(WASHINGTON D.C.)—The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) has released So Fragile, So Blue, a live recording of a 2022 DECLASSIFIED®: BEN FOLDS PRESENTS series concert featuring legendary actor, musician, activist, and recent space traveler William Shatner and led by Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke and NSO Artistic Advisor Ben Folds. The album is available on all digital platforms April 19 and will be available on vinyl and CD July 19.  Last month, Legion M—the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company— released You Can Call Me Bill, a documentary film exploring Shatner’s life and career that includes selections from the So Fragile, So Blue.

On October 13, 2021, Shatner became the oldest human, and only artist, to travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere after decades of famously portraying interstellar explorer, Captain James T. Kirk, on Star Trek. In this live concert experience with the NSO—held in honor of World Earth Day in 2022—Shatner performed original spoken-word lyrics, co-written with Robert Sharenow, that chronicle his transformative journey to space and articulate his unique and profound perspective on the fragility and vulnerability of nature and our planet, arranged and set to music by Jherek BischoffDaniel MillerGabriel Witcher and Eric Allen.

Shatner has enjoyed a longstanding friendship with the album’s collaborators including Ben Folds, with whom he released the acclaimed album Has Been in 2004; the Emmy-winning television producer Robert Sharenow, who shares writing credits on this program; and the GRAMMY Award®-winning musician, composer, and producer Dan Miller. Folds introduced to the project the composer and orchestrator Jherek Bischoff and bluegrass violin virtuoso and composer Gabriel Witcher to provide scoring or arrangements for the orchestra.

TRACKLIST

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

Ben Folds and William Shatner

EIGHT DAYS ON THE WATER Jherek Bischoff

Lyrics: Robert Sharenow and William Shatner

THE MEANING Jherek Bischoff

Lyrics: Robert Sharenow and William Shatner

ARE YOU THE BAYOU? Daniel Miller 

Arranger: Eric Allen, Lyrics: Robert Sharenow and William Shatner

I’LL BE WITH YOU Jherek Bischoff

Lyrics: Robert Sharenow and William Shatner

I WANT TO BE A TREE Gabriel Witcher

Lyrics: Robert Sharenow and William Shatner

SO FRAGILE, SO BLUE Jherek Bischoff

Lyrics: Robert Sharenow and William Shatner

ABOUT WILLIAM SHATNER

William Shatner has cultivated a career spanning over 60 years as an award-winning actor, director, producer, writer, recording artist, and horseman.  He is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable figures and a major philanthropist. He has won Emmys and also won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of eccentric lawyer “Denny Crane” on both The Practice and Boston Legal. He has received four additional Emmy nominations as well as other Golden Globe and SAG Award nods.

Mr. Shatner currently is the host and executive producer of The UnXplained on The History Channel. From the producers of Ancient Aliens and The Curse of Oak Island, the one-hour, non-fiction series explores the world’s most fascinating, strange and inexplicable mysteries. Shatner continues to act, write, produce and direct while still making time to work with charities and further his passion in equestrian sports. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

ABOUT STEVEN REINEKE
Steven Reineke is one of North America’s leading conductors of popular music and is in his second decade as Music Director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. Additionally, he is Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Principal Pops Conductor of the Houston and Toronto Symphony Orchestras.

Reineke is a frequent guest conductor and can be seen on the podium with the Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco and Detroit Symphony Orchestras.

On stage, Mr. Reineke creates and collaborates with a range of leading artists from the worlds hip-hop, R & B, Broadway, television and rock including: Maxwell, Common, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Ne-Yo, Barry Manilow, Cynthia Erivo, Ben Rector, Cody Fry, Sutton Foster, Amos Lee, Dispatch, Jason Mraz, and Ben Folds, amongst others.


As the creator of hundreds orchestral arrangements, Reineke’s work is performed worldwide and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings. His wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands perennially.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The 2023–2024 season is the National Symphony Orchestra’s 93rd season, and Music Director Gianandrea Noseda’s seventh season. Noseda serves as the Orchestra’s seventh Music Director, joining the NSO’s legacy of distinguished leaders: Christoph Eschenbach, Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Antal Doráti, Howard Mitchell, and Hans Kindler. Its artistic leadership also includes Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke and Artistic Advisor Ben Folds.

Since its founding in 1931, the NSO has been committed to performances that enrich the lives of its audience and community members. In 1986, the National Symphony became an artistic affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where it has performed since the Center opened in 1971. The 96-member NSO participates in events of national and international importance, including the annual nationally televised concerts on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, live-streamed performances from the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on medici.tv, and local radio broadcasts on Classical WETA 90.9 FM.

The NSO builds on its recording legacy with its eponymous label that launched in 2020. Since launching, the National Symphony Orchestra has garnered praise for its ambitious recording projects including the orchestra’s first complete Beethoven Symphony cycle and the release of the first-ever cycle of George Walker’s Sinfonias, both led by Music Director Gianandrea Noseda.

Additionally, the NSO’s community engagement and education projects are nationally recognized, including NSO In Your Neighborhood, an annual week of performances in schools, churches, community centers, and other unexpected venues; Notes of Honor, which offers free performances for active, veteran, prior service, and retired members of the military and their families; and Sound Health, a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its affiliated organizations. Career development opportunities for young musicians include the NSO Youth Fellowship Program and its acclaimed, tuition-free Summer Music Institute.