Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
Press Release

Banjo Hall of Famer Cynthia Sayer Brings America’s Original Jazz Instrument to Wilson Center

Celebrated 4-String Jazz Banjoist to Perform with Her Joyride Quartet, Lead Arts Outreach in Local Schools

By - Jan 24th, 2019 01:40 pm
Cynthia Sayer. Photo courtesy of the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts.

Cynthia Sayer. Photo courtesy of the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts.

Brookfield, WI (January 24, 2018) Award-winning instrumentalist, vocalist, and bandleader Cynthia Sayer will be joined by her quartet to enchant audiences at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts (Wilson Center) with the rarely heard range and versatility of America’s original jazz instrument on Friday, February 22, 2019, at 8:00 p.m.

Celebrated as one of the top 4-string jazz banjoists in the world today, Sayer is soulful and edgy, both contemporary and classic, with a playing style all her own. A multi-instrumentalist comfortable in many genres, Sayer identifies first and foremost as a jazz banjoist, and she was inducted into the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame in 2006. Tickets for this eclectic performance are $34-$60 (prices subject to increase based on demand) and may be purchased online at www.wilson-center.com, via phone at 262-781-9520, or in person at the Wilson Center Box Office at 19805 W. Capitol Drive in Brookfield’s Mitchell Park.

Praised for her “drive and virtuosity” by The New York Times, Sayer rose to international prominence as a founding member of Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band. She has played with such legendary jazz, popular, and roots music artists as Bucky Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Andy Statman, Les Paul, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynton Marsalis, and John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), as well as with leading contemporaries such as Vince Giordano, Scott Robinson, Wycliffe Gordon, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Charlie Giordano (with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), Anat Cohen, and many others. At home, she performs at prestigious venues like New York City’s Lincoln Center, Birdland, Joe’s Pub at The Public, and City Winery NY.

Her feature CDs, nine in all, have received rave reviews and multiple “Best of” nominations, awards, and honors in various categories, including two Jazz Journalists Association best pick lists. Cynthia tours extensively with her bands and as a guest artist across four continents. Recent U.S. festival appearances include the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival, headlining at the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival, the 2017 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, and numerous others. She has been honored by multiple international jazz festivals as “Festival Favorite” and readers polls have named her “Favorite Living Banjo Player,” “First-Choice Headliner,” and “Best Banjo Player.”

Sayer appeared on the PBS documentary Give Me the Banjo. She has also been featured as a guest and performer on CBS, FOX, and ABC network television shows, including Good Morning America and The Morning Show, as well as on NPR’s Piano Jazz, BBC Radio, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, DownBeat, Fretboard Journal, International Musician, People Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. Sayer has played for two U.S. Presidents (once at The White House), performed with several symphony orchestras including The New York Philharmonic, was the official banjoist for The New York Yankees, and is proud to be the subject of a Trivial Pursuit game question.

Sayer is also an avid educator, presenting clinics, programs, and lecture/demonstrations at schools, colleges, and cultural organizations. In collaboration with the Wilson Center’s arts education programs, she will lead two outreach sessions in Greater Milwaukee-area schools on February 22, to include a morning lecture/demonstration for all students at Irving Elementary School in West Allis, followed by a more in-depth session with 50 fourth and fifth grade students in their Band, Choir, and Orchestra classes. In the afternoon, Sayer will perform for students at Brookfield Academy. For more information on the arts education outreach sessions/performances, contact education@wilson-center.com or 262-373-5037.

Cynthia Sayer & Her Joyride Quartet is presented as part of the Wilson Center’s 2018/2019 Performing Arts Series, which is made possible by Enterforce, Godfrey & Kahn S.C., and Krause Funeral Homes & Cremation Services. Arts education outreach with Cynthia Sayer is made possible by Wilson Center Residency Sponsor Herzfeld Foundation. The Wilson Center is grateful for the support of Show Media Partner 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.

ABOUT THE SHARON LYNNE WILSON CENTER FOR THE ARTS
As a multidisciplinary nonprofit cultural arts facility with a 17-year history of excellence, it is the mission of the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts to serve as a catalyst for lifelong discovery and exploration of the arts. Situated in Brookfield’s beautiful Mitchell Park, the Wilson Center is recognized as a cultural anchor in the Greater Milwaukee community and focuses on three main disciplines: performing arts, arts education, and visual arts. Since opening in 2002, the Wilson Center has continued to celebrate its five core values of excellence, innovation, passion, stewardship and collaboration through a diverse array of premier performances, educational programs, classes, festivals and special events. The Wilson Center annually welcomes more than 45,000 people, including more than 10,000 students every year—many of whom are being introduced to the arts for the first time. Through arts education programs such as Beyond the Classroom, ArtsReach, and Arts Camp: The Art of Nature, as well as year-round visual art classes and exhibitions, the Wilson Center promotes lifelong learning for children, teens, families, and adults. For more information, visit www.wilson-center.com.

ABOUT CYNTHIA SAYER
Multi-award-winning instrumentalist/vocalist/bandleader Cynthia Sayer is acclaimed by musicians, critics, and fans alike as one of the top 4-string banjoist in the world today. Praised for her “drive and virtuosity” by the New York Times, Cynthia enchants audiences with her electrifying, swing-based performances and captivating stage presence wherever she appears.

Cynthia tours extensively with her bands and as a guest artist across four continents. Recent U.S. festival appearances include the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival, headlining at the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival, the 2017 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, and numerous others. An inductee into the American Banjo Hall of Fame, Sayer has been honored by multiple international jazz festivals as “Festival Favorite” and readers polls have named her “Favorite Living Banjo Player,” “First-Choice Headliner,” and “Best Banjo Player.”

Cynthia has appeared as a guest and performer on CBS, FOX, and ABC network television shows, including Good Morning America and The Morning Show, as well as on NPR’s Piano Jazz, BBC Radio, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, DownBeat, Fretboard Journal, International Musician, People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and countless other local, trade, and foreign media outlets.

Sayer first rose to international prominence as a founding member of Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band, all the while exploring her wider musical interests and playing with such legendary jazz, popular, and roots music artists as Bucky Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Andy Statman, Les Paul, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynton Marsalis, and, John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) ), as well as with leading contemporaries such as Vince Giordano, Scott Robinson, Wycliffe Gordon, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Charlie Giordano (with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), Anat Cohen, and many others.

A multi-instrumentalist heard on distinguished feature film and TV soundtracks and comfortable in many genres, Cynthia identifies first and foremost as a jazz banjoist. At home, she performs at prestigious venues like New York City’s Lincoln Center, Birdland, Joe’s Pub at The Public, and City Winery NY.

Her feature CDs, nine in all, have received rave reviews and multiple “Best of” nominations, awards and honors in various categories, including two Jazz Journalists Association best pick lists. Sayer has played for two U.S. Presidents (once at The White House), performed with several symphony orchestras including The New York Philharmonic, was the official banjoist for The New York Yankees, and is proud to be the subject of a Trivial Pursuit game question.

Sayer is also an avid educator, presenting clinics, programs, and lecture/demonstrations at schools, colleges, and cultural organizations. She was filmed for a national educational project co-sponsored by The Smithsonian Institution and has contributed articles to several American and British trade publications. Her play-along program, You’re IN The Band, is popular with players of all instruments learning and practicing traditional/hot jazz and swing.

Cynthia lives in New York City and endorses Ome Banjos, GHS Strings, Blue Chip Picks, and The Realist Banjo Pickups by David Gage.

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