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Legendary Singer Tony Bennett to Open UCSB Arts & Lectures’ New Season

UCSB Arts & Lectures’ 2014-15 season opens with a very special concert featuring Tony Bennett — the 17-time Grammy award-winning musician whose music spans more than six decades — at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2 at the Granada Theatre, 1214 State St. in Santa Barbara.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

His daughter, Antonia, will perform an opening set of jazz/pop standards.

The appearance follows on the heels of Bennett’s highly anticipated new album release with Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek (due out Sept. 23).

When Bennett headlined Arts & Lectures’ fundraising gala in 2013, his dazzling, heartfelt performance, filled with panache, left the audience floating on air for months later — and many wishing they had been there. The legendary crooner returns to kick off Arts & Lectures’ new season in grand style.

With worldwide record sales in the millions, and dozens of platinum and gold albums to his credit, Bennett is a musician who touches the hearts and souls of audiences with his burnished, golden voice, ebullient sense of swing and charming stage presence. His long list of achievements, spanning over 60 years, includes 17 Grammy awards, including the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award — making this artist a true international treasure. His signature tunes, such as “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” have shaped the Great American Songbook. Often billed as the world’s most boyish octogenarian, Bennett is a vital musical artist at the peak of his powers.

Bennett’s daughter, Antonia, has been touring with her father and will open the performance with a collection of jazz/pop standards. Antonia is a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

Bennett celebrated his 85th birthday in 2011 with the release of the album Duets II, which made music history: He is the oldest artist to have a No. 1 CD on the Billboard album charts. Duets II followed his 2006 album, Tony Bennett Duets: An American Classic. In 2012, the singer’s signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” marked its the 50th anniversary, and a new documentary film, The Zen of Bennett, created and conceived by Bennett’s son and manager Danny, was released.

That same year, Bennett also released his fourth book, Life Is a Gift, which appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Earlier this year, Sony Legacy issued Tony Bennett: The Classics, which showcases a compilation of selections from Bennett’s recent Duets albums, as well as solo versions of many catalog favorites.

Bennett’s new duets album with Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek, featuring jazz standards, will be released Sept. 23. The first single, a rendition of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Jazz Digital Songs chart after it was released in late July.

Bennett is also a talented painter. He has exhibited his work in galleries around the world, and three of his original paintings are part of the permanent collection in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Throughout his career, Bennett has pledged his heart and time to support humanitarian concerns. He joined with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the historic Selma march in 1965. His many charitable works include raising millions toward diabetes research and lending his artwork to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. In 2007, he was honored by the United Nations.

Together with his wife, Susan, Bennett established the charitable organization, Exploring The Arts to support arts education in public high schools. He founded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a public high school in his hometown of Astoria, Queens, and ETA now supports 14 additional public high schools throughout New York City and recently expanded to support three public arts high schools in Los Angeles.

Tickets are $50 to $125 for the general public and $25 for UCSB students with a current student ID. (A Granada facility fee will be added to each ticket price.) For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805.893.3535 or purchase online by clicking here. Tickets are also available through the Granada Theatre at 805.899.2222 or by clicking here.

UCSB Arts & Lectures thanks for its major corporate support of the 2014-15 season.

— Karna Hughes is a senior publicist for UCSB Arts & Lectures.

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