Michael Jay Feinstein (born September 7, 1956) is an American
singer, pianist, and music revivalist. He is an interpreter of, and an
anthropologist and archivist for, the repertoire known as the Great
American Songbook. In 1988 he won a
Drama Desk Special Award for
celebrating American musical theatre songs. Feinstein is also a
multi-platinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated recording
artist. He currently serves as Artistic Director for The Center for
the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana.
1 Early life
3 Personal life
7 External links
Feinstein was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Florence Mazie (née
Cohen), an amateur tap dancer, and Edward Feinstein, a sales executive
Sara Lee Corporation
Sara Lee Corporation and a former amateur singer. At the
age of five, he studied piano for a couple of months until his teacher
became angered that he was not reading the sheet music she gave him,
since he was more comfortable playing by ear. As his mother saw no
problem with her son's method, she took him out of lessons and allowed
him to enjoy music his own way.
After graduating from high school, Feinstein worked in local piano
bars for two years, moving to
Los Angeles when he was 20. Through the
widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant, in 1977 he was
introduced to Ira Gershwin, who hired him to catalogue his extensive
collection of phonograph records. The assignment led to six years of
researching, cataloguing and preserving the unpublished sheet music
and rare recordings in Gershwin's home, thus securing the legacy of
not just Ira but also that of his composer brother George Gershwin,
who had died four decades earlier. Feinstein's extended tenure enabled
him to also get to know Gershwin's next-door neighbor, singer Rosemary
Clooney, with whom Feinstein formed an intensely close friendship
lasting until Clooney's death. Feinstein served as musical consultant
for the 1983 Broadway show My One and Only, a musical pastiche of
By the mid-1980s, Feinstein was a nationally known cabaret
singer-pianist famed for being a dedicated proponent of the Great
American Songbook. In 1986, he recorded his first CD, Pure Gershwin
(1987), a collection of music by George and Ira Gershwin. He followed
this in quick succession with Live at the Algonquin (1986); Remember:
Michael Feinstein Sings Irving Berlin (1987); Isn't It Romantic
(1988), a collection of standards and his first album backed by an
orchestra; and Over There (1989), featuring the music of America and
Europe during the First World War. Feinstein recorded his only
children's album, Pure Imagination, in 1992. In the 1987 episode "But
Not For Me" of the TV series thirtysomething he sang "But Not For Me",
"Love Is Here to Stay" and
Isn't It Romantic? as parts of dream
By 1988, Feinstein was starring on Broadway in a series of in-concert
Michael Feinstein in Concert (April through June 1988), Michael
Feinstein in Concert: "Isn't It Romantic" (October through November
Michael Feinstein in Concert: Piano and Voice (October
1990). He returned to Broadway in 2010, in a concert special duo with
Dame Edna titled All About Me (March through April 2010).
In the early 1990s, Feinstein embarked on an ambitious songbook
project wherein he performed an album featuring the music of a
featured composer, often accompanied by the composer. These included
Burton Lane (two volumes: 1990, 1992), Jule Styne
Jerry Herman (
Michael Feinstein Sings the Jerry Herman
Hugh Martin (1995),
Jimmy Webb (Only One Life: The
Songs of Jimmy Webb, 2003) and Jay Livingston/
Ray Evans (2002). He has
also recorded three albums of standards with Maynard Ferguson: Forever
(1993), Such Sweet Sorrow (1995), and
Big City Rhythms (1999).
In the late 1990s, Feinstein recorded two more albums of Gershwin
music: Nice Work If You Can Get It: Songs by the Gershwins (1996) and
Michael & George: Feinstein Sings
Gershwin (1998). Feinstein's
albums in the 21st century have included Romance on Film, Romance on
Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic
Hopeless Romantics (2005, featuring George
The Sinatra Project (2008).
Michael Feinstein and
Marvin Hamlisch performing a duet of Cole
Porter's "Anything Goes" in 2009.
In 2000, the
Library of Congress
Library of Congress appointed Feinstein to its newly
formed National Recording Preservation Board, an organization
dedicated to safeguarding America's musical heritage.
The Great American Songbook
The Great American Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein,
Founder located its headquarters in Carmel, Indiana. The Foundation's
two-fold mission includes the preservation, research, and exhibition
of the physical artifacts, both published and non-published, of the
Great American Songbook
Great American Songbook and educating today's youth about the music's
relevance to their lives. The Foundation houses an archive and
reference library; plans exist for a free-standing museum. The
organization also holds an annual
Great American Songbook
Great American Songbook Vocal
Academy and Competition that invites high school students from around
the country to compete in regional competitions; Feinstein has been a
judge and mentor for the summer intensive each year from its inception
in 2009. Finalists gather at the Foundation's headquarters for a
vocal "boot camp" and final competition. The winner receives
scholarship money and the opportunity to perform with Michael at his
cabaret in New York.
In 2009 Feinstein became the artistic director of The Center for the
Performing Arts. located in Carmel, Indiana. Construction of the
$170-million, three-theater venue was completed in January, 2011. The
Center is home to an annual international arts festival, diverse live
The Great American Songbook
The Great American Songbook Foundation, Michael
In 2009, Feinstein teamed up with
Cheyenne Jackson to create a
nightclub act titled "The Power of Two". The show was hailed by The
New York Times as "passionate", "impeccably harmonized" and
"groundbreaking". Variety acclaimed it as "dazzlingly
entertaining". Their act became one of the most critically
acclaimed shows of 2009, and the duo created a studio
album from the material,
The Power of Two that included their cover of
Indigo Girls song of the same name.
In addition to doing more than 150 live performances per year,
Feinstein has appeared on a number of television series,
documentaries, and talk shows.
In 2010, PBS aired Michael Feinstein's American Songbook, a three-part
television documentary that depicts the history of the American
popular song up to 1960, as well as Feinstein's own life and
As of June 2011, Feinstein has written the score for two new stage
musicals, The Night They Saved Macy's Parade and The Gold Room.
His Manhattan nightclub, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, presented the
top talents of pop and jazz from 1999 to 2012, including Rosemary
Clooney, Liza Minnelli, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll,
Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper,
Jason Mraz and Alan
Cumming. The club was closed in December 2012 due to a year-long
complete renovation of the Regency Hotel. Michael opened his new
nightclub, Feinstein's at the Nikko in San Francisco's Nikko Hotel in
Feinstein's/54 Below at New York's
Studio 54 in 2015 and
also plans for a future nightclub in London.
Since 2012, Feinstein has been the host of the weekly, one-hour radio
program Song Travels with Michael Feinstein®, produced by South
Carolina ETV Radio and distributed by NPR. On the program, Feinstein
explores the legendary songs of 20th century America. The series
surveys the passage of American Popular Song throughout the American
landscape, evolving with each artist and performance. Podcast
highlights of the show are also available under the title Song Travels
Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor for the
Pasadena POPS in
2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical
acclaim. In 2016, Feinstein's contract with the
Pasadena POPS was
extended through 2019. Under Feinstein's leadership, the Pasadena
POPS has quickly become the nation's premier presenter of the Great
American Songbook in the orchestral arena delivering definitive
performances of rare orchestrations and classic arrangements.
Feinstein's memoir The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve
Songs about working for
Ira Gershwin was published in the fall of
2012, accompanied by a CD of Feinstein performing the Gershwin
brothers' music discussed in the book.
In April 2013 Michael released a new CD, Change Of Heart: The Songs of
André Previn, (Concord) in collaboration with legendary
composer-conductor-pianist André Previn, with an album celebrating
Previn's repertoire from his catalog of pop songs that have most
commonly been featured in motion pictures. The album opens with
"(You've Had) A Change of Heart".
On October 31, 2014, Feinstein's
Michael Feinstein at the Rainbow Room
premiered on PBS, with guest stars. The special is part of the 2014
PBS Arts Fall Festival, a primetime programming event with 11 weekly
programs of classic Broadway hits and music from around the country,
as well as acclaimed and award-winning theater performances.
In October 2008, Feinstein married his longtime partner Terrence
Flannery. The ceremony was performed by famed family court and
television judge Judith Sheindlin, also known as Judge Judy.
Feinstein and Flannery have homes in New York, Los Angeles, and
For Feinstein's discography see
Michael Feinstein discography.
Feinstein, Michael (1995). Nice Work If You Can Get It: My Life in
Rhythm and Rhyme. Hyperion. ISBN 978-0-7868-6093-7.
^ a b "
Michael Feinstein Biography (1956-)". Filmreference.com.
^ "Search The Vault : Michael Feinstein". Playbill.com. Retrieved
^ "The Center for the Performing Arts – Home of the Palladium –
Carmel, Indiana". Thecenterfortheperformingarts.org. Retrieved
Michael Feinstein at the Internet Broadway Database
National Recording Preservation Board (Library of
Congress)". Loc.gov. 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
^ Judges. Thecenterfortheperformingarts.org. Retrieved 21 June 2015
Michael Feinstein taking post with Carmel arts hall - 13 WTHR
Indianapolis". Wthr.com. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
^ Holden, Stephen (2009-03-06). "What Secret Hearts? Let the Sunshine
In". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
^ Suskin, Steven (2009-06-27). "Cabarets Change". Variety. Retrieved
^ "The Power of Two". TheaterMania. 2009-03-06. Retrieved
^ Finkle, David (2009-06-16). "Life Is Still a Cabaret, Vow Feinstein,
Jackson". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
^ Dziemianowicz, Joe (2009-12-06). "Odd Couple Take Over City
Cabaret". NY Daily News. New York. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
^ "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook The PBS Series".
Michaelfeinsteinsamericansongbook.org. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
^ "Feinstein Comes Full Swing to Capitol-Era Sinatra". The New York
Times. 2008-09-01. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
^ "Song Travels Michael Feinstein". michaelfeinstein.com. Archived
from the original on 2 November 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
Michael Feinstein Renews Contract with Pasadena POPS". Pasadena
Now. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
NPR staff (October 13, 2012). "Michael Feinstein: What I Learned
From The Gershwins".
NPR music. NPR. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
^ Getlin, Josh (2010-10-03). "
Michael Feinstein is in the national
Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
^ "Judge Judy" Check url= value (help). Larry King Live. November 10,
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Michael Feinstein.
Michael Feinstein's American Songbook
Official fan club
Great American Songbook
Great American Songbook Foundation
The Center for the Performing Arts
Michael Feinstein on IMDb
Michael Feinstein at the
Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Finding aid author: John N. Gillespie (2013). "Michael
Feinstein collection of studio recordings". Prepared for the L. Tom
Special Collections, Provo, UT. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
ISNI: 0000 0000 7366 7763
BNF: cb13933692m (data)