News Release, Smithsonian Institutes

Ben Folds (Photo: Joe Vaughn)

Smithsonian Associates will host an informal and intimate evening with Ben Folds Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 6:45 p.m. at the National Museum of the American Indian’s Rasmuson Theater. In conversation with NPR Music editor and reviewer Stephen Thompson, Folds will discuss what it took to move from a working-class childhood to stardom. He will also perform a few songs.

Folds has crafted a wide-ranging career path that has sometimes been as unexpected as it has been successful. The former frontman of Ben Folds Five has worked with artists as diverse as Sara Bareilles, Regina Spektor, and William Shatner was a judge for five seasons on NBC’s The Sing-Off, composed a piano concerto that topped the Billboard charts and is the first artistic advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra. He is also an outspoken champion for arts education and music therapy and serves as chair of ArtsVote 2020, which focuses on holding presidential candidates accountable on arts issues.

Folds will share how his personal life intersects with his songwriting, why he insists that the ups and downs are essential for any artist and how paying his dues and never losing sight of his dream of a creative life helped shape him into the musician he wanted to be. His first book, a memoir titledA Dream About Lightning Bugs: A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons(Ballantine Books), will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

Ticket prices for the Smithsonian Associates’ presentation are $35 for general admission and $25 for members. For information, the public may call (202) 633-3030 or

For more than 50 years, Smithsonian Associates—the largest museum-based education program in the world—has produced vibrant educational and cultural programming that brings the Smithsonian to life. Inspired by the Smithsonian’s research, collections and exhibitions, each year nearly 1,000 public programs spark creativity and excite learning in people of all ages.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...