With Strings Attached: Michael Feinstein Sings Gershwin Watch what happens when the celebrated cabaret artist sings Gershwin with a string quartet.

From the Top

With Strings Attached: Michael Feinstein Sings Gershwin

Recently, From the Top had the pleasure of welcoming Michael Feinstein, the ambassador of the great American songbook, to our show in Carmel, Ind.

We played at the Palladium, at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, where Michael serves as artistic director. It's a beautiful facility with great acoustics, and it's also home to the Michael Feinstein Foundation and the Great American Songbook Archive and Museum. Here the public can view rare collection items and learn more about the "Soundtrack of America."

On stage, Michael and I joined 15-year-old harpist Katherine Kapelsohn and the teenaged members of Quartet Toujours to perform "Love Walked In" by George Gershwin, in an arrangement by Lee Blaske.

I asked Michael about his repertoire choice and he recalled that in one of his many conversations with Ira Gershwin, the great lyricist had felt that of all his brother George's music, "Love Walked In" is the most like Brahms, and therefore ideal for From the Top.

I had heard both the original cast recording, from the 1930s, and a very operatic version by Leontyne Price. But what makes this such a remarkable performance is that Michael found the perfect balance between the opulently beautiful sound of an opera singer and the more casual jazz phrasing of the original.

Of course, what really made the whole experience special was the shift in genres. Here we were, playing music that was mostly a new style for the kids, in a potentially intimidating experience working with a superstar. But in fact, it was one of the most collegial and uplifting collaborations we've ever had.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Classical

Gurtman and Murtha Artist Management

Ruth Laredo On Piano Jazz

Hear "America's First Lady of the Piano" explore the boundaries between classical music and jazz with host Marian McPartland in this 2004 episode.

Ruth Laredo On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/562620476/562624249" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Dancers in "Stalactites," a video by Mark DeChiazza, based on Orpheus Unsung, a theater work composed by Steven Mackey, with Jason Treuting. Mark DeChiazza hide caption

toggle caption Mark DeChiazza

Orpheus Reborn With Dancers, Drums And Electric Guitar

A new video, featuring a score by Steven Mackey with Jason Treuting, retells the ancient tale of love, loss and the power of music.

Penguin Cafe performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 2, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Penguin Cafe

Penguin Cafe folds in sounds from around the world and throughout music history — Africa, Kraftwerk, Brazil and Franz Schubert.

Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir revised her piece Aura especially for The Los Angeles Percussion Quartet. David Holechek hide caption

toggle caption David Holechek

Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Volcanic Transmissions

As members of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet bow their vibraphones, brush their gongs and message their bass drums, the composer's evocative music oozes from blackness.

Ludovico Einaudi, performing live for KCRW. Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW hide caption

toggle caption Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW

Ludovico Einaudi, 'Petricor' (Live)

KCRW

Watch the pianist and composer, joined by a full band, in a stunning live performance for KCRW.

Opera singer Joyce DiDonato created this video to go with her new album, In War and Peace: Harmony through Music. Warner Classics hide caption

toggle caption Warner Classics

In Chaotic Times, A Singer's Plea For Freedom

Opera star Joyce DiDonato does more than sing — she lends her voice to social causes. Watch her new video, a haunting depiction of a woman trapped in conflict.

Back To Top