Watch the duo discuss the programme HERE
In time for the centennial of the premiere of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Gershwin Rhapsody, a new album featuring acclaimed classical pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and five-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer and pianist Michael Feinstein, the one-man encyclopaedia of the Great American Songbook, will be released digitally and as a CD on February 23rd, 2024 via Decca Classics. The album features duos, solos and Mr. Feinstein’s vocals from the Gershwin catalogue – from well-known classics to world premiere recordings of four Gershwin piano works.
For the past year, Thibaudet and Feinstein have travelled across America, performing an evening called “Two Pianos: Who Could Ask for Anything More?” as a duo and with symphony orchestras. Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed in major concert halls all over the world, and with the world’s best orchestras, for more than three decades. He has received awards, particularly for his interpretations of French music, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. His wide repertoire ranges from Liszt to Debussy to Gershwin, while American entertainer Michael Feinstein is a top-selling and critically acclaimed recording artist and a star performer on Broadway, a multiple Grammy nominee, recipient of a special Tony Award for Excellence in Theater, and an Emmy nominee. Gershwin is where they meet in the middle.
“Jean-Yves and I have known each other for a number of years socially and even spoke previously about doing something professionally together,” recalled Michael Feinstein. “I have such a deep admiration for his talent and, also, for his humanity and his kindness and his love of life in a way that comes through in his work and his music. “
They were both performing at the Napa Festival, California, in the summer of 2021 when they reconnected. Over the course of several dinners, the two hatched the idea of doing this programme. “Jean-Yves, of course, has the incredible flexibility with what he does and embraces all different kinds of music that push the boundaries of the concert repertoire,” said Feinstein. “And I’m always trying to push boundaries in what I do. So, we felt that it would be artistically something that would be good for both of us.”
“I have the greatest admiration for him,” said Thibaudet of Feinstein. “We thought it would be so great, and I just always dream of doing projects where I can incorporate some other possibilities for me, so enriching and so much fun.”
Thibaudet discovered jazz when he was a teenager and has recorded albums of Bill Evans and Duke Ellington; Feinstein was an assistant to Ira Gershwin, George’s older brother and frequent collaborator, from the age of 20 to 26. Feinstein and Thibaudet met over the course of two years, when their schedules allowed, to work on developing the programme. “If anything, we had too much material,” said Thibaudet, laughing. “We could have done five different shows!”
Recorded at The Colburn School’s Zipper Hall in Los Angeles, the centrepiece of the album is a medley of familiar Gershwin music, bookended by passages from Rhapsody in Blue. Feinstein sings several songs on the album. The virtuosic piano arrangements by Ted Firth give both artists an opportunity to strut their stuff – there are moments when Feinstein improvises at the keyboard and other moments when Thibaudet can show off his formidable pianistic skills, and, of course, moments when they play together.
After the medley – and a Gershwinesque arrangement of Vincent Youman’s “Tea for Two” – the album features lesser known George Gershwin works, from his 1916 piece, “Rialto Ripples,” to several world premieres of pieces from manuscripts that Ira Gershwin supplied Feinstein: “Under the Cinnamon Tree,” “Graceful and Elegant”, and “Sutton Place,” among them. “It’s an incredible privilege, so many years after George Gershwin’s passing, to be able to suddenly hear this music,” Thibaudet said. “It’s a very touching, very humbling, very moving experience.”
12th January 2024 – Album Announce + IG1 “I Got Rhythm”
26th January 2024– IG2 “Under The Cinnamon Tree”
9th February 2024– IG3 Rhapsody In Blue
23rd February 2024 – Global Digital + CD Release ex US (focus track “Sutton Place”)
About Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Over the course of three decades, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed world-wide, recorded more than 50 albums, and built a reputation as one of today’s finest pianists. From the start of his career, he delighted in music beyond the standard repertoire, from jazz to opera, which he transcribed himself to play on the piano. His profound professional friendships crisscross the globe and have led to spontaneous and fruitful collaborations in film, fashion, and visual art.
Thibaudet’s recording catalogue has received multiple international awards and two Grammy nominations. He is the soloist on Wes Anderson’s 2021 film The French Dispatch; his playing can also be heard in Pride and Prejudice, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Wakefield, and the Oscar-winning and critically acclaimed film Atonement. His concert wardrobe is designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood.
In 2010 the Hollywood Bowl honoured Thibaudet for his musical achievements by inducting him into its Hall of Fame. Previously a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Thibaudet was awarded the title Officier by the French Ministry of Culture in 2012. In 2020, he was named Special Representative for the promotion of French Creative and Cultural Industries in Romania. He is co-Artistic Advisor, with Gautier Capuçon, of the Festival Musique & Vin au Clos Vougeot.
For more information, please visit https://www.jeanyvesthibaudet.com/
About Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein has built a dazzling career over the last three decades, bringing the music of the Great American Songbook to the world. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations to his Emmy nominated PBS-TV specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe, his work as an educator and archivist defines Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.
In 2022, Feinstein released to rave reviews Gershwin Country, an album of standards in duet with some of the biggest names in country music, from Alison Krauss to Brad Paisley, and his rendition of “Love is Here to Stay” with Dolly Parton was Top 10 Billboard charting. In 2007, he founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, master classes, and the annual High School Songbook Academy. Michael serves on the Library of Congress’s National Recording Preservation Board, an organisation dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.
Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, and he has served as Artistic Director for Carnegie Hall’s “Standard Time with Michael Feinstein” in conjunction with ASCAP. In 2010, he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to critical acclaim. Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Michael’s nightclub at San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz since 2013 and Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael in Carmel, Indiana opened in 2021. In 2022, the Feinstein brand received Tony honors for Excellence in Theater.
For more information, please visit www.MichaelFeinstein.com.
Rhapsody In Blue
Someone To Watch Over Me
I Got Rhythm
Sweet & Lowdown
Clap Yo’Hands/Fascinating Rhythm
They Can’t Take That Away From Me
The Man I Love/Rhapsody In Blue
Tea For Two
Graceful and Elegant
Our Love Is Here To Stay
Dance of the Waves
Under The Cinnamon Tree
Jasbo Brown Blues