It’s officially the holidays when the Rob Mathes Holiday Concert comes home to rock the season. An annual tradition for many years, the multi-talented musician, musical director, composer, and arranger Rob Mathes returns to the New York area for three Holiday Concerts December 15, 16 & 17. Mathes is an Emmy-winning and Grammy and Tony-nominated musician whose holiday songs and arrangements have been performed by just about every top musician. Mathes’ favorite time of year is the holiday season when he performs in the New York area close to his hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut, with his brand of holiday magic and his band of all-star musicians including instrumentalists from Saturday Night Live and the Late Show with David Letterman, a horn section from the Rolling Stones, Sting’s drummer, and the Choir of Saints and Friends.
Concerts this year are:
Performing Arts Center - December 15 & 16, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
Friday, December 15, and Saturday, December 16, 8:00 p.m., at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College (PAC), 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, New York. Tickets for are $40-$75 and available through the PAC Box Office at 914-251-6200 or online at artscenter.org.
Schimmel Center - December 17, 2017, 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 17, 3:00 p.m., at the Schimmel Center, 3 Spruce Street, New York, New York. Tickets start at $29 and are available online at schimmelcenter.org or by calling 212-346-1715.
“This is an interesting time in the history of the Holiday Concert,” noted Rob Mathes. “This is our 24th year and coming home to perform the Holiday Concerts makes it my favorite time of the year. When I take the stage with Will Lee, Billy Masters, and the rest of the band, we are a bit like blues musicians - in a sense that we hope that we are better and deeper musicians each year; and it is my sincere hope that the arrangements will get better and more grooving, more passionate, real, gritty and essential. There is a real sense of gratitude for the concert itself and its audience. The privilege to play for such an attentive and gracious group centers us around a kind of spiritual combination of blues inflected pop music, gospel, Dylan, and even swing with our horn section. The concerts become a Holiday homecoming, a kind of secular midnight mass of sorts. The musicians I play with are peerless musical giants and I think we are getting wiser, deeper, better as we go.”
Band members include world-renowned Will Lee on bass, blues guitarist Billy Masters, Sting’s drummer Joe Bonadio, Rick Knutsen on keyboards, and award-winning vocalists James “D-Train” Williams and Vaneese Thomas. Rob’s six-piece horn section has played with everyone from Aretha to Paul Simon to Dylan and the Rolling Stones, and the Choir of Saints and Friends joins Mathes and his band on stage, as well.
Rob Mathes has worked with virtually every big name in the music industry — arranging, producing, directing, recording and performing with the likes of Sting, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Fall Out Boy, Train, Elton John, Lou Reed, Bono, Tony Bennett, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, and Yo-Yo Ma. He has also performed for all the standing presidents, and in 2009, he musically directed Obama’s Presidential Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial. He also musically directed the Pope Francis Concert for Hope at Madison Square Garden. Having produced Sting’s last three albums, Rob was the music director and supervisor on the artist’s Broadway show, The Last Ship, for which Mathes and Sting both received Tony nominations. The two have performed together on multiple stages and television shows.
Rob Mathes has spent the past year on a variety of diverse projects with inspiring artists, including a project with Leslie Odom, Jr., Tony winner for the musical Hamilton, arranging music for his Orchestral Tour and new bonus tracks for a re-release of his Christmas album. He also arranged for the Josh Abbott Band’s new record, which received critical acclaim; Renée Fleming and Vanessa Williams for the Memorial Day PBS special on the National Mall in DC; and the Boston Pops. Mathes orchestrated songs for the Hugh Jackman’s new film, The Greatest Showman, to be released at Christmas with music written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Tony and Oscar-winning songwriters of La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen, respectively. Rob continued his work with Albert Hammond’s UK tour; musically directed the Songwriters Hall of Fame featuring Ed Sheeran, Jay Z, Usher, Johnny Gill, Cassandra Wilson, and Chicago; arranged for the world famous virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell; and continued working with Sting, both writing and orchestrating a new piece that will be released this fall and played in foreseeable future in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.
Rob has musically directed three concerts at Carnegie Hall and worked at the famous venue with artists that include: Katy Perry, Jim James, Angelique Kidjo, Sting, and Bono. Mathes arranged and musically directed Bono’s 10th Anniversary RED charity concert, at Carnegie Hall as well, with performances by Bono, The Edge, Miley Cyrus, Hozier, Jessie J, and others. Rob served as the chief music expert on the much-publicized Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven plagiarism trial. He worked closely with both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and was instrumental in the court’s ruling in favor of Led Zeppelin. After his testimony, he was told that he’d just “won the case” for the defense. Led Zeppelin did, indeed, win.
Rob’s own music has received critical acclaim. Two of his annual holiday concerts were filmed and became PBS specials that aired for several years. Evening Train, a rhythm and blues album, has been beloved by everyone from Carly Simon, to Sting, to Warren Zevon, to Bonnie Raitt. Other records equally treasured are Orchestral Songs, Flesh and Spirit, his newly released Wheelbarrow, Let the Children Come, William the Angel, and Christmas is Coming.