What We Have
The most popular singers in the latter half of the 20th century appeared on concert stages, in Las Vegas, and on television. Their recordings were played on radio stations worldwide. They sang songs from what is now termed “The Great American Songbook,” songs they were instrumental in embedding in the collective consciousness of their audiences. Every song they performed required a specially created orchestration to support the singers’ talents and enhance the song itself.
These orchestrations were written by talented and creative arrangers who fashioned their work to enhance the song and the singer’s unique gifts. The performers who appeared on weekly television shows had to sing different songs every week, so their libraries grew to include hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of orchestrations. For years
For years these orchestrations have languished in closets, warehouses and storage rooms. Now, for the first time, we are making those orchestrations available to singers and orchestras. Instead of commissioning an orchestration which could cost you several thousand dollars, you can rent an exceptional arrangement for a very modest fee.
Who We Are
Michael Feinstein 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 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 music luminaries such as Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, David Hyde Pierce and more.
Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor of 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 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 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 Reagan 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 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 became 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.
owner, Chelsea Music
Donald Oliver studied at the Manhattan School of Music and was part of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop under the direction of the late Lehman Engel. He compiled an edited two books, a collection of George S. Kaufman’s writings entitled “By George,” and “The Greatest Revue Sketches.” His primer for performers, “How to Audition for the Musical Theatre,” is published by Smith & Kraus.
He wrote the score for “The Case of the Dead Flamingo Dancer” (book and lyrics: Dan Butler), which was produced in the United States and England and collaborated on two songs for the holiday musical revue “That Time of the Year.” Currently he’s developing and writing the music for the revue-sical “In the Name of Love” (the lyricists include Sheldon Harnick, David Zippel, David Spencer and Barry Kleinbort).
With Chelsea Music he worked on over 130 musicals, mostly on Broadway.
What to do now
Check out the Home page and the Our Collection page to see the lists of orchestrations you can rent.