Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Don Sebesky nominated for Grammy

It’s understandable that one of the most highly respected composers and arrangers in jazz would be honored with a GRAMMY® nomination for his first composition in children’s music, as it was written as a tribute to his family. Inspired by his wife, Janina Serden’s narration of Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit as she read this favorite book to their (then) baby girls, Don Sebesky packaged his love for them into one of his most beautiful compositions, which was released in album format by Brown Barn Productions in 2007 and submitted for a GRAMMY.

With lyrics by award-winning lyricist Gloria Nissenson and narration by Serden, Tony and GRAMMY Award-winning Sebesky released “The Velveteen Rabbit – Love Can Make You Real” this year. The project started as a homemade tape for their daughters who are now 17 and 20 years old and are musical themselves. Sebesky explains, “It was in the last couple of years that we realized this musical story needed to be heard. The album is meaningful, hopeful, sweet and filled with love – all good messages about family.” Serden marvels at this nomination and is sentimental about its significance to their family. “It’s a mini-miracle that it was nominated. After all, the album was not produced by a big label, as Don is accustomed to. But it was born out of love, was a labor of love and is based on a story of love. Our music is very much like the main character of this book – the Velveteen Rabbit – who comes to life through love.”

“The Velveteen Rabbit – Love Can Make You Real” is being presented in a children’s production with a national tour that was launched in late November, 2007 and is running through 2008. The Enchantment Theatre Company uses music from the recording as the basis for their production. It is being premiered at the new Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philadelphia from December 10 through December 30, 2007. This unique production features life-size puppets, masked actors and magic and will be on tour in February, during the time of the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards, which is broadcast live from Los Angeles on Sunday, February 10, 2008, on CBS TV. Ballots are out for Academy member votes until January, 9, 2008.

The new CD may also be purchased at performances of Enchantment Theatre Company’s
“The Velveteen Rabbit” and online, where more information is available at: http://www.thevelveteenrabbitcd.com/ and/or CD Baby: DON SEBESKY, GLORIA NISSENSON, AND JANINA SERDEN: THE VELVETEEN RABBIT.

Sebesky is one of the most talented and respected composer-arrangers in music today. His sensitivity and versatility have enabled him to produce an enormous body of work, wide in scope ranging from jazz to symphonic to pop. As a recording artist, and through his collaborations with other artists he has received 29 GRAMMY nominations (three time winner), three Tony nominations (winner 2000), two Drama Desk Awards, three Emmy nominations, and four Clio Awards. He is the author of the best selling orchestration text book “The Contemporary Arranger”.
As a composer and arranger, he has worked with many artists such as Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, Wes Montgomery, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Christina Aguilera, Vanessa Williams, Britney Spears, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, Cyndi Lauper and Kevin Spacey. As a composer, arranger and conductor, he has worked with the London Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Boston Pops, Royal Philharmonic of London, New York Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony. In television, he has received three Emmy nominations for his work on shows such as Allegra’s Window/ Nickelodeon, Edge of Night/ ABC and Guiding Light/ CBS.
He has written music for films including Academy Award-nominated Time Piece with Jim Henson for Best Short Subject and on Broadway where he received the 2000 Tony Award for his orchestrations for KISS ME KATE. He has worked on numerous musicals, most recently PORGY AND BESS, SWEET CHARITY and in 2008, the revival of PAL JOEY.

Janina Serden has performed as a solo singer and pianist and as a featured artist with symphony orchestra in concerts such as "Symphonic Sondheim" and "Hope Takes Flight." Janina was music director for the Emmy-nominated children's series "Allegra's Window" on Nickelodeon. She has sung on many radio and television commercials such as G.E., Kraft, Pepsi, and DHL ("What the World Needs Now is Love"). Her CD of original songs about love, hope and transformation called "Small Inspirations" is a tribute to motherhood as well as the inspiration for a one-act play "Small Inspirations and Great Love." Songs from "Small Inspirations" are featured in a new greeting card line at WithaCardandaSong.com. She has also written music and lyrics for the new musical, "Chick Soup: A Musical Recipe for Friendship."

Award-winning lyricist, with extensive experience in children’s music, Gloria Nissenson is the perfect collaborator for this team. Her credits include recordings, theater (Broadway and off-Broadway), television and film. She has had her songs recorded by many major artists in the pop, R&B & country fields, including a top 10 Country hit, “Heavenly Bodies,” recorded by Earl Thomas Conley. Among the other artists who have recorded her songs are Vanessa Williams, Gloria Gaynor, Patti Austin, George Benson, Dave Matthews, and many more.
For more information about The Velveteen Rabbit performances by Enchantment Theatre Company, visit http://www.enchantmenttheatre.org/.

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