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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Feinstein presents Gershwin music

    The Great American Songbook will open its pages to give an intimate look at one of its greatest contributors this weekend when singer and music archivist Michael Feinstein brings his show “The Gershwins and Me” to Centennial Hall.

    The show, sponsored by UApresents, will feature Feinstein, accompanied by a big band performing Ira and George Gershwin’s music such as “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “I’ve Got Plenty of Nothing” and “Summertime.”

    Feinstein worked for Ira Gershwin for six years, beginning in 1977 as an archivist and cataloguer. Along the way, he became a family friend. Feinstein said he got to know the reclusive songwriter and really learned to appreciate his music. The show will also feature stories from those years.

    According to David Soren, regents’ professor in the classics and anthropology departments at the UA, Feinstein’s contribution to classic American music cannot be understated.

    “He is probably the most important popular music archivist in America, in addition of course to being a well-known performing artist,” Soren said. “His work in preserving the legacy of George and Ira Gershwin is also of the highest importance for American popular culture.”

    Keith Pawlak is a professor and curator at the jazz and popular music archive owned by the School of Music.

    “He’s interested in preserving the legacy of composers,” Pawlak said. “He’s a very fine piano player. He’s able to interpret the words and music well.”

    Feinstein grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and began playing piano at the age of 5.

    Besides his earlier work with Gershwin, he hosts the NPR show “Song Travels with Michael Feinstein” and operates the nightclub Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco. He also works as an archivist and musical director and designs Steinway pianos.
    He has been nominated for two Emmys, is a five- time Grammy Award nominee and performs more than 200 shows a year.

    “Today’s music, Kanye or Rihanna or whatever, will become tomorrow’s history and could become forgotten,” Soren said. “Popular music is a reflection of its time and a celebration of unique artists who gained national and international acclaim then and now. Feinstein has done a wonderful job of resurrecting and celebrating these great artists of song.”

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