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For Immediate Release: January 20, 2012


Sarasota, FL: These two contemporary men surprise and delight audiences with their classic affections. Michael Feinstein The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook will perform American standards from his Grammy nominated Sinatra Project on Tue. Jan. 31 @ 8 PM. Classical music superstar, violinist Joshua Bell will dazzle the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall audience on Thur. Feb. 2 @ 8 PM.

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, the multi-platinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. More than a performer, Feinstein is nationally recognized for his commitment to celebrating America’s popular song and preserving its legacy for the next generation.

The roots of all this work began in Columbus, Ohio, where Feinstein started playing piano by ear as a 5-year-old. After graduating from high school, he worked in local piano lounges, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. The widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant introduced him to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years, which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded. Gershwin’s influence provided a solid base upon which Feinstein evolved into a captivating performer, composer and arranger of his own original music. He also has become an unparalleled interpreter of music legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington and Harry Warren.

Among his many accomplishments, Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his Concord Records CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” His PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, in which he uncovers treasures of classic American music, kicks off its three-part second season this February. Recently, he released The Power Of Two, collaborating with “Glee” and “30 Rock” star Cheyenne Jackson, and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. Feinstein’s Van Wezel performance will focus on his October 2011 release, The Sinatra Project, Vol. II: The Good Life.

JOSHUA BELL is the 1713 Gibson ex Huberman Stradivarius toting violinist who has enchanted audiences worldwide with his breathtaking virtuosity and tone of rare beauty. An Avery Fisher Prize recipient and Musical America’s 2010 Instrumentalist of the Year, Bell is The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields’ newly named Music Director. Bell came to national attention at age 14 in his debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Today he is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestra leader and composer who performs his own cadenzas to several of the major concerto repertoire.
Besides this U.S. recital tour 2012 includes a tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in the U.S. Bell tours Europe with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski and in recital with Jeremy Denk. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, French Impressions, his new album of French sonatas with Jeremy Denk was released this month, featuring works by Ravel, Saint Saëns and Franck.

Since his first LP recording at 18, Bell has recorded more than 36 CDs garnering Mercury, Grammy, Gramophone and Echo Klassik Awards. Recent releases include At Home With Friends, the Defiance soundtrack, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic. He has recorded critically acclaimed performances of Sibelius and Goldmark and the Beethoven and Mendelssohn concertos both featuring his own cadenzas; and the Oscar winning soundtrack, The Red Violin. Joshua is featured on the soundtrack to the film Flower of War starring Christian Bale opening in February. Accompanying Josh at his Van Wezel appearance will be critically acclaimed British pianist, Sam Haywood.

Michael Feinstein The Sinatra Project --Tues. Jan. 31, 2012 @ 8:00 PM. Ticket prices range from $30-$70. Sponsored Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine/Bradenton

Joshua Bell --Thurs. Feb 2, 2012 @ 8 PM. Ticket prices range from $10-$55. Sponsored by Van Wezel Foundation & WSMR 89.1

For more information and to buy tickets, contact the Van Wezel Box office at (941) 953- 3368 or log onto


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