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Ben Folds with the Columbus Symphony

Ben Folds and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra will perform at 7:30 p.m. today at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial.

A multi-genre artist, Ben Folds appeals to people interested in all kinds of music, said Roland Valliere, president and chief executive officer for the CSO.

Valliere said there are plenty of artists who try to glide between different music genres, but few do it with the success that he has had.

“I think we’re going to have a wide-spanning audience at this performance,” Valliere said. “That’s part of what the appeal was for us engaging him to come here. He’s also a concert musician.”

He’s an artist that has gradually cultivated his skills, and the content of his show will reflect the different periods of his own development, Valliere said.

Folds’ career has been a mix of solo and group recordings. He has toured with Rufus Wainwright, Guster, John Mayer, Ben Kweller and Ben Lee. His music has appeared in movies and television sitcoms, and this isn’t his first time performing with a symphony.

“He’s an accomplished musician himself, and I think performed with the orchestra, that’s going to be very special,” Valliere said.

The a cappella group, Leading Tones, from Ohio University will open the show, he said. Leading Tones is one of 13 musical groups that collaborated with Ben Folds on his album “University A Capella!”.

“Then he’ll come on and play a full 90 minutes of music, which is pretty extensive,” Valliere said. “Almost all of those selections will be with the orchestra, but I think there will be a few sprinkled in that he’ll do with his own group.”

Some other symphonies that Folds has performed with include those from West Australia, Baltimore, Nashville and Boston.

“We had been looking to engage him for quite some time because of his unique profile and background,” Valliere said.

Now that he is going around the country playing with symphony orchestras again, Columbus was put on the list of stops to make, and the CSO will finally have a chance to combine the musical styles of everyone involved.

Rehearsal begins the day before the concert and will also occur the day of the event. The rehearsal with the orchestra usually lasts two and a half hours with a break, Valliere said.

“You don’t get to hear Ben Folds with a full symphony orchestra every day,” he said. “Those that do come are going to cherish it … and then the friends that didn’t show up are going to say, ‘I wish I had gone.’

“Often times, some artists will just slap together a program, and it’s really the artist and his group with some simple string accompaniment, and that’s not necessarily the most exciting thing,” Valliere said. “But when an artist really integrates the orchestra, then it gets really exciting, and that’s what this Ben Folds concert is going to be.”

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