The holidays are Rob Mathes' favorite time of year - they are the time that Mathes returns home to the Greenwich, Connecticut, area and performs his annual Holiday Concert.
This year's concerts are December 14 and 15 at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, and December 16 at the Schimmel Center in New York City. All three concerts are sold out and will feature Rob Mathes, his all-star band, his choir of "Saints and Friends" and special guests Sting, Vanessa Williams and David Sanborn who will join Rob for a few holiday-themed songs at the Performing Arts Center. Sting and Vanessa Williams will also join Mathes at the Schimmel Center on Sunday for a few songs.
Emmy-winning and Grammy, Tony, and Drama Desk Award-nominated Rob Mathes has spent the past year working with a variety of artists, including Tony and Oscar-winning composers Pasek and Paul (Dear Evan Hansen and La La Land) and star Hugh Jackman, orchestrating and conducting the song score for the worldwide smash The Greatest Showman, which has taken the world by storm. He just did a new orchestration for the Pop companion record featuring Pink and others. Rob wrote all the horn and string arrangements for Panic At The Disco's album Pray For The Wicked, released last spring, which went to number one. Rob is currently working on a project with the band Train and also musically directed and supervised a reading of a new musical by Elvis Costello. He produced a record of Sondheim material Sondheim Sublime for the wonderful singer Melissa Errico which The New York Times have recommended as a “Holiday Pick." He also orchestrated and supervised the UK version of Sting's The Last Ship, which garnered rave reviews and will be in Toronto in the new year. Rob also produced a record by a very gifted singer-songwriter named Pete Muller.
"With all of the traveling I do, coming home for the holiday season and performing this concert is truly my most cherished time of the year," noted Rob Mathes. “It’s amazing to me that it was 25 years ago, at a church on a hill in Connecticut, where we performed the first Rob Mathes Holiday Concert. I had gathered together a bunch of brilliant musical friends to play the holiday music I had written over the years, and since then, the concert has become a tradition. It has become the center of my musical year at my favorite time of year. Now we have a loyal fan base and we are celebrating. This 25th year of ringing in the holidays will be extra noteworthy with some special guests joining me on stage for a song or two. Sting, Vanessa Williams and David Sanborn, will grace us with a few of their favorite holiday songs. I have been honored to work with Sting on a variety of projects, including co-producing his album Symphonicities and orchestrating his Broadway show The Last Ship. I am beyond excited that he is able to help us celebrate 25 years of performing this concert. Vanessa has been instrumental in helping launch my career and I’ve had the honor of working with her on her own holiday music. David joined us a few years ago when we taped the concert for PBS and I’m thrilled to have him back with us this year. Happy holidays.”
Rob Mathes' all-star musicians include instrumentalists from the Late Show with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live and groups like the Rolling Stones, and features Will Lee (bass), Billy Masters (guitar), Joe Bonadio and Shawn Pelton (percussion), Rick Knutsen (keyboards), Jeff Kievit (first trumpet), Don Harris (second trumpet), Andy Snitzer (tenor sax), Aaron Heick (alto sax), Mike Davis (trombone), and Jeff Nelson (bass trombone). He is also joined by vocalists James “D Train” Williams and Cindy Mizelle. The concerts are a combination of rock, jazz, and blues – original tunes and holiday classics that will put the audience in the spirit of the season. And this year being Rob's 25th anniversary, he will have some additional musicians on stage to really make it special.
Sting is one of the world's most distinctive solo artists, having received a total of 16 Grammy Awards, four Brits, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, four Oscar nominations and was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. As a composer, singer-songwriter, actor, author, and activist, he was born in Newcastle, England, before moving to London in 1977 to form The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. Also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he has received the Kennedy Center Honors, The American Music Award of Merit and The Polar Music Prize. Sting has been awarded Honorary Doctorates of Music by the University of Northumbria (1992), Berklee College of Music (1994), the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (2006) and most recently, from Brown University at its 250th Commencement ceremony (2018). Following his critically-acclaimed album, 57th & 9th, his first rock/pop collection in over a decade, Sting and reggae star, Shaggy released a collaborative, island-influenced album, entitled 44/876, that draws from the many surprising connections at the heart of their music. This summer, the iconic duo embarked on a tour in Europe where the two Grammy Award-winning artists performed their most celebrated hits as well as songs off their new album, together, combining members of their respective bands. The 44/876 World Tour also traveled through North America, South America and Eastern Europe. Throughout his illustrious career, Sting has sold close to 100 million albums from his combined work with The Police and as a solo artist.
Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry today. Having sold millions of records worldwide, Vanessa has also scored numerous #1 and Top 10 hits on various Billboard Album and Singles charts: Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel and Jazz. Her critically acclaimed work in film, television, recordings and the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliate including 4 Emmy nominations, 11 Grammy nominations, a Tony nomination, 3 SAG award nominations, 7 NAACP Image Awards and 3 Satellite Awards.
David Sanborn is a six-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, composer and arranger. He has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum album. A pioneer of contemporary jazz, he is also a prolific session man in pop, R&B, blues, funk and jazz. His solos have graced records by popular artists as diverse as Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, Bobby Charles, Roger Waters, Esther Phillips, James Brown, Ween, and a hundred more.
This year’s Rob Mathes Holiday Concerts support the non-profit photo project that is close to Rob’s heart, Through the Eyes of Children which teaches photography to vulnerable youth throughout the world. To learn more about Rob Mathes, visit robmathes.com or facebook.com/robmathesmusic.
For information on the concerts, contact the Performing Arts Center at 914-251-6200 or the Schimmel Center at 212-346-1715.
Rob Mathes photo credit: Rob Mathes Music
Sting photo credit: Eric Ryan Anderson
David Sanborn photo credit: Scott Chernis
Vanessa Williams photo credit: Rod Spicer