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Having celebrated his twentieth anniversary as Boston Pops Conductor in 2015, Keith Lockhart is the second longest-tenured conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since its founding in 1885. He took over as conductor in 1995, following John Williams's thirteen-year tenure from 1980 to 1993; Mr. Williams succeeded the legendary Arthur Fiedler, who as at the helm of the orchestra for nearly fifty years. During his tenure, Keith Lockhart has significantly expanded Pops programming, focused on national annual touring, and participated in major media events. He has solidified the orchestra's place in the fabric of the New England community and has led the Boston Pops in countless performance situations. The list of more than 250 guest artists with whom he has collaborated is a virtual "who's who" of performers and pop culture icons.
Keith Lockhart, who occupies the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor chair, has conducted more than 1,900 Boston Pops concerts, most of which have taken place during the orchestra's spring and holiday seasons in Boston's historic Symphony Hall. Mr. Lockhart has also led annual Boston Pops appearances at Tanglewood, 43 national tours to more than 150 cities in 38 states, and four international tours to Japan and Korea. He and the Pops have made 79 television shows and participated in such high-profile sporting events as Super Bowl XXXVI, the 2008 NBA finals, the 2013 Boston Red Sox Ring Ceremony, and the Red Sox Opening Day game at Fenway Park in 2009. The annual July 4 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular draws a live audience of over half a million to the Charles River Esplanade and millions more who view it on television or live webcast. Last year, with Eaton Vance as presenting sponsor and Bloomberg exclusive media partner, the Pops organization presented its first self-produced Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, which was broadcast on Bloomberg Television and all its media outlets. Both companies made initial three-year commitments to the event in 2017.
Mr. Lockhart has led eight albums on the RCA Victor/BMG Classics label, including two-The Celtic Album and The Latin Album-that earned Grammy nominations. Recent releases on Boston Pops Recordings include The Red Sox Album, A Boston Pops Christmas-Live from Symphony Hall, and The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers, which was a Boston Pops commission premiered in 2010 during the orchestra's 125th season. Released at the beginning of the 2017 Pops season, Lights, Camera…Music! Six Decades of John Williams features Keith Lockhart leading the Boston Pops in a collection of Williams compositions from the 1960s onward, some of which can be considered rarities.
Programming-wise, Keith Lockhart has put an increased focus on musical theater, attracting such leading Broadway artists as Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Kelli O'Hara, Bernadette Peters, and Billy Porter to the Pops stage. He has worked closely with hundreds of talented young musicians, including Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, college students from the Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, and area high school students. He introduced the PopSearch talent competition and the innovative JazzFest and EdgeFest series, featuring prominent jazz and indie artists performing with the Pops. He is dedicated to building and updating the Boston Pops library of music, which contains over five thousand arrangements.
With a renewed commitment to bring the Boston Pops into the Boston community and to important civic events, Keith Lockhart and the Pops have appeared at gubernatorial and mayoral inauguration ceremonies; the annual tree lighting in Boston's Public Garden; sporting events including Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics games; and the memorial service for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. He has led free concerts in such major public spaces as Boston Common and Franklin Park, and each holiday season brings members of the Pops to play for patients at Children's Hospital.
Perhaps the most significant key to Keith Lockhart's success is his ability to connect passionately with audiences through his engaging programs, his commitment to speaking directly from the stage with fascinating insights into the music, and his inherent understanding of the importance of what sets the Pops experience apart from a traditional orchestra concert-an atmosphere of music-making that is both fun and entertaining for music lovers of all ages.
Having just completed an eight-year tenure as principal conductor, Keith Lockhart is now chief guest conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in London, which he led in the June 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II; he is also artistic director of the Brevard Music Center summer institute and festival in North Carolina. Prior to his BBC appointment, he spent eleven years as music director of the Utah Symphony, which he led at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He has appeared as a guest conductor with virtually every major symphonic ensemble in North America, as well as many prestigious orchestras in Asia and Europe. Prior to coming to Boston, he was the associate conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras, as well as music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Born in Poughkeepsie, NY, Keith Lockhart began his musical studies with piano lessons at the age of seven. He holds degrees from Furman University and Carnegie Mellon University, and honorary doctorates from several American universities. Visit keithlockhart.com for further information.
Keith Lockhart, conductor
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Queen Latifah is a musician, critically acclaimed television and film actress, label president, author and entrepreneur. Latifah has had amazing success in Hollywood and became the first hip hop artist to be crowned with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006. She received rave reviews, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award nomination for her portrayal as Mama Morton in Miramax’s Chicago. She also received an Emmy nomination, a Golden Globe win and a SAG Award win for her role in Life Support.
In May 2015, Queen Latifah made her way back to the small screen earning an Emmy Award nomination, Golden Globe Award nomination, and a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for her role in Bessie, an HBO biopic that she also produced which recounts the life of singer Bessie Smith, who was also known as "The Empress of the Blues."
Queen Latifah has not just been recognized for acting: she has earned six Grammy nominations as well as a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance in 1994. In 2004, she was nominated for Best Female Rap Solo Performance for Go Head. In 2005, she was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album for The Dana Owens Album and in 2008 she was nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Trav’lin Light.
Most recently, Queen Latifah starred in Miracles from Heaven opposite Jennifer Garner in Sony’s faith-based drama and also recently took to the stage and small screen performing as the title character in NBC’s The Wiz Live! alongside Uzo Adubo, Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, Common and David Alan Grier. Queen Latifah can currently be seen in Ice Age: Collision Course which will hit theatres in July as she returns to be the voice of the Wooly Mammoth, Ellie.
She can currently be seen in Lee Daniels’ FOX series STAR. You can also see Queen Latifah in Universal Pictures’ Girl Trip alongside Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall.
Latifah made her big screen debut in Spike Lee’s 1991 film Jungle Fever. She starred in Set it Off,and co-starred with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito in the critically acclaimed Living Out Loud. Following Chicago, she starred in and executive-produced the box office hit Bringing Down the House. Her additional film credits include The Secret Life of Bees, alongside Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Dakota Fanning; Neil Meron and Craig Zadan’s Hairspray; Mad Money, opposite Diane Keaton and Katie Homes; Just Wright; Joyful Noise; The Last Holiday; and Beauty Shop. She also starred in and executive-produced the cable movie Life Support. And the TV movie adaptation of Steel Magnolias.
From 1993-1998, Latifah starred in the network comedy Living Single. From 2013-2014, she was the host of The Queen Latifah Show, which she produced with partner Shakim Compere and Overbrook Entertainment’s Will Smith, Jada Smith and James Lassiter.
In September 2013, Queen Latifah became the host of her very own talk show which she produced with partner Shakim Compere, and Overbrook Entertainment’s Will Smith, Jada Smith and James Lassiter. In September 2014, The Queen Latifah Show premiered for its second and final season.
And then there’s Flavor Unit Entertainment, a production company owned and operated by Queen Latifah and her partner, Shakim Compere and is quickly establishing itself as one of the most important production companies in the film industry. They began by executive producing Disney’s box office # 1 hit Bringing Down the House and then continued with Beauty Shop for MGM and The Perfect Holiday for Paramount. They have also produced The Cookout with Lionsgate, as well as the film Just Wright with Fox Searchlight. On the small screen, they executive produced HBO’s critically acclaimed film Life Support which garnered a number of awards including an Emmy nomination and Golden Globe win for Queen Latifah. Flavor Unit also co-produced HBO’s original movie Bessie. Most recently, they produced The Real MVP: The Wanda Pratt Story, The Best Place to Be; Curvy Style with Timothy Snell, and The Perfect Match, and The Rap Game. Flavor Unit also recently produced VH1’s one-hour special event Dear Mama which premiered on Mother’s Day, shining the spotlight on mothers. VH1 recently renewed Dear Mama as an annual special.
From Newark, NJ, Latifah currently resides in Los Angeles.