The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Fitzgerald’s birthday (April 25, 1917), and “The First Lady Of Song” will be celebrated across the world until April 2018 with prestigious exhibits, a trove of new music releases and myriad independent tributes and concerts as a part of the Ella 100 centennial celebration.
Brought to fruition by The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Verve Label Group and UMe, Ella 100 will highlight the singer’s legacy in several exhibitions and events at institutions throughout the United States. In Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will open a new display titled First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald at 100 on April 1st, kicking off Jazz Appreciation Month. The year-long exhibit will feature awards, letters, sheet music and costumes from Fitzgerald’s archives as well as videos of her performances. The Library of Congress, home to the Ella Fitzgerald Collection (an archive that consists of Fitzgerald’s entire music library and thousands of scores, parts, lyric sheets, and arrangements of works performed and/or recorded by Fitzgerald) will celebrate Lady Ella with a concert by award-winning singer Dianne Reeves on March 31.
The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles will celebrate Lady Ella with the opening of a new exhibit titled Ella at 100: Celebrating the Artistry of Ella Fitzgerald. Opening on what would have been Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday, April 25, 2017, the exhibit will commemorate the late icon with rare recordings, photos, personal telegram correspondences, wardrobe pieces such as her well-known Don Loper beaded gown and her Grammy Awards, all on loan from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.
Fitzgerald holds the distinction of being the first African-American to win a Grammy Award: In 1958 at the inaugural ceremony, she won two awards for her vocal performances on Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Irving Berlin Song Book and Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Song Book.
Fitzgerald’s Song Book recordings will be the focal point for the Great American Songbook Foundation’s exhibit, Ella Sings The Songbook located in the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. The exhibit (which runs until October) shines a spotlight on the classic recordings Fitzgerald made with Norman Granz at Verve between 1956 and 1964.
Also expect a few music releases throughout the year and into 2018. On April 21st, 100 of her most popular songs will be released as a new 4CD box set titled 100 Songs For A Centennial and Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Books will be released as a limited edition 6LP vinyl box set.
Later in the year, all of Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong’s beloved duets will be released as a 4CD/digital set titled Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Ella & Louis Duets. Further on, Verve will release a new album featuring Fitzgerald’s classic vocal recordings accompanied by new orchestral arrangements by the London Symphony Orchestra.
Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial will be celebrated across the globe at a host of official and unofficial tributes and concerts.