Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Presents Todd Murray: “Croon: When a Whisper Became a Song” November 12 and 13 Ÿ Historic Asolo Theater; Acclaimed cabaret star Todd Murray takes audiences on a jaunty musical journey through the history of crooning, from the invention of the microphone up to the present

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Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Presents

Todd Murray:

“Croon: When a Whisper Became a Song”

November 12 and 13 Ÿ Historic Asolo Theater

Acclaimed cabaret star Todd Murray takes audiences on a jaunty musical journey through the history of crooning, from the invention of the microphone up to the present.


“Todd Murray has all the spot-on ingredients: a throaty and mellow baritone, perfect diction, meticulous phrasing and great timing. Matinee-idol looks don’t hurt either, but it’s his material that brings back the floating, relaxed memories of the big-band era.” — Rex Reed, New York Observer


“This suave, handsome baritone, who bears a strong physical resemblance to George Clooney, is such a confident singer that his performance, directed by the pianist Alex Rybeck, is the real deal.”– Stephen Holden, The New York Times


(Sarasota, Florida) Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presents award-winning vocalist Todd Murray in “Croon: When a Whisper Became a Song,” November 12, 7:30 p.m., and November 13, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Murray’s program includes favorite tunes by Rodgers and Hart, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Lerner and Loewe, McCartney and Lennon, Leonard Cohen and many more. Tickets are $45 and are available at or by calling 941-306-1202. Student tickets are available at the door.

Todd Murray has emerged as a notable interpreter of standards, newer material, and his own originals. Blessed with a deep baritone voice, Murray is an intimate performer who excels on romantic ballads, swings at every tempo, and does justice to the lyrics that he sings. Audiences and critics have taken notice. Murray won’s 2015 Best Male Vocalist and Best Cabaret Show awards, and was recently honored with the Margaret Whiting Award at the 2016 New York Cabaret Convention.

Crooning, the artful singing of soft, sumptuous lyrics though an amplified microphone, was made popular by such legends as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. When crooning became a style of singing in the early 1920’s, thanks to the new record industry, it was considered racy and not fit for impressionable young ears and ladies. In “Croon,” Murray and his cadre of notable New York musicians, including drummer Dan Gross, bassist Steve Doyle, guitarist Sean Harkness, and pianist Alex Rybeck, take the audience back in time from before the invention of the microphone, and through each decade since, with sumptuous singing and storytelling.

The concert’s playlist includes such favorite songs as “Lover” (Rodgers and Hart); “Learn to Croon” (Sam Coslow, lyrics; Arthur Johnson, music); “You Are Too Beautiful” (Rodgers and Hart); “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (Cole Porter); “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” (Bob Russell, lyrics; Duke Ellington, music) and “Michelle” (McCartney and Lennon).


The 2016-2017 21st Anniversary Season at a Glance

Classical Recitals

(Check individual listings for dates, times and venue.)

  • Elkey Trio: A musical ensemble that is equally at home performing either classical or South American folk music, the Elkey Trio’s repertoire ranges from Baroque and newly commissioned pieces to folk music learned in the South America oral tradition. Andean woodwind specialist and flutist, Gonzalo Cortes, charango and viola player Carlos Boltes, and guitarist Scott Hill have forged careers as chamber musicians and soloists with choirs and orchestras throughout Europe as well as North, Central, and South America. Their program, “Entre Mundos: Between Worlds,” takes audiences on a musical journey through traditional South American folk music and the classical pieces it has inspired. December 3, 7:30 p.m., and December 4, 7:30 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
  • Andrew Tyson, piano: Hailed by BBC Radio 3 as “a real poet of the piano,” 29-year-old Andrew Tyson has emerged as a distinctive and important new musical voice. Praised as a pianist whose “interpretations recalled the virtuosic style from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries,” Tyson performs “Impressions of Europe,” a program of works by composers from France (Chopin), Italy (Scarlatti), Hungary (Liszt), and Spain (Albéniz). January 15, 3:00 p.m., at Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 Beneva Road, Sarasota.
  • Edgar Moreau, cello: Called the “rising star of the French cello,” and a “young musketeer of the bow,” 22-year-old French-born Edgar Moreau consistently captivates audiences with his effortless virtuosity and dynamic performances. Last year, Moreau was named “Solo Instrumentalist of the Year” by France’s Victoires de la Musique and was recently selected as one of the European Concert Hall Organization’s 2016-2017 Rising Stars. Accompanied by emerging pianist Jessica Xylina Osborne and performing on a 1711 David Tecchler cello, Moreau performs works by Bach, Franck, Schnittke and Chopin. February 12, 3:00 p.m., at Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 Beneva Road, Sarasota.
  • John Brancy, baritone: Hailed by the New York Times as “a vibrant, resonant presence,” and winner of the 2013 Marilyn Horne Song Competition, rising young baritone John Brancy is joined by pianist Peter Dugan, and Sarasota Orchestra musicians Christopher Schnell (cello), and Betsy Traba (flute), in “Rejoicing in Ravel,” February 19, 3:00 p.m., at Faith Lutheran Church, 7750 Beneva Road, Sarasota.

Pops and Special Performances

(Check individual listings for dates, times and venue.)

  • “A Christmas Carole and A New Year’s Yves:” Carole J. Bufford has become one of the most sought-after young performers on the New York cabaret and jazz scene. Eric Yves Garcia has been hailed by the New York Times as “a handsome young singer and pianist with a genuine star quality.” The serendipitously named duo teams up once again with Australian piano wiz Matt Baker for their popular holiday show featuring traditional holiday favorites, with a few twists. December 17, 7:30 p.m., and December 18, 2016, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., at Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
  • “Old Blue Eyes: McDonald Sings Sinatra:” Washington DC-based baritone Bob McDonald returns to Sarasota with his “DC Quartet” for a musical tribute to one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th Known for everything from “Sunday in the Park with George” to “Sweeney Todd” to Gilbert & Sullivan, the versatile McDonald has performed for presidents and heads of state, and at such prestigious Washington DC venues as Signature Theatre and the Kennedy Center. McDonald is also a familiar face and voice to scores of DC sports fans as the regular National Anthem singer at Washington Capitals games. January 29, 3:00 p.m., at Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.
  • Violette and La Vie en Rose Band: La Vie En Rose is a tasteful marriage of French chanson and Golden Age swing. With her luxurious, silky smooth voice and repertoire of timeless American standards and French jazz songs, singer Violette and her ensemble of international musicians create a captivating alliance of old world and new, of French charm, American glam and soulful pop. Raised in Ars-en-Re, a small village on an island off the coast of France, pianist, singer and composer Violette founded the band while living in Boston in 2009. Since then, the band has won several awards and currently performs over 150 shows a year including, in 2016, performances at the Blue Note Jazz Festival and at the renowned Sunset/Sunside Jazz Club in Paris, France. March 19, 3:00 p.m., at Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.
  • Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway in “Sibling Revelry:” Jazz headliner Ann Hampton Callaway and Broadway star Liz Callaway reprise their critically acclaimed show “Sibling Revelry” with pianist Alex Rybeck. The Tony-nominated sisters have enjoyed stellar individual careers, but when their “equally splendid voices harmonize, ‘Sibling Revelry’ becomes a thrilling display of vocal prowess.” (Stephen Holden; The New York Times) March 26, 3:00 p.m., at Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota.
  • “Hot ‘n’ Cole: A Cole Porter Celebration!” with Maria Wirries: Wirries joins forces with five more singers and two pianists in this bubbly, two-act tribute to the classic, melodic, witty, sexy and sophisticated songs of Cole Porter. May 14, 3:00 p.m., at Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota.

Lunch, Look and Listen

One-hour concerts at 11 a.m. followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m. At Michael’s On East Ballroom, 1212 East Avenue South, Sarasota.

  • Giuseppina Ciarla, harp; Natalia Maiden, violin, “Viva L’Opera:” Ciarla and Maiden perform a selection of opera’s most popular arias, interpreted by complex and beautiful “voices” of the harp and violin. November 10, 2016.
  • Kittens on the Keys” Duo piano performance with Lee Dougherty Ross and Joseph Holt. Join two vivacious and talented personalities in a performance of four-hand piano music. January 26.
  • “La Flûte Enchantée” Sarasota Orchestra principal flutist Betsy Traba with Jenny Kim-Godfrey, soprano, and Joseph Holt, piano.  February 16.
  • Belle Canto: Sarasota’s premier women’s choral ensemble showcases the unique beauty and quality of sound that comes from the blending of women’s voices in an all-French program. March 16.

Soirée Series

  • Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. and Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. At the Weisenborne/Fischer residence. Call for more information and address.
  • “Tenor on the Road:” Lyric tenor Blake Friedman and Joseph Holt, piano. Blake Friedman presents a program devoted to travel, not only geographically, but spiritually as well. April 16 & 17.

Other special events

  • Artist Series Concerts Friends presents its annual fundraiser in support of Artist Series Concerts’ competitions, as well as educational/community outreach programs. The event nets more than $50,000 annually. The 2017 ASC Friends’ gala, “Carnival of Venice,” is March 8 at Michael’s On East.
  • Artist Series Concerts National Competition will feature young pianists, ages 18-25, and takes place on April 29. The competition rotates each year between singers, pianists, and string instrument players. From its inception in 2007 through 2015, Artist Series Concerts’ statewide young musician’s competition came to be one of the most prestigious competitions in Florida, awarding over $230,000 to 66 talented young musicians. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursued successful music careers. In 2016, the competition was opened to young singers nationwide and awarded $26,000 to seven winners.
  • The Suncoast Music Scholarships, a new annual collaborative competition conducted and funded by Artist Series Concerts and the Sarasota Music Club, awards another $20,000 to young musicians from high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The SMS auditions are scheduled for April 22.


Tickets for Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2016-2017 season are on sale now. Visit to view the full brochure and ordering information, or call 941-306-1202 to request information by mail.


Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as the Artist Series of Sarasota. The group is a non-profit corporation based in Sarasota, FL, that prides itself on presenting several major national and international varieties of concert, opera, orchestral, Broadway and film performances throughout their season. The majority of the performances are staged at the restored Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling.

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