LAST LUNCHEON MAY. 10, 2013
Honoree: Michael Feinstein
Noted pianist and singer Michael Feinstein received PPB's coveted Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award at its last celebrity luncheon on May 10 at Sportsmen's Lodge.
The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer, dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace. He is especially recognized for his knowledge of the works of George and Ira Gershwin and Frank Sinatra.
More than simply a performer, Feinstein has received national recognition for his commitment to celebrating America’s popular song and preserving its legacy for the next generation. In 2007, he founded the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Vocal Academy and Competition, which awards scholarships and prizes to students across the country.
Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for "The Sinatra Project," his Concord Records CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” "The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life" was released last year. His Emmy-nominated TV special, "Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy," which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, is currently airing across the country. His PBS series "Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook" was the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award. The first two seasons are now available on DVD and the third season is airing currently on PBS. For his nationally-syndicated public radio program "Song Travels," Michael interviews and performs alongside music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.
The roots of all this work began in Columbus, Ohio, where Feinstein started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After being graduated from high school, he worked in local piano bars 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 Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.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. Feinstein has received three honorary doctorates.
His many other credits include scoring the original music for the film "Get Bruce" and performing on the hit television series “Better With You,” “Caroline in the City,” “Melrose Place,” “Coach,” “Cybill“ and “7th Heaven.”
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.
On the Dais: Front Row: Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Honoree Michael Feinstein, Myra Janco Daniels, PPB Chair Jeanne DeVivier Brown, Second Row: Chuck Southcott, Bill Moran, Debby Boone, Saul Levine, Patricia Kelly, Herb Eiseman, Back Row: Paul Jan Jdunek, PPB President Chuck Street, (Not Pictured: Norman Lear & Florence Henderson), (David Keeler Photo)