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 150-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall 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 love of song can be heard in The Sinatra Project, his 2009 Concord Records CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” and in the PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, in which he uncovers treasures from the Great American Songbook.
If that weren’t enough, Feinstein will serve as artistic director of the Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, scheduled to open in January 2011. The theater will be home to an annual international Great American Songbook festival, diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Starting in 2010, he also took over as director of Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Lincoln Center.
Feinstein has written the score for the new stage musical The Gold Room, and he is working with MGM to turn The Thomas Crown Affair into a Broadway musical. He also is designing a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano.
Before The Sinatra Project, Feinstein recorded Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of Harry Warren classics recorded with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. In 2004, he 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, 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.
Feinstein hosted and produced The Great American Songbook, a 2003 PBS special and DVD set from Warner Brothers Home Video that traced 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 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, Steve Tyrell, Barbara Cook, Glen Campbell, Diahann Carroll, Cheyenne Jackson, 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 television series “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 lounges 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.
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.