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Jazz Innovator Grace Kelly to Perform in Middlebury on February 16

February 16, 2018

Young quartet impresses with a mix of standards and original works

Middlebury, VT—Grace Kelly wrote her first song at seven years old, recorded her first CD at 12, orchestrated and performed her original composition with the Boston Pops Orchestra at 14, and performed at President Obama’s inauguration at 16. At only 25 years old, this jazz phenomenon and vocalist has released 10 albums and headlined more than 700 shows in 30 countries. This musical star will shine at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts on February 16.

Performing Arts Series Director Allison Coyne Carroll first saw Grace Kelly while at a house concert in Harlem. She recalls noticing a hush falling over the boisterous crowd. “The audience was completely rapt in Ms. Kelly’s delivery, energy, and grace (no pun intended).” Coyne Carroll knew that a Middlebury audience would likewise be wowed by Ms. Kelly’s talent.


About the Artists

“Grace Kelly has an electric charisma on-stage that instantly ignites the room. She is one of the most kind-hearted, easy-going people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.” Jon Batiste, the band leader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Saxophonist, singer, and composer Grace Kelly plays with the heart and passion of an old soul yet with the genre-bending zest and energy of a 25-year-old. Having been a regular on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s band, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Kelly recently released her 10th CD as a leader. This latest album, Trying To Figure It Out, was voted #2 Jazz Album of The Year in the 2016 Downbeat Magazine Readers Poll.

Grace Kelly has performed or recorded with Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Emma Stone, Lin Manuel, Esperanza Spalding, Lee Konitz, David Sanborn, and Gloria Estefan to name a few. In recent years, she has been featured on Amazon’s Emmy-nominated TV show Bosch,, Glamour Magazine, Forbes, Billboard, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, and in many appearances on NPR. As a songwriter, she has won multiple ASCAP Composer Awards and International Songwriting Awards.

In efforts to bring jazz to a younger audience as well as to bridge music, cinematography, and her joyful personality, Kelly launched a new weekly video series called “Grace Kelly PopUp” on social media, which has racked up over one million views in less than a year.

“I think everybody comes to life with a calling,” Kelly says. “I’ve been super blessed that my calling in life has been music and that I found it from an early age. But what I really hope my music brings to people is healing. There’s nothing that makes me feel better than when somebody, after a show, says ‘You lifted me up.’” Is it the main reason she plays? Her response comes without hesitation: “It’s the only reason.”

Grace Kelly will be leading a hand-picked quartet of outstanding young musicians including pianist David Linard, who earned his master’s degree from Juilliard in 2015 and has performed with such greats as bluesman SaRon Crenshaw, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Tucker and the bad mofos, Gracie and Rachel, and more. Playing bass and singing background vocals will be Julia Adamy Pederson, who has performed globally and at venues like Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, Bowery Ballroom, The Carlyle, and Highline Ballroom, as well as on Broadway shows Mamma Mia!, Jesus Christ Superstar, Ghost, and Matilda. She has also done TV work with NBC’s Smash, ABC’s The Katie Show and Good Morning America. Rounding out the quartet will be drummer Connor Kent. While studying with world-renowned drummer and educator Ed Soph at the University of North Texas, Kent was a member of the 7-time Grammy nominated One O’Clock Lab Band. Since graduating, he’s been working with “Blue” Lou Marini (Saturday Night Live, Blues Brothers) on his project “Take the Blues Train” and traveling to China to perform the world premiere of “Crossing Chinese Opera with Jazz.”


 “Grace Kelly writes great songs, sings beautifully, is a world class saxophonist, and is going to be a big big star” – Huey Lewis



Performance Details

The Grace Kelly Quartet will perform on Friday, February 16, 2018 at 8:00 P.M. at the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts’ Robison Hall. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south, on the campus of Middlebury College. Free parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot, in rows marked faculty/staff/visitors. Tickets are $28 for adults; $22 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, emeriti, and alumni; $10 for youth 18 and under (NEW youth ticket price!); and $6 for Middlebury College students, and are on sale at 802-443-MIDD (6433) or




Image captions:  Exciting young jazz artist Grace Kelly will perform at Middlebury College on February 16. Photo Taso Papadakis

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax