Vocalist and pianist Michael Feinstein took over as music director and principal conductor of the Pasadena Pops on June 1; the five-time Grammy-nominated performer had never conducted an orchestra before. As Feinstein’s debut season is about to come to a close, the numbers are in and they add up to success.
The Pops concerts this summer have drawn a record 3,500 people on average, topping last year’s attendance by more than 30%. The final concert of this season, “Michael Feinstein: The Gershwins and Me" on Sept. 7, is projected to sell out, according to the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, which estimates the concert will draw some 4,000 people.
Renewals for next year's season, too, are at an all-time high, surpassing last year's totals by more than 200 percent, the organization reports.
On July 12, it was announced that Feinstein’s original one-year contract was extended through 2016.
The Pops’ 2014 lineup is already taking shape, with general themes in place. The season opening concert will be “Feinstein’s Favorites,” a selection of works from Feinstein’s personal collection of rare musical arrangements. Other programs will include “Hurray For Hollywood,” a mix of film scores and popular movie vocals, and “New York, New York!” a program of songs about the Big Apple or songs by written by East Coast composers.
On June 28, songwriter and music producer Tena Clark will curate a concert featuring some of the performers she’s worked with over the years.
For those who are fans of Feinstein as a singer: on July 19, the conductor will set aside his baton for one evening and belt out some of his favorite Gershwin tunes, with Larry Blank conducting.
“What Michael brings to us and our audiences is unparalleled in the nation and we are thrilled to support his artistic vision,” the orchestra's chief executive officer, Paul Jan Zdunek, said in a statement.
“It’s his expert knowledge, humor and joy he brings to preserving the Great American Songbook on the orchestral stage that has endeared him immediately to our musicians and audience."
Twitter: @debvankinCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times