Five-time Grammy-award nominated classical musician Michael Feinstein has performed at the White House, Buckingham Palace, Carnegie Hall and many other “iconic venues” throughout his 30-year-career. His last experience performing at Chautauqua Institution about 20 years ago made an impression on him.
“It is a legendary place,” Fein- stein said. “It is legendary for the wonderful, eclectic music it has brought to so many (people). It has a reputation as being a very gratifying place to perform, and that was my experience as well.”
Feinstein appreciated the “feeling of community and connection” he had with the audience during his last show at the Institution. At 8:15 p.m. Friday, July 13, in the Amphitheater, Feinstein is looking forward to coming back to Chautauqua, this time with special guest Storm Large.
Feinstein discovered his love of music at the age of 5 in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. From that point on, he always had a passion for learning pieces from early 20th-century composers and musicians. This led him to form the Great American Songbook Foundation, a nonprofit “dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it” through various educational programs.
No artist inspired Feinstein more than American composer and pianist George Gershwin. Feinstein found Gershwin’s work to be “alive and fresh,” despite its age. Yet Feinstein also appreciates a plethora of musicians and different genres and styles of music, including jazz and Cabaret.
“I am deeply inspired by so many songwriters of the Golden Age because the craft of their work is exquisite and extraordinary,” Feinstein said. “I’m inspired by singers from Frank Sinatra to Bing Crosby and everything in between.”
Feinstein said his performance at the Institution will include “cocktail music” and pieces that are celebratory in nature, reminiscent of the “nightclub ’50s and ’60s” scene. This type of music has jazz roots and is characterized as easy listening.
For this particular tour, dubbed “Shaken & Stirred — Classic Songs Reimagined,” Feinstein said he saw American singer and actress Storm Large as the perfect co-headliner.
“She is a remarkable talent,” Feinstein said. “She is a person who can sing any kind of music. … First and foremost,she is a superb entertainer who (can) galvanize and connect with an audience in a beautiful (and) rare fashion. She loves all kinds of music and embraces it.”
Like Feinstein, Large has dabbled in multiple genres of music, including rock, metal and jazz. She was a contestant on CBS’s reality television show “Rock Star: Supernova” and has toured around the world with the Portland-based band Pink Martini.
Feinstein’s performance with Large at the Institution is one of many planned into his summer schedule. Saturday, Feinstein and Large will head to Boone, North Carolina, to continue their “Shake & Stirred” tour. From there, Feinstein will play shows in Georgia, Illinois, California and New York, in addition to holding various musical education programs throughout the country.
“I’ve got a busy summer, but certainly this show with Storm at Chautauqua should be a highlight,” Feinstein said.