Part of: Standard Time with Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein, ambassador of the Great American Songbook, has built a dazzling career throughout the last three decades. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy nominations to his Emmy-nominated PBS-TV specials, his acclaimed NPR series, and concerts that span the globe, his work as an educator and archivist define him as one of the most important musical forces of our time.
In 2007, Mr. Feinstein founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, master classes, and the annual Songbook Academy for high school students. He also serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board, which ensures the future of America’s sound recording heritage.
The most recent album from his multi-platinum recording career is A Michael Feinstein Christmas on Concord Records, featuring Grammy Award–winning jazz pianist Alan Broadbent. In 2009, Mr. Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy nomination for The Sinatra Project.
His Emmy Award–nominated TV special Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Legacy—taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana—aired nationally in 2011. The PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook 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, Mr. Feinstein interviews and performs alongside music luminaries.
Mr. Feinstein was named principal conductor of the Pasadena POPS in 2012. Two years later, he launched an additional pops series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is also artistic director of the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, and director of the Jazz and Popular Song series at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Mr. Feinstein’s nightclub at San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel, has presented the top music talents since 2013. He debuted at Feinstein’s / 54 Below, his new club in New York City, in late 2015.
After graduating from high school, Michael Feinstein moved to Los Angeles, where the widow of legendary pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin. Mr. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.
For additional information, visit michaelfeinstein.com.
Karen Ziemba received the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for her performance in Contact at Lincoln Center Theater. Her other theater credits include And the World Goes ’Round (Drama Desk Award), Curtains (Outer Critics Circle Award), Steel Pier (Tony nomination), Crazy for You (Jeff Award), Kid Victory (Lucille Lortel nomination), Prince of Broadway (Manhattan Theatre Club), A. R. Gurney’s Heresy (The Flea Theater), Do I Hear a Waltz?, The Pajama Game (New York City Center Encores!), 110 in the Shade, The Most Happy Fella (New York City Opera), Other People’s Money (Long Wharf Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Theatre Company and Hartford Stage), Sweeney Todd (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis), A Little Night Music (American Conservatory Theater), Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, and Six Degrees of Separation (The Old Globe). She’s appeared as a guest star on Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: SVU, the Kennedy Center Honors, and several of PBS’ Great Performances from Carnegie Hall.
Originally from Vermont, Heather Gehring studied classical ballet at the Boston Ballet, The School of American Ballet, and Hartford City Ballet, becoming a professional at age 16. Besides the stage, she has danced on television (MTV, Gossip Girl, Today, The Tony Danza Show, Boardwalk Empire); and in movies (Disney’s Enchanted, Little Manhattan). With Lou Brockman, she has traveled the world teaching and performing, including appearances at Town Hall (with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, Broadway by the Year), Feinstein’s / 54 Below, Rainbow Room, Birdland, and other famous venues throughout New York City. Together, they have taught and performed at Jacob’s Pillow, Harvard University (with Wynton Marsalis), and New York University.
A Chicago native, Lou Brockman began ballroom dancing when he was a teen. He has lived in New York City for more than two decades. He has danced in films (Mona Lisa Smile, Disney’s Enchanted); on television (The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Today, Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, Boardwalk Empire); and on stages around the world (The Kennedy Center, The Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow). Mr. Brockman was a member of the acclaimed American Ballroom Theater, and is a highly respected choreographer who has taught master classes at Harvard University and New York University.