Soundtrack of America
About this commission
A World Premiere Shed Commission
Soundtrack of America opens The Shed with a five-night concert series celebrating the unrivaled impact of African American music on contemporary culture with performances by today’s most exciting emerging musicians. Conceived and directed by Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen, and developed with music visionaries and academic experts, Soundtrack traces a musical “family tree” of spirituals and blues, jazz and gospel, R&B, rock and roll, house, hip hop, and trap that has inspired a new generation of artists who continue to develop that legacy.
Named by Time magazine as one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century, Quincy Jones’s career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, television station owner, magazine founder, multimedia entrepreneur, and humanitarian. Among the multitude of awards that he has received for his contributions are an Emmy Award, seven Academy Award nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and 27 Grammy Awards; Jones is also the all-time most Grammy-nominated artist with a total of 80 nominations.
A recipient of the Republic of France’s Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur, Jones was named a 2001 Kennedy Center Honoree for his contributions to the cultural fabric of the United States of America. He was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest jazz honor, and in 2010, was bestowed the National Medal of Arts, our nation’s highest artistic honor. In 2016, Jones received a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for the Broadway production of The Color Purple. The award completed the rare EGOT set for Jones, making him one of only twenty-one individuals in history who have received an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.
McQueen was born in London in 1969; he lives and works in Amsterdam and London. Large-scale surveys of McQueen’s work have been held at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012 and the Schaulager, Basel in 2013. Recent solo presentations include exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston; The Whitworth, Manchester; the Pérez Art Museum, Miami; the Museum of Modern Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. McQueen has previously participated in Documenta XII (2007), XI (2002), and X (1997), and the Venice Biennale (2015, 2013, 2007, and 2003), representing Great Britain in Venice in 2009.
He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Johannes Vermeer Prize (2016), Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal (2014), CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) (2011), OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) (2002), and the Turner Prize, Tate Gallery, London, England (1999).
McQueen has directed four feature films: Hunger (2008), Shame (2011), 12 Years a Slave (2014), and Widows (2018). He won the Caméra d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival for Hunger and the Oscar for the Best Motion Picture for 12 Years a Slave in 2014.
Greg Phillinganes, a Detroit native and music veteran for over 40 years, began his career in 1975 as part of Stevie Wonder’s band, Wonderlove. Since leaving Stevie in 1979, Phillinganes went on to record, perform, tour and or write with an array of Grammy Award-winning artists. A short list of these artists includes Quincy Jones, Eric Clapton, Burt Bacharach, Jamie Foxx, Barbra Streisand, Rod Stewart, Andrea Boccelli, Herbie Hancock, Mick Jagger, Jennifer Hudson, Babyface, David Gilmour, John Legend, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Steven Tyler, Lionel Richie, Bruno Mars, Usher, Santana, Maxwell and Ed Sheeran.
Phillinganes is an ASCAP Pop Award Winner for the song “Love Will Conquer All,” which he co-wrote with Lionel Richie and was the music director for Richie’s Can’t Slow Down tour, as well as Michael Jackson’s Bad and Dangerous tours. Greg was also music director for the Jacksons’ 30th anniversary special at Madison Square Garden, Quincy Jones’s VIBE television show, the 60th Emmy Awards, and the first annual Grammy Nominations Live Concert, along with a wide range of special events including the 1999 Super Bowl halftime show and MUSICARES’s Person of the Year event–both honoring Stevie Wonder.
A Grammy nominee himself, Phillinganes has been a cornerstone in hundreds of Grammy Award-winning and nominated albums, including Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life, Quincy Jones’s Back On The Block, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Phillinganes was also a member of the Grammy Award-winning supergroup Toto from 2003 to 2008 and is featured on their album and live DVD Falling In Between.
Phillinganes was featured vocally, as well as a sideman, with Jazz icon Herbie Hancock on his Imagine Project Tour (2010 – 11). Greg was also the music director for the 2011 Grammy Awards, the In Performance At The White House celebration of Motown, and Oprah’s final Surprise Spectacular shows. He also completed an 18-month stint as music director for the Cirque du Soleil/Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour, a second In Performance At The White House event honoring women of soul, and joined Ringo Starr as one of the “ultimate sidemen” for both the 2014 Grammys and the CBS special The Beatles: The Night That Changed America.
In 2014 and 2015, Phillinganes was music director for Stevie Wonder’s exclusive Songs In The Key Of Life – The Performance Tour and won his first Emmy Award for CBS TV’s Grammy salute of the same name. Phillinganes was also music director for the spectacular televised Tribute to John Lennon, featuring artists ranging from Steven Tyler and Sheryl Crow to Willie Nelson and Chris Stapleton.
2016 began with Phillinganes as music director for the 58th Grammy Awards featuring an all star tribute to Lionel Richie, followed by the Gershwin Prize/Library Of Congress Tribute to Smokey Robinson. Most recently, Phillinganes was music director for the Grammy Salute To Music Legends on PBS and the Q85: A Musical Celebration for Quincy Jones on BET.
The GP Experience
Location and Dates
- Running time: 120 minutes
- No intermission
- Please note that each night of Soundtrack of America is a unique show with a different line-up
- Membership does not guarantee ticket availability, so we encourage you to book early
- All tickets sales are final; times and performers are subject to change
Thank you to our partners
The creation of new work at The Shed is generously supported by the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Commissioning Fund and The Shed Commissioners.
Major support for live productions at The Shed is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund.