January 7, 2013

Roberta Flack Sets the Night to Music in Benefit for CIM

On Saturday, January 26, Severance Hall audiences will be treated to a performance by Grammy Award-winning songstress, Roberta Flack, in a benefit concert for the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) hosted by the CIM Women's Committee.

Internationally hailed as one of the greatest songstresses of our time, Roberta Flack remains unparalleled in her ability to tell a story through her music. Decades of her songs bring insight into the lives, loves, culture and politics of her audiences, while traveling the broad musical landscape from classical, pop and soul to folk and jazz.

Ms. Flack will appear on the Severance Hall Stage with the CIM Orchestra and conductor Carl Topilow.

“What a great experience it will be for those CIM students on stage. They will have the rare opportunity of performing with one of the great and mature icons of the world of American female vocalists and one whose music is especially honest, powerful and lyrical,” said CIM President Joel Smirnoff. “My wife, Joan Kwuon and I had the honor of working on a benefit with Ms. Flack in 2002 and were both extremely moved and impressed by her discipline as a musician and performer and by her graciousness as an artist. I eagerly look forward to having our school present her in the Northeast Ohio area and to welcoming her to CIM.”

Best known for her Hot 100 #1 singles "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face," "Killing Me Softly With His Song" and "Feel Like Makin' Love," she shares with the band U2 the distinction of being the only artists ever to win the Grammy Record of the Year Award two consecutive years. This year she released a special record, Let It Be Roberta, an album of Beatles covers including "Hey Jude" and "Let It Be" in tribute to her former neighbors John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

“Ms. Flack’s recent release of new interpretations of Beatles music is stunning, displaying the familiar and enticing purity of Ms. Flack’s voice, along with imaginative settings that give these wonderful songs a new relevancy for this century,” said President Smirnoff.

Ms. Flack has broken boundaries of age and race through her wide repertoire of music. She has earned Grammys, appeared in Clint Eastwood films, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and taken tours around the world. Famed musician Les McCann said, "Her voice touched, tapped, trapped and kicked every emotion I've ever known. I laughed, cried and screamed for more...she alone had the voice." Mr. McCann arranged for Ms. Flack’s audition for Atlantic Records.

She's collaborated with award winning artists Donny Hathaway, Peabo Bryson and Maxi Priest; toured with the likes of Mile Davis and Tokyo's Japanese Symphony, and performed with Madonna, Elton John and Sting at Carnegie Hall. She even appeared with the Muppets on Sesame Street.

Celebrated by VH-1 as one of "The 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll," she has proven herself as a trailblazer and an inspiration to her fans, peers and younger musicians. Ms. Flack took an active role in response to the aftermath of 9/11. She is an outspoken participant in the Artist Empowerment Coalition and is also a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dedicated to the next generation of music, Ms. Flack founded the Hyde Leadership Chart School's after-school music program, which provides free music education to underpriviliged students in the Bronx section of New York City.

This very special benefit, which helps to fund the initiatives of the Women’s Committee (such as the Student Assistance Fund and support of CIM’s Annual Fund) includes cocktails, gourmet dinner, a silent auction and premier box and dress circle seating for the concert. Benefit tickets begin at $250. For more information, call 216.791.5000, ext. 311.

Tickets are also available for the concert only, priced at $45 and $58; they can be purchased at the Severance Hall Box Office – 216.231.1111.

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About the Cleveland Institute of Music

Since its founding in 1920, CIM has offered a world-class education to students from age 3 to 93 and provided concerts for the community. Located in University Circle, Cleveland's cultural hub, CIM is easily accessible to all music lovers. CIM graduates play important musical roles in our world as composers producing meaningful new repertoire, as eminent instrumental and vocal soloists, as world-renowned chamber musicians and as members of premier orchestras around the globe. More than half of the members of The Cleveland Orchestra are connected to CIM as members of the faculty, alumni or both. Visit cim.edu for more information.