Michael Feinstein Uncovers Treasures from His Personal Archives for An Evening of Gershwin with the Pasadena Pops

Published : Friday, August 4, 2017 | 1:25 PM

Michael Feinstein and the Pasadena POPS jazz up the Los Angeles County Arboretum stage with an evening devoted to one of America’s most beloved musical icons for Gershwin & Friends on Saturday, August 19th. No one is better equipped to honor the Jazz-Age stylings of Gershwin than Principal Pops Conductor Michael Feinstein, who got his start as Ira Gershwin’s archivist. Working under Ira’s tutelage for over six years, Feinstein had access to rare, unpublished sheet music and recordings, some of which he will dust off for this special occasion for once in a lifetime renditions.

Celebrate under the stars as Feinstein uncovers treasures from his personal archives with “Someone to Watch Over Me, “I Got Rhythm,” “Embraceable You,” plus gems from Gershwin’s contemporaries like Kern, Bernstein and Copland. For the evening’s program, Feinstein will review a whole genre spun by Gershwin, that brought together the worlds of symphonic and popular music.

“The idea of Gershwin and friends is a very exciting concept to present with the Pasadena Pops. When George Gershwin burst on the scene in the 1920’s with his “Rhapsody in Blue” and the “Concerto in F” there were many other writers who tried to emulate Gershwin by combining concert music (classical music) with jazz and pop. It wasn’t just classical music, it wasn’t just jazz. It wasn’t just popular song or film scoring. It was the birth of a seminal sound that still deeply resonates with people today.” – Michael Feinstein

As Feinstein transports the audience back to the Jazz Age, he will be joined on stage by three sparkling vocalists. Jordan Donica was able to take a brief respite from the national tour of Hamilton to grace the stage alongside Broadway veteran Rachel York, best known for roles in City of Angels, Victor/Victoria, and as Fantine in Les Misérables. York’s seasoned soprano will be well complemented by up and comer Madelyn Baillio, who recently rose to fame starring in NBC’s Hairspray Live! in the role of Tracy Turnblad. Along with a duo of dancers that will accompany some special pieces, Feinstein expects these three varied talents to express the different aspects of Gershwin and friends in the most gratifying way.

All Pasadena POPS concerts are held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Grounds open for picnicking and dining at 5:30pm and performances begin at 7:30pm. Don’t miss the best outdoor dinner party in town with spacious circular table seating with fine linens, or lawn seating for those who want to bring a blanket – each option carries on the tradition of picnic-dining with your family and friends with Pasadena’s premier POPS orchestra! Among many venue amenities, concert goers can enjoy pre-ordered gourmet dining packages for on-site pickup just steps from their table from Julienne, Marston’s and Claud & Co. The food court hosts mouth-watering food trucks plus specialty ice creams by Choctál, and the venue now offers the convenience of two full beverage centers serving fine wines, beer, coffee and soft drinks.

Audiences get the ultimate outdoor concert experience with large LED video screens to see Michael Feinstein and the orchestra up close, superior sound and the high-quality production value that is a signature of the Pasadena POPS. Patrons may also visit the Pasadena Humane Society’s Mobile Adoption Unit, which will be on-site prior to each concert with deserving animals in need of a forever home as part of the Pups for POPS program. For those who want to make a night of it, exclusive hotel packages are available for POPS patrons at Pasadena’s landmark Hotel Constance.

The Arboretum is located at 301 North Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA. Subscribers may pre-purchase parking on-site at the Arboretum, and all concertgoers enjoy free parking at the adjacent Westfield Santa Anita shopping center with complimentary non-stop shuttle service to the Arboretum’s main entrance.

Single tickets start at $25 and are available by calling the box office at (626)-793-7172, online at PasadenaSymphony-Pops.org, or at the Arboretum on the day of the concert.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Michael Feinstein, Principal Pops Conductor, Tom and Erika Girardi Chair

Michael Feinstein has built a dazzling career over the last three decades bringing the music of the Great American songbook to the world. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations to his Emmy nominated PBS-TV specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe – in addition to his appearances at iconic venues such as The White House, Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House – his work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.

In 2007, he founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Songbook Academy. This summer intensive open to students from across the country has produced graduates who have gone on to record acclaimed albums and appear on television programs such as NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” 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.

The most recent album from his multi-platinum recording career is A Michael Feinstein Christmas from Concord Records. The CD features Grammy Award -winning jazz pianist Alan Broadbent (Paul McCartney, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole). Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released in 2011. He released the CDs The Power Of Two – collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson – and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. For Feinstein’s CD We Dreamed These Days, he co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.

His Emmy Award-nominated TV special Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, aired across the country in 2011. The PBS series “Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook,” the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award, was broadcast for three seasons and is available on DVD. His most recent primetime PBS-TV Special, “New Year’s Eve at The Rainbow Room” – written and directed by “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry – aired in 2014. For his nationally syndicated public radio program “Song Travels,” Michael interviews and performs alongside of music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.

Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical acclaim. Under Feinstein’s leadership, the Pasadena Pops has quickly become a premier orchestral presenter of the Great American Songbook with definitive performances of rare orchestrations and classic arrangements. He launched an additional Pops series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Palm Beach, Florida in 2014.
Michael’s book The Gershwins and Me – the Los Angeles Times best-seller from Simon & Schuster – features a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano.

Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Since 1999, he has served as Artistic Director for Carnegie Hall’s “Standard Time with Michael Feinstein” in conjunction with ASCAP. In 2010 he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Michael’s nightclub at San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz since 2013. He debuted at Feinstein’s/54 Below, his new club in New York, late in 2015. His first venue in New York, Feinstein’s at the Regency, featured major entertainers such as Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Alan Cumming from 1999 to 2012.

He has 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 February 6, 2011.

In 2013 Michael released Change Of Heart: The Songs of Andre Previn in collaboration with four time Oscar and eleven time Grammy Award-winning composer-conductor-pianist Andre Previn. The album celebrates Previn’s pop songs and motion picture classics. Earlier album highlights include Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of classics by Michael’s late friend Harry Warren, recording with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. His album with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb, Only One Life – The Songs of Jimmy Webb, was named one of “10 Best CDs of the Year” by USA Today.

Feinstein received his fourth Grammy nomination for 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 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously-unreleased tracks.

Michael was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he moved 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.

Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, Bob Merrill and Marshall Barer), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.

For more information, please visit www.MichaelFeinstein.com.

Madelyn Baillio
Soloist

Hailing from League City, Texas, Madelyn Baillio served as the 2014 Songbook Youth Ambassador. A sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, she recently starred as Dracula in Dracula, the Musical and Winnifred in Once upon a Mattress at the York Theatre.

This past year Madelyn performed to capacity audiences at venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Grand 1894 Opera House, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Birdland

Jordan Donica
Soloist

Jordan Donica is currently starring as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the national tour of Hamilton. A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Jordan just completed a run starring as the leading man, Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, in the historic Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera.

Jordan is a recent graduate of Otterbein University, where he graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre Cum Laude. While at Otterbein, Jordan was seen as Valjean in Les Mis, JP Finch in How to Succeed…, Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest, the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods, and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. Jordan also directed the 2015 Festival Play Little Prints, a new student work that he is currently working on with playwright Anna Mulhall. Regional Credits include: Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar (Weathervane Playhouse), Ensemble in South Pacific (Utah Shakespeare Festival), Featured Performer in The Greenshow (USF), Captain/Hennessy in Dames at Sea (Otterbein Summer Theatre), and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Noblesville Shakespeare in the Park, Indianapolis Mitty Most Impressive Actor award 2013) . Jordan’s Film credits include Coda: An Independent Film by Abe Purvis.

Family is everything to Jordan, because without the “little village” of women who raised him, he would not be where he is today. “Every day is a gift”.

Rachel York
Soloist

Rachel York is a dynamic and versatile actress and singer. Ms. York is best known for her critically acclaimed Broadway performances in City of Angels, Les Misérables, Victor/Victoria (Drama Desk Award) with Dame Julie Andrews, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sly Fox with Richard Dreyfuss, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and most recently Disaster! The Musical. She also turned heads on television with her courageous portrayal of Lucille Ball in the CBS movie, Lucy.

On tour and regionally, Ms. York has earned accolades, most recently as Reno Sweeney in the national tour of the Tony-winning revival Anything Goes (Helen Hayes Award). She also earned rave reviews in the dual roles of Edith Bouvier Beale and “Little” Edie Beale in this last summer’s Los Angeles production of Grey Gardens opposite Betty Buckley. Additionally, Ms. York starred in the national tour of Camelot (Carbonell Award) opposite Michael York, Putting It Together (Manhattan Theatre Club) also with Julie Andrews, the National and London tours of Kiss Me, Kate (PBS), Dessa Rose at Lincoln Center, Turn of the Century opposite Jeff Daniels at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, The Odd Couple with Jason Alexander and Martin Short in Los Angeles, and many others. She can be seen opposite Cristin Milioti in the new film It Had to Be You.

In concert, Ms. York has been a soloist worldwide including appearances with the New York Pops; the National Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony under the direction of conductor Marvin Hamlisch; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; The Philly Pops; Utah Symphony; Minnesota Orchestra; Detroit Symphony; St. Louis Symphony; San Francisco Symphony; San Diego Symphony, Jerusalem Philharmonic, among many others. Earlier this year, Ms. York shared the stage as guest soloist with Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall.

Television appearances include The Mick, Power, Elementary, Hannah Montana, Frasier, Reba, Numb3rs, Close to Home, Spin City, and Diagnosis Murder.

Ms. York’s solo album, Let’s Fall in Love, was named one of the Top Ten Vocal CDs of the year by Talkin’ Broadway. For more information, please visit Rachel York on the web at www.rachelyork.com or on Twitter @TheRachelYork.

About the Pasadena Symphony Association

Recent Acclaim for the Pasadena Symphony and POPS
“The Pasadena Symphony signals a new direction…teeming with vitality…dripping with opulent, sexy emotion.” Los Angeles Times.

“…full of pulsating energy from first note to last… the strings were lushly resonant, the wind principals were at the top of their games, and the brass rang out with gleaming vigor.” –Pasadena Star News.
Formed in 1928, the Pasadena Symphony and POPS is an ensemble of Hollywood’s most talented, sought after musicians. With extensive credits in the film, television, recording and orchestral industry, the artists of Pasadena Symphony and POPS are the most heard in the world.

The Pasadena Symphony and POPS performs in two of the most extraordinary venues in the United States: Ambassador Auditorium, known as the Carnegie Hall of the West, and the luxuriant Los Angeles Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Internationally recognized, Grammy-nominated conductor, David Lockington, serves as the Pasadena Symphony Association’s Music Director, with performance-practice specialist Nicholas McGegan serving as Principal Guest Conductor. The multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” Michael Feinstein, is the Principal Pops Conductor, who succeeded Marvin Hamlisch in the newly created Marvin Hamlisch Chair.

A hallmark of its robust education programs, the Pasadena Symphony Association has served the youth of the region for over five decades through the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestras (PYSO) comprised of five performing ensembles, with over 250 gifted 4th-12th grade students from more than 50 schools all over the Southern California region. The PYSO Symphony often performs on the popular television show GLEE.

The PSA provides people from all walks of life with powerful access points to the world of symphonic music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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