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Free Symposium Celebrates Life of Ella Fitzgerald

"cELLAbration" at Rutgers' Institute for Jazz Studies features speakers, live music, listening sessions and more

Ella Fitzgerald (photo by Tad Hershorn)
Ella Fitzgerald (photo by Tad Hershorn)
Ella Fitzgerald (photo by Tad Hershorn)
Ella Fitzgerald (photo by Tad Hershorn)

On March 24 and 25, the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University in partnership with The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, WBGO-FM and New Jersey Performing Arts Center will present “cELLAbration,” a free symposium on the music and career of Ella Fitzgerald. The symposium will feature speakers, live performances, films, discussions and listening sessions.

Speakers list

  • Dr. Judith Tick will discuss her forthcoming biography of Fitzgerald, Becoming Ella: The Jazz Genius Who Transformed American Song.
  • Pianist and educator Lewis Porter will present on Fitzgerald’s approach to improvisation.
  • Author Tad Hershorn will discuss Fitzgerald’s relationship with her manager and record producer Norman Granz.
  • Editor and author Dan Morgenstern and WBGO host Sheila Anderson will look at where Fitzgerald fits in the tradition of jazz singing.
  • Mike Wofford, Fitzgerald’s pianist for the final three years of her career and Richard Wyands, her musical director in 1956, will discuss her approach to singing and play examples of how they accompanied her.
  • Independent record producer Phil Schaap, vice president of A&R and product development at Universal Music Harry Weinger and Mosaic Records producer Scott Wenzel will discuss getting historic Ella records out of the vaults and on their way to successful releases.
  • WBGO host Rhonda Hamilton will play and discuss favorite recordings.
  • Wall Street Journal columnist and producer of “Clip Joint” Will Friedwald will show rare film and video clips.

A concert at Clement’s Place will close both days. All events take place at 15 Washington Street in Newark, New Jersey. For more information and to register for the event visit


Originally Published