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Born in Chicago, conductor/pianist/composer Charles Floyd began studying piano at age four, gave his first solo recital at age nine, and by age twenty had been heard in solo recital, chamber music, and concerto performances throughout the United States and Spain. His mentors include pianists Joseph Schwartz, the late Aube Tzerko, Howard Karp, Lee Luvisi, and Misha Dichter. As a conductor, he has led more than 500 orchestras since 1991, during which time his podium work caught the special attention of conductors James DePreist and Seiji Ozawa. He has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Detroit, Oregon, Saint Louis, Philadelphia, Buffalo, San Francisco, Chicago, and Baltimore, as well as with the Scottish National Radio Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Auckland Symphony, Wellington Sinfonia (New Zealand), Honolulu Symphony, London Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony (Alberta, Canada), and the Holland Symfonia (Haarlem and Amsterdam, The Netherlands). During the 2003-04 season, he appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in four different programs, and in July 2004 made his Brooklyn Philharmonic debut at Carnegie Hall. A regular guest conductor of the Boston Pops for more than twenty years, he leads the annual “Gospel Night at Pops” at Symphony Hall. His work in the 1996 season included a PBS telecast of Evening at Pops featuring Patti LaBelle and Edwin Hawkins, and critically acclaimed performances as pianist of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue under Keith Lockhart. Mr. Floyd’s programs have featured such artists as Grace Bumbry, Harolyn Blackwell, Sting, Elton John, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Matt Lauer, the Paratore Brothers, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Holliday, Daryl Coley, Kirk Franklin, Doc Severinsen, Sergio Mendes, Chris Botti, Stevie Wonder, Wynona Judd, William Warfield, and Edwin Hawkins. In 1998 he was music director for PBS’s A Cathedral Christmas, with Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. His eleven-year partnership with singer Natalie Cole included such projects as the multiple Grammy Award-winning tribute to Nat King Cole entitled Unforgettable, With Love, the Emmy Award-winning PBS “Great Performances” concert video of the same title, as well as the Grammy-winning releases Take a Look and Stardust. Charles Floyd’s compositions range from chamber music to large orchestral and vocal works. A tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, One Man’s Dream for narrator and orchestra, was commissioned and premiered by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in 2001. His Four Spirituals for soprano and orchestra was premiered at Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in 1995, and his oratorio Hosanna for gospel chorus and orchestra premiered here in 2000. The 2012 “Gospel Night” program featured the Boston premiere of his cello concerto, with Boston Symphony cellist Owen Young as soloist. In July 2005 Charles Floyd conducted Howard Shore’s The Lord Of The Rings Symphony at the request of the Oscar-winning film composer. In January 2009 he was the conductor for “We Are One,” the pre-inaugural celebration for President Barack Obama at the Lincoln Memorial.
Charles Floyd, conductor
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The best-selling and most-awarded female gospel artist of all
time, CeCe Winans has long since cemented her status as one of the
most accomplished and celebrated women in modern music history.
It'd be easy to look back and rest on such illustrious laurels, but
Winans has always had her eyes fixed firmly on the future, so it
should come as little surprise that she jumped at the opportunity
when her son, Alvin Love III, proposed she record the
generation-bridging new album 'Let Them Fall In Love.' Her first in
nearly a decade, the record finds Winans returning to the studio
with gusto, working for roughly three years to craft her most
confident, adventurous collection yet.
Recording and performing as both a solo artist and as a duo with
her brother BeBe, CeCe has influenced a generation of gospel and
secular vocalists over the course of her astonishing career. Her
mantel today holds a staggering 10 GRAMMY Awards, 20 Dove Awards,
and 7 Stellar Awards. She's been inducted into the Gospel Music
Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Nashville Music
City Walk of Fame, in addition to being named a Trailblazer of Soul
by BMI and garnering multiple NAACP Image Awards, Soul Train
Awards, Essence Awards, and more. She's sold in excess of 5 million
albums in the US, topping the Gospel charts repeatedly while
crossing over with smashes like "Count On Me," her stunning duet
with Whitney Houston from the multi-platinum 'Waiting To Exhale'
soundtrack, which sold 2 million copies and cracked the Top 10 on
the Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary charts. She touched
millions more with inspirational performances everywhere from Oprah
to The White House, and even showed off her acting chops on
television series like '7th Heaven' and 'Doc'.
While collaborating with family is nothing new for Winans, the
recording sessions for 'Let Them Fall In Love" found the Detroit
native working for the very first time with her son in the
"Alvin shared with me a vision that he had of a record that was
bold and a little different than anything I'd ever done before,"
remembers Winans. "When I heard the songs he'd been writing, I got
so excited. He has great ears and great style and a unique way of
writing and thinking things through. It made it extra special that
two generations of family were able to come together on this
Bringing together generations is Winans' specialty, and she drew
inspiration for the album from her extensive work with the young
men and women who attend the church she and her husband founded in
"It's really important to me to share where I've been and to
encourage young people to understand that they can go even
further," reflects Winans. "I wanted to make an album that ties us
together, something that young people would be able to learn from
and be inspired by."
Written primarily by Alvin and co-produced by Alvin along with
Winans' long-time collaborator Tommy Sims (Garth Brooks, Michael
McDonald, Bonnie Raitt), 'Let Them Fall In Love' was mixed by Dae
Bennett (Tony Bennett, Amy Whinehouse, Olivia Newton John) and
Jimmy Douglass (Pharrell Williams, Micheal Buble). The album,
recorded both in Nashville and New York City, finds Winans more
confident than ever before, merging eras and genres in a glorious
blend of past and present that simultaneously recalls the heyday of
Motown and still sounds undeniably modern. Big band horns meet
strings from the Nashville String Machine as Winans' soaring voice
hits new heights, fueled in part by the encouragement and
motivation of her son.
"Alvin was hard on me in the studio," remembers Winans. "He'd
really work me during the songs, and I knew that was a good thing
because it meant he was pressing me to get the best performances
possible. Now I listen back and I know he was right. It was so
important to get the right interpretation of each song."
Winans is able to inhabit each song on the record so fully in
part because she's lived their stories. She describes album opener
"He's Never Failed Me Yet" as "my personal testimony," "Run To Him"
as her frequent act of refuge, and "Marvelous" as a musical
embodiment of the black church. On "Hey Devil!," she's joined by
fellow gospel powerhouses The Clark Sisters for a playful rebuke of
temptation, while "Peace From God" is a prayer for light in an
increasingly dark world, and "Lowly" is a lesson about pride and
humility aimed at the young men who might need it most. WinansÆ
eclectic ability shines through on the pedal steel country waltz of
"Why Me," a song she discovered when she was invited to perform it
live with its writer, Kris Kristofferson.
"I ended up getting sick and I couldn't perform it with him at
the show, but my son heard it and knew it would be perfect for the
album," explains Winans. "It's so different for me in this whole
new field of country music, but it spoke to my heart and I felt
like it was written just for me."
On the album's other cover, "Dancing in The Spirit," Winans is
joined by Hezekiah Walker and his choir for a jubilant celebration,
while "Never Have To Be Alone" finds her taking a far more somber
approach, singing to the young members of her congregation. It's
the album's closer and title track, though, that seems to light
Winans up more than any other.
"That was the first song for this album and I knew right away
that I wanted the record to be named 'Let Them Fall In Love,'" she
explains. "I told my son that it had to be the heartbeat of the
album. There's a lot of different styles and a lot of strong
messages on there, but all of them are to bring us to this point.
It's why I came back and recorded another album, to express my
heart and my desire that people young and old can listen and fall
in love with the higher power, fall in love with love, and fall in
love with faith and joy and peace.
CeCe Winans, special guest