Michael Feinstein

Championing the great American songbook, singer and pianist Michael Feinstein has made an art form out of a classic era of music, reviving the sounds of George Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, Irving Berlin and many others. The son of a former dance band singer and an amateur tap dancer, he was born in Columbus, Ohio and was playing piano by ear by the time he was five. Moving to Los Angeles with his family in 1976, he got a job with Ira Gershwin cataloguing the classic lyricist's extensive archives, a task he performed for seven years until Gershwin's death, all the while becoming increasingly passionate about the old songs he was exposed to, while forming an influential friendship with Gershwin's neighbour, the singer Rosemary Clooney. Inspired to launch a career in cabaret, he became musical consultant for the Broadway show of Gershwin tunes, 'My One and Only', and released his debut album 'Pure Gershwin' in 1985. An album of Irving Berlin material followed in 1987 and he began performing his 'Great American Songbook' show on Broadway. A series of thematic albums followed, including war tunes on 'Over There' and 'The MGM Album' of film songs. He subsequently switched to more contemporary material but returned to the songs of Gershwin for 'Nice Work If You Can Get It' in 1996 and 'Michael and George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin' in 1998, going on to front the Maynard Ferguson Big Band and record with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Into the 21st Century he continued to explore classic American songs, working at one point with the legendary pianist George Shearing, recording the songs of Jimmy Webb and scoring another hit with 'The Sinatra Project' in 2008, followed by 'Volume 2' three years later. He also formed the Great American Songbook Foundation in Carmel, Indiana, designed to research, preserve and showcase the music and inspire the interest of new generations.

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