Editor's note: Adapted from a Pasadena POPS press release.
Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling artist dubbed "The Ambassador of The Great American Songbook," was named Principal Pops Conductor of the Pasadena POPS on Friday. The two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer takes over for the late Marvin Hamlisch, .
In addition to his recording and concert career, Feinstein is an accomplished archivist and television and radio host with his own nationally-broadcast series on PBS and NPR. Feinstein most recently performed with the Pasadena POPS at the on July 21, Hamlisch's last concert.
"Michael Feinstein is simply the right fit, having already charmed capacity crowds at the Arboretum," said Paul Jan Zdunek, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS Organization's CEO. "Not only is he a consummate musician, engaging communicator and master entertainer, his lifetime dedication to The Great American Songbook and countless national accomplishments uniquely positions him to build on Marvin’s legacy and lead the Pasadena POPS to new levels of artistic success."
Feinstein said Hamlisch inspired him greatly.
“To be connected with the Pasadena Pops is simply a great honor, and thrilling as well. It was the passing of our irreplaceable Marvin Hamlisch that has given me the desire to conduct, and every step of the way I will have him on my mind and in my heart," says Michael Feinstein, adding, "It was because of Marvin that I wish to do this because he had a great love for the Pasadena POPS and my experience with everybody last month was so positive on every level."
An Illustrious Career
Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and songwriting, Feinstein has established himself as an all-star force in American music and 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.
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 PBS series “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook” was the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award. Feinstein interviews and performs alongside music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Moby, Rickie Lee Jones and David Hyde Pierce for the nationally syndicated public radio program “Song Travels.”
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.
In 2010, he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Current projects include working with MGM to turn The Thomas Crown Affair into a Broadway musical. Feinstein has also designed a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Regan centennial on Feb. 6, 2011.
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. Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.
Marvin Hamlisch Chair
As Principal Pops Conductor, Hamlisch propelled the Pasadena POPS into a new and successful era, guided by his own contributions to The Great American Songbook and carrying on the legacies of Richard Rodgers and George Gershwin. He was a giant in American music, a true national treasure and dear friend whose music leaves a cherished legacy to the entire world.
To honor his life and work, the Pasadena POPS has created the Marvin Hamlisch Chair, an operating fund that will support Hamlisch's legacy and the unique programming he developed for the Pasadena POPS. Feinstein will serve as the first Principal Pops Conductor to hold this newly created Chair.
Gifts to the Marvin Hamlisch Chair fund may be made in honor or memory of a friend or family member or simply to celebrate Hamlisch’s musical and personal contributions to the Pasadena POPS and the world of music.
The summer 2012 season at the Los Angeles Country Arboretum continues as scheduled this Saturday with La Dolce Vita and closes on Sept.r 8 with Gershwin On The Green. Season subscriptions to the Pasadena POPS Summer 2013 season under the direction of Michael Feinstein are on sale now. 2013 Concert dates are June 8, June 29, July 13, Aug. 10 and Sept. 7. For more information visit www.PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org