Feinstein brings Great American Songbook to life at Belleayre July 11
Highmount — Michael Feinstein will bring the cherished songs of the Great American Songbook to life in his mesmerizing style at the Belleayre Music Festival on Saturday, July 11 at 8 p.m.
A six-time Grammy nominee, The New York Times calls Feinstein, “The greatest proponent of the American Songbook since Frank Sinatra.” His new CD on Concord Records, “The Sinatra Project,” is heading up the Billboard charts.
Feinstein, considered the foremost international ambassador of American Standards, performs regularly at all the great concert halls worldwide. He will follow this Belleayre engagement with a two-night stint at the Hollywood Bowl.
He was honored for his status as a premier cabaret vocalist by having a NYC night club named in his honor, Feinstein’s at the Regency. In addition, he is the founder of the Michael Feinstein Foundation dedicated to the preservation of the American Songbook. The Foundation holds an annual competition to choose a young American songwriter to recognize and support.
For more than a quarter-century, Feinstein has dedicated his career to preserving, protecting and promoting the work of the great tunesmiths, from Gershwin, Porter and Berlin to lesser known craftsmen such as Hugh Martin and Burton Lane. He is arguably the world’s foremost anthropologist and archivist of the Great American Songbook,
Feinstein developed an interest in the piano and in show music at an early age. After moving with his family to Los Angeles in 1976, he met Oscar Levant’s widow, who in turn introduced him to Ira Gershwin. He was hired by Gershwin in 1977 to help organize the Gershwin archives, and continued to work with the lyricist until Gershwin’s death in 1983.
In 1984, Feinstein launched a career as a pianist and singer devoted to the music of the ’30s and ’40s, playing at private parties in the Los Angeles area. He had a seven-month residence at the Mondrian Hotel, during which Liza Minnelli threw a party in his honor (February 1985) that got his name around. In January 1986 he opened at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, where a six-week engagement stretched to 16 weeks.
Feinstein’s debut album, “Live at the Algonquin,” mixed the songs of Irving Berlin and Oscar Levant with more current material by Stephen Sondheim and Gretchen Cryer. He proceeded to record a series of albums spotlighting the work of specific composers, among them 1998’s Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin, as well as a children’s album.
In 2002, he released “The Michael Feinstein Anthology,” a collection that spanned his work from 1987-1996, and participated in an episode of the PBS show Great Performances. The following year, he earned a Grammy nomination for “Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.”
Feinstein released “Sings the Jule Styne Songbook” and his latest project (24th release) is The Sinatra Project, his first recorded tribute to another artist.
The rest of the schedule includes: Saturday, July 18 at 8 p.m., John Covelli and Justin Kolb; Saturday, July 25 at 8 p.m. Festival Opera - Die Fledermaus; Sunday, July 26 at 1 p.m.; Humpty Dumpty – Children’s Opera (free admission);
Also: Saturday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. Paul Simon’s Graceland backing band, Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Friday, Aug. 7 at 8 p.m., Pablo Ziegler – Trio for Nuevo Tango; Saturday, Aug. 8 at 8 p.m., jazz chanteuse Leny Andrade; Friday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m., Kevin Mahogany; Saturday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m., Jay Leno’s band leader Kevin Eubanks; Saturday, Aug. 22 – 8 p.m., Bob Marley’s band The Original Wailers; Sunday, Aug. 23 at 1 p.m., KIDSTOCK featuring Uncle Rock and the Playthings with special guests Paul Green’s School of Rock (free admission); Saturday, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m., Mary Wilson of the Supremes; Saturday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. ABBA— The Tour.
Ticket for all shows in the 2009 summer concert season at the Belleayre Music Festival, are on sale via Ticketmaster. For additional information, please call 800 942-6904, ext. 1344 or visit: www.belleayremusic.org. The festival’s e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Belleayre Mountain is just off Route 28 in Highmount.