Beloved vocalist Judy Collins will perform at St. Cecilia Music Center on Feb. 1, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. Since the 1960s, Collins has been inspiring audiences with her sublime vocals, boldly vulnerable songwriting, personal life triumphs, and a firm commitment to social activism. Five decades later, her luminescent presence still shines brightly, and we can find inspiration from her spiritual discipline to thrive in the music industry for half a century.
Collins began her impressive music career at the age of 13 as a piano prodigy dazzling audiences performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos.” But, the hard-luck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. Her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics. The focus and regimented practice of classical music, however, would be a source of strength as she navigated the highs and lows of the music business. In 1961, she released her masterful debut, “A Maid of Constant Sorrow,” which featured interpretative works of social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton. Around this time, she became a tastemaker within the thriving Greenwich Village folk community and brought other singer-songwriters to a wider audience, including poet/musician Leonard Cohen – and musicians Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. She has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with a 50-album body of work while balancing a robust touring schedule.
Collins is loved for her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from her landmark 1967 album, “Wildflowers,” has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Collins’ dreamy and intimate version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical “A Little Night Music,” won Song of the Year at the 1975 Grammy Awards. She’s garnered several top-ten hits and gold and platinum-selling albums. Recently, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Dolly Parton, Joan Baez and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album “Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.”
In June 2016 Collins released a collaborative album, “Silver Skies Blue,” with writing partner Ari Hest. “Silver Skies Blue” was GRAMMY® nominated for BEST FOLK ALBUM in 2017.
Tickets to see Judy Collins at St. Cecilia Music Center can be purchased by phone at 616-459-2224 or online at scmc-online.org. A post-concert reception is open to all ticket-holders giving the audience the opportunity to obtain CDs of her releases.