MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, one of the premiere interpreters of American popular song, has been a household name since the success of his 1988 one-man Broadway show, Isn’t It Romantic. He enjoys an active performance calendar, including major concert halls, symphony orchestras, intimate jazz clubs, and college campuses. More than a performer, he is nationally recognized for his commitment to the American popular song, both celebrating its art and preserving its legacy for the next generation.
The Sinatra Project – his recent CD from Concord Records, which celebrates the musical sensibilities of “Old Blue Eyes” – earned Michael his fifth Grammy nomination. Feinstein is currently preparing a PBS-TV series, “Michael Feinstein: In Search Of” – to start airing in 2010 – in which Michael discovers treasures of the Great American Songbook around the world. He is designing a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano. Feinstein will also serve as the artistic director of the Carmel Performing Arts Center, a $160 million three-theater performing arts center in Carmel, Indiana, which will host an annual international Great American Songbook festival, along with diverse live programming and a museum to house his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Michael has written the score for two new stage musicals: The Day They Saved Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and The Gold Room, the latter scheduled to open soon in London’s West End.
His previous CD from Concord Records was Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of Harry Warren classics recorded with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. In 2004, Michael completed a national tour with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb based on their CD, 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, Michael received his fourth Grammy nomination for his Concord 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 2-disc compilation spanning the years 1987 to 1996, featuring old favorites and previously unreleased tracks.
He hosted and produced The Great American Songbook, a PBS special and DVD set from Warner Bros. Home Video that traces the history of popular music in our country. His 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 restore 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 such as Rosemary Clooney, Steve Tyrell, Barbara Cook, Tony Danza, Glen Campbell, Diahann Carroll, Jackie Mason, and Cleo Laine. He appears there for a sold-out holiday engagement every year. Michael also opened the new theater Feinstein’s at the Shaw in London. In its successful first year, the venue hosted such talent as Eartha Kitt, Dionne Warwick, Elaine Stritch, Chita Rivera, and Boy George.
Michael started playing piano by ear when he was five. As a teenager, he played at weddings and parties in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from high school, he worked in local piano lounges for two years, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. Through the widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant, he was introduced to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. He became his assistant for six years, granting Michael access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, which he has since performed and recorded.
Gershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Feinstein has not only evolved into a captivating performer, composer, and arranger of his own original music, but has also become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington, and Harry Warren.
Through his live performances (from the Hollywood Bowl to Carnegie Hall), recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, and Carole Bayer Sager), Feinstein has been an important musical force during the past 15 years. In addition, he scored the original music for the film Get Bruce. His television credits include performances on Caroline in the City, Melrose Place, Coach, and Sybil.
In 1998 Feinstein became a Concord Records artist, where he has recorded Michael and George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin, Big City Rhythms (with the Maynard Ferguson Big Band), and the double-CD Romance on Film, Romance on Broadway, among others. The Library of Congress recently elected Michael to the exclusive “National Sound Recording Advisory Board.” He and other industry leaders meet regularly in Washington D.C. for a forum on safeguarding America’s musical heritage.
For more information, please visit michaelfeinstein.com.