Multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter/producer Ben Folds first found mainstream success as the leader of the critically acclaimed Ben Folds Five. He has gone on to have a very successful solo career, recording multiple studio albums, a pair of records documenting his renowned live performances, a remix record, music for film and TV, as well as numerous collaborations with artists from Sara Bareilles to William Shatner. Folds has also achieved critical acclaim for his insight as a judge on NBC's a cappella competition "The Sing-Off,” which aired for five seasons. A Nashville resident, Folds owns and operates the historic RCA Studio A, once managed by Chet Atkins, and the home to thousands of legendary recording sessions in all genres of music. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Nashville Symphony, and has composed a highly acclaimed 25-minute, three movement concerto for piano and orchestra which premiered in Nashville, and has been performed around the world. A member of the distinguished Artist Committee for Americans for The Arts, Folds is a leading outspoken advocate for music therapy and music education and participated in a special conference at Sundance Resort hosted by Robert Redford that explored how music and art therapy can help our nation’s military veterans.
Robin Spielberg was classically trained as a pianist and began composing as a young girl. Throughout her solo career, listeners have returned time and time again to her Robin's unique style and compositions. Her gift for creating enchanting melodies has won her a place among the nation's most respected contemporary pianists. In 1998, Robin's interest in music and healing grew when she witnessed first-hand, the positive effect music had on her own baby daughter during her four-month stay in the neo-natal intensive care unit. A CD entitled Beautiful Dreamer was the musical result of this experience, a recording of lullabies and songs for parent and child.
Maureen McGovern is one of the great singers and performers of our time. Her career spans recordings, concerts, theater, films, television and radio. Ms. McGovern has a voice that defies categorization - from a jazzy pop register to a pure coloratura. It is no wonder she has been called "The Stradivarius Voice." In addition to her artistic achievements, Maureen has a lifelong commitment to giving back to her community and the people around her. This internationally renowned performer is the recipient of the 2001 Songs From The Heart Presidential Award presented by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and The Recording Academy. The Songs From The Heart Award recognizes artists whose music and career captures the soul and spirit of music therapy, and the poignancy of music in our lives. The Award pays tribute to Maureen McGovern’s commitment to and belief in the transforming power of music.
Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist and New Age artist Craig Chaquico is one of music therapy's most avid supporters. Craig's personal belief in the power of music, as well as his deep respect for, and understanding of, the work that music therapists do have led him to become one of music therapy's most dedicated advocates. Craig has visited and performed at music therapy programs in schools and health care facilities across the country. He has donated guitars, given by him to Washburn Guitar Co., to the music therapy programs he visited while on tour. Craig also continues to increase public awareness of the benefits of music therapy services by educating audiences in his concerts and at other public appearances.
In 1995, top contemporary jazz recording artist, Russ Freeman, read with interest Craig Chaquico's April 8, 1995 Billboard magazine commentary regarding music therapy. Russ had received letters from his fans about how his music helped them and their loved ones get through some difficult times. Russ was fascinated by these stories and wanted to visit music therapy programs like those that Craig had mentioned. Since that time Russ and The Rippingtons have visited and performed at children's hospitals, schools, and cancer and hospice centers for clients of music therapy services. He and other band members of The Rippingtons actively support the work that music therapists do.
In addition to Stanley Jordan
's incredible guitar skills, he also has a keen interest in the healing power of music and has been a friend to music therapy for many years. He has supported music therapy by playing at national conferences, observing music therapists in action, and has even dedicated a section of his own web page to music therapy.
David Lanz became an artist spokesperson for AMTA when he performed a benefit concert during the 1997 music therapy conference. He is one of the few contemporary instrumental recording stars to also win approval for his live stage performances. Playing the piano, he says, is his greatest form of self-expression.
Jazz guitar virtuoso Pat Martino was the recipient of the 1997 "Songs from the Heart" Presidential Award presented by the former National Association for Music Therapy and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. After having undergone surgery for a severe brain aneurysm, Pat's memory was gone. His own recordings aided in his recovery. Pat's music captures the soul and spirit of music therapy.
Categorized as a Pop/Jazz artist, Diane Ponzio's guitar skills have earned her the position of International Clinician for the Martin Guitar Company. Diane performs on their behalf world-wide and is well known on the New York club scene, and for her inspirational concert appearances throughout America and abroad. Diane has demonstrated her support for music therapy through performing at music therapy conferences and events.