplified initiative, The Boston Foundation, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, The Catered Affair, Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Deloitte LLP, D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., Foley & Lardner LLP, Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals, Liberty Mutual Foundation, The Klarman Family Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Outside the Box: A Production of the Boston Arts Summer Institute, Cynthia and John S. Reed Foundation, Royal Little Family Foundation, Stifler Family Foundation, Anonymous, and many others. celebrityseries.org