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Fisher Center Presents Three-Time Grammy Award Winner Cécile McLorin Salvant and Pianist Dan Tepfer:
Les Belles Chansons Françaises

“She has vast, almost operatic range.” —The New Yorker
“The finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade.” —The New York Times

Eleanor Davis

Image Credit: Hector Perez
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Multiple Grammy Award–winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant returns to the Fisher Center for a special winter concert. Accompanied by Franco-American virtuoso pianist Dan Tepfer, Salvant presents the enchanting music of the French Songbook, from Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel to Serge Gainsbourg and more. A world– premiere performance presented in partnership with Catskill Jazz Factory, Les Belles Chansons Françaises will be performed on Saturday, December 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater. Tickets start at $25; for additional ticket information contact the Fisher Center box office at or call 845-758-7900.

Jazz journalist Fred Kaplan, who profiled Salvant in The New Yorker, reports that she exhibits a wide emotional range in her music, on which she holds a masterly grasp. “Her blues are blue. Her swings swing,” Kaplan says, adding that Salvant digs into a song’s words like an actress. “She finds things in a lyric that other jazz singers kind of glide by,” he says. After having sold out previous concerts at the Fisher Center, Salvant will be performing with Tepfer who has made a name as a pianist-composer of wide-ranging ambition, individuality, and drive; “a remarkable musician,” in the words of the Washington Post. 

About the Artists:
Cécile McLorin Salvant was born and raised in Miami, Florida of a French mother and a Haitian father. She started classical piano studies at age 5, and began singing in the Miami Choral Society at 8. Early on, she developed an interest in classical voice, began studying with private instructors, and later with Edward Walker, vocal teacher at the University of Miami. 

In 2007, Cécile moved to Aix-en-Provence, France, to study law as well as classical and baroque voice at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory. In Aix-en-Provence, with reedist and teacher Jean-François Bonnel, she started learning about jazz, and sang with her first band. In 2009, after a series of concerts in Paris, she recorded her first album Cécile, with Jean-François Bonnel's Paris Quintet. A year later, she won the Thelonious Monk competition in Washington, D.C.

Over the years, she has developed a curiosity for the history of American music, and the connections between jazz, vaudeville, blues, and folk music. Cécile carefully chooses her repertoire, often unearthing rarely recorded, forgotten songs with strong stories.
She performs in clubs, concert halls, and festivals. In 2014, her second album, WomanChild (Mack Avenue Records) was nominated for a Grammy. 

Her third album, For One to Love (Mack Avenue Records), was recorded in 2015 with Aaron Diehl (piano), Paul Sikivie (bass), and Lawrence Leathers (drums). For One to Love won the Grammy Award for best jazz vocal album.
Her fourth album, Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue Records), was recorded in part live at the Village Vanguard in 2016 with Aaron Diehl (piano), Paul Sikivie (bass), and Lawrence Leathers (drums), The Catalyst Quartet and Sullivan Fortner. In 2017, it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Ben Ratliff writes in The New York Times, “She sings clearly, with her full pitch range, from a pronounced low end to full and distinct high notes, used sparingly ... her voice clamps into each song, performing careful variations on pitch, stretching words but generally not scatting; her face conveys meaning, representing sorrow or serenity like a silent-movie actor.”

The New York City–based Dan Tepfer, born in 1982 in Paris to American parents, has performed with some of the leading lights in jazz, including extensively with veteran saxophone luminary Lee Konitz. As a leader, Tepfer has crafted a discography striking for its breadth and depth, ranging from probing solo improvisation and intimate duets to richly layered trio albums of original compositions. His Sunnyside/Naïve album Goldberg Variations / Variations saw the prize-winning pianist performing J. S. Bach’s masterpiece as well as improvising upon it to “build a bridge across centuries and genres” (Wall Street Journal) in “an impressive feat that keeps coming back to a hearty and abiding respect” (New York Times).

As a composer, he is a recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for works including Concerto for Piano and Winds, premiered in the Prague Castle with Tepfer on piano, and Solo Blues for Violin and Piano, premiered at Carnegie Hall. Blending his undergraduate studies in astrophysics with his passion for music, he is currently working on integrating computer-driven algorithms into his improvisational approach. Awards include first prize and audience prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, first prize at the East Coast Jazz Festival Competition, and the Cole Porter Fellowship from the American Pianists Association.

About Bard Fisher Center
Bard College has distinguished itself as a leader in the field of liberal arts and sciences for more than 150 years by providing a first-rate undergraduate education for its students. The College is known for its pioneering ideas in education, its passionate commitment to the highest standards of artistic inquiry and practice, and for its vigorous advocacy of liberty, citizenship, individual dignity, and tolerance of differences.

The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by architect Frank Gehry, illustrates the commitment of the College to bringing performing artists of the highest rank to perform and work with its students, faculty, staff and the public. Bard Fisher Center creates moments that inspire curiosity, learning, and civic participation, believing that artists are uniquely able to lead discourse on the most urgent questions of our time, and that substantial, long-term investment in artistic innovation is vital to a well-balanced society. Bard Fisher Center’s programs in opera, dance, theater, music, jazz, and cabaret, along with its world-class facilities, provide an outstanding venue in which to create and learn.

Together these institutions provide an exceptional environment for artists to create and inspire students’ thinking and practice. As a central, multivenue arts platform in our region with a core program of a trailblazing global liberal arts college, Bard Fisher realizes Bard’s commitment to the arts as a cultural and educational right for all.

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This event was last updated on 12-10-2018