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Michael Feinstein: The Gershwins and Me

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Michael Feinstein
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This performance is made in possible in part by a grant from the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation

Entertainer Michael Feinstein is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. And when it comes to standards, nothing compares to the timeless music of George and Ira Gershwin. Enjoy an evening of some of the greatest music ever written with this performer who has been dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook.”

Background:
Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer dubbed "The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook," is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.

More than simply a performer, Feinstein is nationally recognized for his commitment to celebrating America's popular song and preserving its legacy for the next generation. He serves on the Library of Congress' National Recording Preservation Board, which has been asked to ensure the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America's sound recording heritage.

Feinstein's earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for "The Sinatra Project," his Concord Records CD celebrating the music of "Ol' Blue Eyes." A new PBS concert special, "The Sinatra Legacy," is currently airing across the country; "The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life," its companion CD, was released on October 25. Last year's PBS series "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook" -- in which he uncovers treasures of classic American music -- is now available on DVD, with an additional disc of bonus features. The series, the recipient of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Television Broadcast Award, will return with six primetime episodes starting in February 2012.

He released the CDs "The Power Of Two" -- collaborating with "Glee" and "30 Rock" star Cheyenne Jackson -- and "Cheek To Cheek," recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. His recent recording "We Dreamed These Days," features the Carmel Symphony Orchestra and a title song he co-wrote with Dr. Maya Angelou.

Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to an annual international Great American Arts festival, diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Starting in 2010, he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 2007, he created the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving its legacy for the next generation through Master Classes, educational programs, and exhibitions.

Feinstein is working with MGM to turn "The Thomas Crown Affair" into a Broadway musical. He also has designed a new piano for Steinway called "The First Ladies," inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Reagan centennial on February 6, 2011.

In 2005, Feinstein recorded "Hopeless Romantics," a songbook of Harry Warren classics recorded with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. The previous year, he completed a national tour with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb based on their album "Only One Life -- The Songs of Jimmy Webb." The disc was named one of "10 Best CDs of the Year" by USA Today.

In 2003, Feinstein received his fourth Grammy nomination for his release "Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra," his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released "The Michael Feinstein Anthology," a two-disc compilation spanning the years 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously unreleased tracks.

Michael's own record label, Feinery, a Concord Records subsidiary, released "The Livingston & Evans Songbook," featuring Feinstein and special guest Melissa Manchester. Feinery also records favorite current artists and restores recordings and musical broadcasts from the golden age of popular song.
His Manhattan nightclub, Feinstein's at Loews Regency, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz, including Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming. Feinstein appears there for a sold-out holiday engagement every year.

His many other credits include scoring the original music for the film Get Bruce and performing on the hits television series "Better With You," "Caroline in the City," "Melrose Place," "Coach," "Cybill" and "7th Heaven."

The roots of all this work began in Columbus, Ohio, where Feinstein started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he worked in local piano bars for two years, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin's assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded
Gershwin's influence provided a solid base upon which Feinstein evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren. Feisntein has received three honorary doctorates.

Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins and Carole Bayer Sager), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.

 

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Mayo Performing Arts Center, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit performing arts organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey.

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