Peter Nero and the Philly Pops® celebrates the magic of movie music with Hooray for Hollywood! This special concert event honors the captivating movie music that has the uncanny ability to transport us to another place and time. With the Academy Award-winning scores of epic films and songs from dazzling Hollywood musicals, Jodi Benson (best known for her luminous performance in Disney's The Little Mermaid), Keith Buterbaugh, and The Voices of The POPS join Peter and The POPS for an evening that will have everyone singing "Hooray for Hollywood!"
Performances of Hooray for Hollywood! take place May 10 at 3:00 p.m., May 13 at 8:00 p.m., May 15 at 8:00 p.m., May 16 at 3:00 p.m., and May 17 at 3:00 p.m.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops celebrates its 30th anniversary in the 2008-09 season. Since its inception in 1979, it has become one of America's premier pops orchestras, entertaining regularly sold-out audiences with an eclectic blend of jazz, classical, rock 'n' roll, big band, Broadway, and movie music with an impressive array of guest artists. The 2008-09 30th anniversary season is no exception, complete with the sounds of Broadway, Frank Sinatra, jazz, Hollywood, and other popular favorites.
"If the perfect pops conductor could be conjured, ... he might answer to this description," wrote Philadelphia Inquirer music critic Peter Dobrin. "Huge talent with polymath abilities and catholic tastes. Musician who actually enjoys giving audiences what they want. Plays piano like a dream. ... [H]e might look something like Peter Nero."
"Nero ... plays with the energy of a 20-year-old rock and roll drummer," noted the Palm Beach Daily News on March 26, 2008. "His Juilliard training shows in the cleanliness of his technique and in his control of the tone of the piano. His technical arsenal includes brilliant passage work, rapid bass lines, arpeggio-like figures ascending and descending, and subtle dynamic variations. His fast playing is thrilling, and his slow playing is marked by a beautiful lyricism."
"Nero's love for the idiom, of course, couldn't be clearer, and it's hard to fault his touch, tone production and technical facility, all bespeaking a high level of achievement," said David Adler of the Philadelphia Inquirer of Nero during a recent solo performance in April 2008.
"At a Pops concert, it's easy to get swept away by the crash of the orchestra or the dazzle of a guest artist, yet when Mr. Nero sits down to do what he does best, we can appreciate that all these things originate from the man on the piano bench," wrote Lindsay Warner of the Bulletin.
A two-time Grammy®-Award winner and 10-time nominee, Mr. Nero has built an impressive career as a conductor, arranger, composer, and master pianist. For his ability to pick just the right material, he most recently was dubbed "Dr. Feelgood." Named "the epitome of the Pops Conductor/Performer" by the Washington Post, Mr. Nero won the Grammy® Award for "Best New Artist" in 1961, another in 1962 for Best Performance and Arrangement by an Instrumentalist, and since that time has garnered 10 additional nominations and released 68 albums. He also possesses an Emmy for his participation in the NBC special "S'Wonderful, S'Marvelous, S'Gershwin," with Jack Lemmon as host.
Mr. Nero's recent guest performances include engagements with the Indianapolis Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, the Charlotte Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Baltimore Symphony, among others. On January 27, 2007, he performed at the Academy of Music 150th Anniversary Concert, joining rock icon Rod Stewart from the piano on "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Maestro Nero was a guest soloist on Mr. Stewart's second of four recordings, As Time Goes By ... The Great American Songbook, Vol. 2. Mr. Nero has made numerous television appearances on national networks as well as PBS. He is the recipient of six honorary doctorates and in 1999 received the Pennsylvania Distinguished Arts Award.
One of America's premier pops orchestras, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops was founded in 1979 under the musical leadership of Peter Nero, whose unique talents and innovative programming blending all musical genres have made their concerts widely popular in the pops world. POPS concerts run the gamut from great classics to jazz improvisation, big band to Broadway hits, ragtime to rock 'n' roll. Mr. Nero's participation as piano soloist has been received with boundless enthusiasm and acclaim. Guest artists-both established stars as well as outstanding new vocalists from Broadway and the concert stage-join The POPS each season. The Voices of The POPS, the resident vocal group, has become a member of the Philly Pops family as well.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops is the Official Pops Orchestra of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a significant part of Philadelphia's cultural scene. The POPS has produced continuously growing and loyal audiences and performs to regularly sold-out crowds as a resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
Peter Nero and the Philly Pops has played a role in the City of Philadelphia's Fourth of July celebration for over 25 years. On July 3, 2008, for the fifth consecutive year, Peter and The POPS performed a free outdoor concert in front of Independence Hall. This immensely popular annual event, which includes a musical tribute to all branches of the armed forces, draws thousands of attendees. This year's concert also featured Peter and The POPS performing music for the wedding of premier historic re-enactors Ralph Archbold and Linda Wilde, better known to Philadelphians as Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross. On July 4, 2006, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops performed a free outdoor concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Their concert on the Parkway the previous Independence Day, featuring Sir Elton John, Patti LaBelle, and Bryan Adams, reached over a half million people. Other notables who have joined them for past city celebrations include James Earl Jones, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Ray Charles, Boyz II Men, and Dionne Warwick.