from vocal innovator and improviser to director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and back

A 10-time Grammy Award winner, he is the world's foremost vocal innovator and improviser, a highly sought after classical conductor and a passionate spokesman for music education, not to mention the creator of one of the catchiest songs of the 20th century, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" His collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea, the Vienna Philharmonic and Herbie Hancock have established him as an ambassador of both the classical and jazz worlds.

Born to opera singer parents in New York in 1950, was vibrating in song long before he saw the light of day. His father was the first African American male soloist at the Metropolitan Opera. At home, his parents would sing, teach and entertain guests with jazz standards. McFerrin, who was taking music theory lessons by age 6, mischievously enjoyed hiding under the piano while his dad was teaching, listening to the strange dulcimer-like poundings of notes from beneath the soundboard. Growing up, he learned piano, clarinet and flute.

It wasn't until age 27 that he was suddenly struck with the idea of being a singer. Soon after, he was inspired by the completely improvised solo concerts of pianist Keith Jarrett.

In 1983, however, when he did his first tour of Europe as an unaccompanied vocalist, he did in fact walk out on stage with absolutely nothing prepared. By '88, he had a solid following and a few Grammys under his belt, but was still somewhat unknown to the general public.

In 1990, he made his first appearance with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducting Beethoven's Seventh. By 1994, he had been named creative director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and was being invited all over the world as a guest conductor

Fonte: http://metroactive.com/


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