When I was in college, one of my music theory professors would begin each class by sitting at the piano and singing a standard – one of the great songs by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Jerome Kern, et al. I developed a love of those tunes that has lasted ever since. Michael Feinstein is also passionate about these songs that make up the Great American Songbook. Like my professor, he uses his performances as an opportunity to educate as well as entertain audiences. He is raising awareness about this wonderful music among younger generations.
The PBS documentary Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook chronicles Mr. Feinstein’s efforts to preserve this music, which he refers to as a national treasure. The documentary’s companion website, which features in-depth information and even provides free lesson plans for teachers, can be found at michaelfeinsteinsamericansongbook.org.
Mr. Feinstein is also the artistic director of the new Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, which will house the Michael Feinstein Foundation for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook. Click here for information about the foundation.
As educators and musicians, I hope we will all be inspired to share these celebrated songs and pass our love for them on to future generations. Preserving America’s musical heritage while enjoying beautiful music – what could be better than that?
Click here for more information about Michael Feinstein and the Great American Songbook.
Click here for a list of Michael Feinstein’s songbooks.