Amanda Palmer Rings in the New Year with the Boston Pops Dec 31st

Program features World Premiers by Sxip Shirey and Film Artist Michael Pope

In a complete departure from the traditional Boston Pops New Year’s Eve concert, Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops will be joined by the provocative and inventive singer/songwriter/cabaret artist Amanda Palmer in a gala concert to ring in the New Year at Symphony Hall on Thursday, December 31, at 10 p.m. The evening’s centerpiece program features Palmer performing the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, material from her ground-breaking punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, and songs from her recent solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, as well as several musical surprises. This special New Year’s Eve celebration begins at 8 p.m. and features a wide variety of pre- and post-concert performances throughout the Hall, including Sxip Shirey and Adam Matta, April Smith and her band The Great Picture Show, and Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade.

All guests attending the Boston Pops’ New Year’s Eve concert will receive a complimentary gourmet boxed dinner. Tickets, priced from $45 to $160, may be purchased online at www.bostonpops.org, by phone through SymphonyCharge at 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200, or in person at the Symphony Hall Box Office, at 301 Massachusetts Avenue.

The 10 p.m. concert will feature Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in the first-ever performance of Sxip Shirey’s "A Melody for Lizzie," for strings with live and digital bells (via laptop), which Shirey will play himself. “We normally hear bells when they are telling us what to do,” said Shirey, who frequently uses bells in his compositions. “Wake up! Come to the door! Your eggs are done! So having it in a context of beautiful music allows the music to be lush but at the same time alert." He calls the work "a grand romantic gesture" for the woman he loves. The concert also features the world premiere of a new video by film artist Michael Pope. Filmed in Symphony Hall, it features live orchestra accompaniment to the Overture from Bjork's Selmasongs, inspired by the Iceland artist’s film Dancer in the Dark. Amanda Palmer will take the stage for the second half of the main stage performance.

Starting at 8 p.m., on the Symphony Hall stage, Sxip Shirey, whose renowned cabaret variety show, “Sxip's Hour of Charm,” regularly brings some of the world’s edgiest and clever cabaret acts to Joe’s Pub in Manhattan, will be featured in performance. A composer, sound designer, performer, and storyteller, he will perform on some of his “found object” instrument inventions, which include the Obnoxiophone and the Regurgitated Music Box. Joining him is beatboxer/performance artist Adam Matta, whose cutting-edge vocal stylings fuse elements of hip-hop, rock, electronic, jazz, contemporary and Middle Eastern music. He has been featured on National Public Radio, as well as in Benson Lee's documentary Planet B-Boy and the television series The L Word.

In the Cabot-Cahners Room, starting at 8 p.m., the cheeky, irreverent April Smith and her band The Great Picture Show will bring their unique brand of retro pop to their first performance at Symphony Hall. The group is known for their carnival-esque melodies and lyrics that embrace both the witty and the profound.

In the Higginson Room, both before, at 8 p.m., and just after the Pops concert, at 12:15 a.m., the featured performers are singer/songwriter Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade. The group, which includes vocals, guitar, reeds, bass, and drums, embraces styles from ragtime and swing to blues and country. Boston Magazine called Miss Tess “the next Boston musical sensation.”

Tickets for the New Year’s Eve celebration are priced from $45 to $160. Tickets may be purchased online at www.bostonpops.org, phone through SymphonyCharge at 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200 or in person at the Symphony Hall Box Office. Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. or through intermission on Saturday. American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, Diners Club, and cash are all accepted. There is a $5.50 per ticket handling fee for tickets ordered by phone or online.

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