The Kennedy Center

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DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents 

Friday, June 30, 2017 9:00 PM

DECLASSIFIED: Fridays at 9 with the NSO National Symphony Orchestra

Newly named Artistic Advisor Ben Folds curates, hosts and performs with the NSO—conducted by Jacomo Bairos—for a special evening that features music by Folds, singer/composer/producer/guitarist Blake Mills, and Cuban R&B/rap singer Danay Suárez.

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Newly named Artistic Advisor Ben Folds curates, hosts and performs with the National Symphony Orchestra—conducted by Jacomo Bairos—for a special evening that features new music and hits by Folds, singer/composer/producer/guitarist Blake Mills, and Cuban R&B/rap singer Danay Suárez. This inaugural concert from the Ben Folds Presents series spotlights a unique multi-genre melding of 21st-century pop and orchestral music for all ages.

Read Ben's thoughts on the program.

Enjoy more festivities before and after the show, FREE with your concert ticket...

Beginning at 8, Port City Brewing offers a free tasting of a selection of their beers for ticketholders ages 21 and up, while a preshow concert on the Millennium Stage welcomes “queer pop” pioneer Be Steadwell, whose live-looping, beat-boxing shows offer a soulful blend of her jazz, a cappella, and folk music roots. Our crowd-favorite Hot Pink Photo Booth also returns to memorialize the occasion in style.

Following the concert, the music continues at the Grand Foyer after party! Take the stage for live band karaoke courtesy of HariKaraoke’s game group of hype-master musicians.

More about the DECLASSIFIED concert concept:
These late-night Friday programs feature bold and boundary-breaking music, dynamic multimedia, exciting pre/post-concert performances and parties, and audience interaction. Plus, you can bring drinks and snacks into the Concert Hall.

More about Blake Mills:
Since quietly making his debut album Break Mirrors, which critics hailed as one of the best albums of 2010, Blake Mills has been consistently busy. In 205, he produced the highly acclaimed sophomore album Sound & Color for Alabama Shakes, which reached #1 on Billboard charts and won four Grammy Awards®. He has also produced music ranging from albums by John Legend, Perfume Genius, Dawes, and Laura Marling to music for ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Sara Watkins, Fiona Apple, Sky Ferreira, and many others. Mills composed original music for the 2015 Oscar®-nominated film Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence, and as a session player and sideman he has worked with Beck, Jackson Browne, Lucinda Williams, Band of Horses, Frank Ocean, and Neil Diamond, among others. Rick Rubin and T Bone Burnett frequently call upon his services as a guitarist.

More about Danay Suárez:
The main asset of this young Havana-born singer is her versatility—her ability to move from jazz to Hip Hop to the island's traditional genres without any trouble at all. At the same time, she has the ability to evoke the sweet nothings of Nina Simone and Erykah Badu in a smooth, satiny formula in which the password is elegance. Tempered under the watchful eye of Aldo Rodríguez (Los Aldeanos), she developed artistically with the help of X Alfonso, until she took her giant step with the Havana Cultura Project, prior to the release of her first album, Polvo de la Humedad in 2014. Since then, and after making waves throughout a jam-packed circuit of festivals, her acclaim has only grown, especially after the release of her second album, 2017’s Palabras Manuales, on which she collaborates with Stephen Marley, Idan Raichel, Aja Monet and Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca.

Performance Timing: 85 minutes with no intermission

Watch and Listen

NSO: DECLASSIFIED Trailer (2016-2017)