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The Music of Elton John Featuring Michael Cavanaugh

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The Music of Elton John Featuring Michael Cavanaugh

Saturday, May 13, 2023—8:00pm

Saturday, May 13, 2023—8:00pm
Orchestra Hall
2 hours

The New York Times calls him “amazing.” Variety says he’s “brilliant.” You stood and cheered after his Music of Billy Joel show with the Symphony. Now, Michael Cavanaugh returns to the DSO to perform the music of the other great piano man, Elton John. Beloved tunes include “Your Song,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” and many more. Whether you loved his last show or missed it, be sure to join Michael and the Symphony for a Crocodile Rockin’ night.

Artists

Na’Zir McFadden

conductor

American conductor Na’Zir McFadden is the newly appointed Assistant Conductor and Phillip & Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

In this position, he’ll work closely with Music Director Jader Bignamini and guest conductors on both the PVS Classical Series and William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series. Additionally, he’ll lead pre-concert lectures at Orchestra Hall, and conduct a variety of programs on the Educational Concert Series, Young People’s Family Concert Series, PNC Pops Series, as well as DTE Community Concerts.

To commence with the 2022-23 season, Na’Zir will serve as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra. Together, they’ll present three programs — exploring the symphonies of Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and Florence Price.

An advocate for arts education, McFadden strives to provide access to the arts for students in underserved communities. This upcoming season, McFadden will make appearances with youth ensembles in Salt Lake City and with the Philadelphia All-City Music Festival. In the past, he’s worked with youth ensembles in Chicago, New York City, St. Louis and Los Angeles.

Recent engagements include a recording project with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Notes for Peace’ initiative — which featured Hilary Hahn as guest soloist.

McFadden was the inaugural Apprentice Conductor of the Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra from 2020 to 2022 working with Music Director Beatrice Jona Affron. He also served as the Robert L. Poster Conducting Apprentice of the New York Youth Symphony from 2020 to 2021.

Na’Zir conducted his hometown orchestra – The Philadelphia Orchestra – in their “Pop-Up” series in 2017, meeting their Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin who has been a mentor ever since. The Philadelphia Inquirer praised his “great stick [baton] technique and energetic presence on the podium” in their review of the concert.

Upcoming engagements include a series of commissions with Orchestra 2001 and appearances with the Utah Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Ballet.

Michael Cavanaugh

piano & vocalist

Michael Cavanaugh is the new voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook and a charismatic performer and musician made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway musical Movin' Out. Handpicked by Billy Joel to star in Movin' Out, Michael evokes a style rivaling the Piano Man. He appeared in the show for three years with over 1,200 performances and received multiple accolades. The show culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony award nominations.

Michael began playing at age seven, when his parents bought their first piano. Encouraged by family and friends, and inspired by his hero Billy Joel, Michael formed his first band at age 10 and began playing local functions, fine-tuning the craft that would become his chosen career. His first full-time gig as a musician was an extended engagement in Orlando, Florida, at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. In January of 1999, Michael received an offer that would unknowingly change his life: an opportunity to play Las Vegas at the famed New York, New York Hotel and Casino. It was there that Billy Joel spotted Michael and joined him on stage one fateful night of February 2001. It only took two songs before Billy was convinced that he had found his new Piano Man: Michael Cavanaugh. Michael closed up shop at New York, New York and moved to New York City to work alongside Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp to shape the Broadway Musical that would be called Movin' Out. In the lead role, he received both Tony and Grammy nominations.

With the close of Movin' Out at the end of 2005, Michael began touring in his own right, creating a show that reinterprets the modern pop/rock songbook. Michael soon became one of the hottest artists in the private events market, and he continues to perform worldwide for company and charity events as well as sporting events including many PGA tour events, the SuperBowl, and the Indy 500. His interpretation of the modern rock/pop songbook led to Billboard calling him "The New Voice of the American Rock and Roll Songbook," and he was recognized by Reuters as Entertainer of the Year for the private events market.

It wasn't long before symphony orchestras discovered Michael's talents and audience appeal. He accepted his first orchestral booking, "Michael Cavanaugh – The Songs of Billy Joel and More," which debuted in April 2008 with the Indianapolis Symphony and continues to tour today. In October 2008, he signed with Warner/ADA to distribute his first CD, In Color. In June 2010, Michael debuted his second symphony show in the Generations of Rock series titled "Michael Cavanaugh: The Songs of Elton John and More" and then debuted his third symphony show, "Singers and Songwriters: the Music of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and James Taylor," in 2012. In 2015, he debuted his fourth symphony show: "Rockin' Christmas with the Pops." He continues to tour all four symphony productions along with performing with his band in performing arts centers and other public venues.

"The Way I Hear It", his second commercial album, was released in April 2017, and it debuted at #17 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

In 2020, Michael Cavanaugh reached the POLLSTAR Live75. The top 75 active touring acts in the country.

Rocket Man (Michael Cavanaugh Cover)

New Voice of the American Rock ‘n Roll Songbook. ”

-Billboard Magazine

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