Michael Feinstein and Jean-Yves Thibaudet perform program of 20th century American music at Heroes Gala concert honoring Peter D. Cummings, June 17, 2023

Concert tickets start at $29 and are on sale now at dso.org

Gala honors developer, philanthropist, and DSO Chair Emeritus Peter D. Cummings, with proceeds to support DSO’s commitment to transforming the lives of young people through music education

Detroit, (May 18, 2023) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and Music Director Jader Bignamini will be joined by two of today’s most acclaimed artists, Michael Feinstein and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, at the eleventh Heroes Gala and Benefit Concert on Saturday, June 17, 2023. The innovative program, titled Two Pianos: Who Could Ask for Anything More?, celebrates 20th century American music with works by George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin, and Richard Rodgers.

“It is a rare, humbling and joyful opportunity to collaborate with Jean-Yves,” said Feinstein. “Having been a fervent admirer of his for so long, it’s a heady experience to actually create with him in tandem. As an artist he is a peerless musical talent, one truly for the ages.”

"This opportunity to collaborate with Michael is really a dream come true,” said Thibaudet. “Since our first meeting I felt that incredible chemistry between us and always wanted to share the stage with him. I am so excited about this project, and I know it will be magical because we will truly inspire each other."

The DSO’s Heroes Gala celebrates the remarkable people who impact the vision, values, and success of the organization, and this year will honor developer, philanthropist, and Chair Emeritus Peter D. Cummings. Proceeds from the event support the DSO’s commitment to transforming the lives of young people through music education.

Cummings has served as a board member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He served as Chair for 6 years beginning in 1998 and is now recognized as Chair Emeritus.

Beginning in the 1990s, Cummings played a central role in the $250 million Orchestra Place development of Orchestra Hall’s campus and its neighborhood. The bold plan was anchored by a $60 million, 135,000 square foot addition to Orchestra Hall, which completed the venue’s restoration and transformed the DSO’s home into a 21st century performing arts and music education center. The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (The Max) opened in 2003. Cummings was also instrumental in the development of the Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube (The Cube), the DSO’s black box performance space located within The Max that presents curated arts programming across musical and artistic genres.

For three decades, Cummings has served in leadership roles in all DSO major campaigns, including financial investment at the leadership level. He was active in the comprehensive oneDSO Renaissance Campaign (Founding Co-Chair) and the DSO’s Impact Campaign, including the Anne Parsons Leadership Fund, an endowed fund in memory of the DSO’s late President Emeritus and Lifetime Director. 

The Heroes Gala and Benefit Concert takes place on Saturday, June 17 at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Avenue, Detroit). The concert in Orchestra Hall will take place at 7 p.m., followed by a black-tie dinner for Gala guests.

Concert tickets are on sale now starting at $29 and can be purchased at dso.org, by calling 313.576.5111, or in-person at the DSO Box Office, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note: this event will not be webcast.

Gala patrons can learn about sponsorship opportunities and purchase tickets by contacting Signature Events Manager Ali Huber at 313.576.5449 or visiting dso.org/heroes.

2022-2023 SEASON DSO SAFETY POLICIES: The DSO no longer requires audiences to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend performances. Masks are optional although strongly recommended at DSO performances, particularly when Wayne County and surrounding communities are in the high or "red" category as defined by the CDC. The DSO asks audience members to do their part to create a safe environment for everyone and encourages those who are not feeling well to stay home.


Heroes Gala Concert
Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 7 p.m.
Orchestra Hall
Jader Bignamini, conductor
Michael Feinstein, piano and vocals
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Two of today’s most celebrated artists—Michael Feinstein and Jean-Yves Thibaudet—join forces for the first time in an innovative program for two pianos celebrating the music of George Gershwin and his world.

Born of a serendipitous encounter between the two artists at Festival Napa Valley 2021, Two Pianos: Who Could Ask for Anything More?, showcases each artist’s unique gifts for creativity, virtuosity and sheer joy of music making. Feinstein is the renowned vocalist/pianist/conductor and the leading authority on the Great American Songbook, while Thibaudet has built a 30-year reputation not only as one of today’s finest pianists, but also for his imaginative partnerships in film, fashion, and visual art. Together, Feinstein and Thibaudet form a uniquely prodigious artistic and creative force.

There is an extraordinary heritage of music from the 20th Century that straddles the worlds of classical and popular, and this presentation will resonantly connect the dots with rich anecdotes and rare musicality afforded the genre. A centerpiece of the program will feature lost and unknown Gershwin works, some originally conceived for two pianos, alongside his more beloved works including Rhapsody in Blue. Other works will include those penned by Leonard Bernstein and Irving Berlin, with a suite of charming waltzes by Richard Rodgers.

Full program details to be announced.


About Peter D. Cummings
Peter D. Cummings has been active in real estate development and management since 1975. He is the founder of RAM, a leader in real estate investment, management, and development, based in Palm Beach County and active throughout the Southeast. In 2015, he stepped down as chairman of RAM to create The Platform (Executive Chairman & CEO) and dedicated the next chapter of his career to helping rebuild the City of Detroit through creating new mixed-use developments. He was educated at Yale University and the University of Toronto with a Master of English Literature. He has also completed the Owner & President Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

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—in addition to his appearances at iconic venues including the White House, Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, and Sydney Opera House—his work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.

In 2007, he founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, masterclasses, and the annual High School Songbook Academy. This summer intensive, open to students from across the country, has produced graduates who have gone on to record acclaimed albums and appear on television programs such as NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Feinstein serves on the Library of Congress’s National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.

Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life was released in 2011. He released the CDs The Power Of Two—collaborating with Glee and 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson—and Cheek To Cheek, recorded with Broadway legend Barbara Cook. For Feinstein’s CD We Dreamed These Days, he co-wrote the title song with Dr. Maya Angelou.

His Emmy Award-nominated TV special Michael Feinstein–The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana, aired across the country in 2011. The PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, the recipient of the ASCAP Deems-Taylor Television Broadcast Award, was broadcast for three seasons and is available on DVD. His most recent primetime PBS-TV Special, “New Year’s Eve at The Rainbow Room”—written and directed by Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry—aired in 2014. For his nationally syndicated public radio program, “Song Travels,” Feinstein interviews and performs alongside music luminaries including Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Liza Minnelli, Rickie Lee Jones, and David Hyde Pierce.

Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical acclaim. Under Feinstein’s leadership, the Pasadena Pops has quickly become a premier orchestral presenter of the Great American Songbook with definitive performances of rare orchestrations and classic arrangements. He launched an additional Pops series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Palm Beach, Florida in 2014.

Feinstein’s book The Gershwins and Me—the Los Angeles Times best-seller from Simon & Schuster—features a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano.

Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theatre venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The theater is home to diverse live programming and a museum for his rare memorabilia and manuscripts. Since 1999, 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’s at the Nikko, his nightclub at San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel, has presented the top talents of pop and jazz since 2013. He opened Feinstein’s at the Hotel Carmichael in 2021. His first venue in New York, Feinstein’s at the Regency, featured major entertainers such as Rosemary Clooney, Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Diahann Carroll, Jane Krakowski, Lea Michele, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz, and Alan Cumming from 1999 to 2012.

He has designed a new piano for Steinway called “The First Ladies,” inspired by the White House piano and signed by several former First Ladies. It was first played to commemorate the Ronald Regan centennial on February 6, 2011.

In 2013, Feinstein released Change Of Heart: The Songs of Andre Previn in collaboration with four-time Oscar and eleven-time Grammy Award-winning composer-conductor-pianist Andre Previn. The album celebrates Previn’s pop songs and motion picture classics. Earlier album highlights include Hopeless Romantics, a songbook of classics by Feinstein’s late friend Harry Warren, recording with legendary jazz pianist George Shearing. His album with songwriting icon Jimmy Webb, Only One Life–The Songs of Jimmy Webb, was named one of “10 Best CDs of the Year” by USA Today.

Feinstein received his fourth Grammy nomination for Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, his first recording with a symphony orchestra. The year before, Rhino/Elektra Music released The Michael Feinstein Anthology, a two-disc compilation spanning 1987 to 1996 and featuring old favorites and previously unreleased tracks.

Feinstein was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he started playing piano by ear at age five. After graduating from high school, he moved to Los Angeles at age 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 including Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington, and Harry Warren. Feinstein has received three honorary doctorates.

Through his live performances, recordings, film and television appearances, and his songwriting (in collaboration with Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Lindy Robbins, Bob Merrill, and Marshall Barer), Feinstein is an all-star force in American music.

About Jean-Yves Thibaudet
For more than three decades, Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed worldwide, recorded more than 50 albums, and built a reputation as one of today’s finest pianists. He plays a range of solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire—from Beethoven through Liszt, Grieg, and Saint-Saëns, to Khachaturian and Gershwin, and to Olivier Messiaen, Qigang Chen, James MacMillan, Richard Dubugnon, and Aaron Zigman.

From the very start of his career, he has delighted in music beyond the standard repertoire, from jazz to opera, including works which he has transcribed himself for the piano. His profound professional friendships crisscross the globe and have led to spontaneous and fruitful collaborations in film, fashion, and visual art.

This season, Thibaudet continues his multi-season focus on Debussy’s Préludes, playing the complete Préludes in solo recitals in Seattle, at Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, in Bilbao, Luxembourg, Metz, San Francisco, and Chapel Hill; at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival; and in Kansas City, Orange County, Zurich, and Leipzig.

Thibaudet will also perform several recitals and small-ensemble concerts with close friends and new collaborators this season. After a recital with Renée Fleming at Los Angeles’s Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the Colburn Celebrity Series, Thibaudet will join violinist Midori for a tour of Beethoven’s complete Violin Sonatas, with dates at Dartmouth College, in Chicago, and at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall; the duo will release a recording of the sonatas on Warner Classics later this season.

In December, Thibaudet appeared with the all-star Itzhak Perlman and Friends program at the University of Michigan, in Toronto, and at Carnegie Hall. Beginning in the spring, Thibaudet will join pianist, singer, and music historian Michael Feinstein in Two Pianos: Who Could Ask for Anything More?, a bespoke evening-length program featuring the music of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, and more, specially arranged for the occasion for piano duos, solos, vocals, and orchestra.

Thibaudet appears as soloist in eight different pieces this season, performed with eleven orchestras. A noted interpreter of Gershwin’s piano works, Thibaudet performs the composer’s Concerto in F with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, as well as the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester. Beginning in January, Thibaudet performs Debussy’s Fantaisie for piano and orchestra with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony, where it is programmed alongside Messiaen’s Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine; he later brings the piece to the San Diego Symphony.

A renowned performer of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie, Thibaudet joins Jaap van Zweden for performances of the piece with both the Hong Kong and New York Philharmonic., He then joins the Cincinnati Symphony in performances of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, after which he brings Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 5 to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He brings another signature piece of his—Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety,”—to The Cleveland Orchestra, followed in May by a performance of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

Thibaudet has a lifelong passion for education and fostering young musical talent. He is the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where he makes his home. In 2017, the school announced the Jean-Yves Thibaudet Scholarships, funded by members of Colburn’s donor community, to provide aid for Music Academy students, whom Thibaudet will select for the merit-based awards, regardless of their instrument choice.

Thibaudet records exclusively for Decca; his extensive catalogue has received two Grammy nominations, two ECHO Awards, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Diapason d’Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, the Edison Prize, and Gramophone awards. His most recent album, 2021’s Carte Blanche, features a collection of deeply personal solo piano pieces never before recorded by the pianist. Other highlights from Thibaudet’s catalog include a 2017 recording of Bernstein's “Age of Anxiety” with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, with whom he previously recorded Gershwin, featuring big band jazz orchestrations of Rhapsody in Blue, the Concerto in F, and the original version of Variations on “I Got Rhythm.” In 2016, on the 150th anniversary of Erik Satie's birth, Decca released a box set of Satie's complete solo piano music performed by Thibaudet—one of the foremost champions of the composer's works. On his Grammy-nominated recording Saint-Saëns, Piano Concerti Nos. 2 & 5, released in 2007, he is joined by Charles Dutoit and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Thibaudet's Aria–Opera Without Words, which was released the same year, features aria transcriptions, some of which are Thibaudet's own. His other recordings include the jazz albums Reflections on Duke: Jean-Yves Thibaudet Plays the Music of Duke Ellington and Conversations With Bill Evans.

Thibaudet has also had an impact on the worlds of fashion, film, and philanthropy. He was soloist on Aaron Zigman’s score for Robin Swicord’s Wakefield; this was the first time that the composer had allowed a pianist other than himself to perform his film work. He was also soloist in Dario Marianelli’s award-winning scores for the films Atonement (which won an Oscar for Best Original Score) and Pride and Prejudice, as well as Alexandre Desplat’s soundtracks for the 2012 film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Wes Anderson’s 2021 film The French Dispatch. He had a cameo in Bruce Beresford's film on Alma Mahler, Bride of the Wind, and his playing is showcased throughout. In 2004 he served as president of the prestigious charity auction at the Hospices de Beaune. His concert wardrobe is designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Thibaudet was born in Lyon, France, where he began his piano studies at age five and made his first public appearance at age seven. At 12, he entered the Paris Conservatory to study with Aldo Ciccolini and Lucette Descaves, a friend and collaborator of Ravel. At age 15, he won the Premier Prix du Conservatoire and, three years later, the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York City. Among his numerous commendations is the Victoire d’Honneur, a lifetime career achievement award and the highest honor given by France’s Victoires de la Musique. In 2010, the Hollywood Bowl honored 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.

Mr. Thibaudet's worldwide representation: HarrisonParrott

Mr. Thibaudet records exclusively for Decca Classics

About Jader Biganmini
Jader Bignamini was introduced as the 18th music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in January 2020, commencing with the 2020-2021 season. He kicked off his tenure as DSO Music Director with the launch of DSO Digital Concerts in September 2020, conducting works by Copland, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, and Saint-Georges. His infectious passion and artistic excellence set the tone for the season ahead, creating extraordinary music and establishing a close relationship with the orchestra. A jazz aficionado, he has immersed himself in Detroit’s rich jazz culture and the influences of American music.

A native of Crema, Italy, Jader studied at the Piacenza Music Conservatory and began his career as a musician (clarinet) with Orchestra Sinfonica La Verdi in Milan, later serving as the group’s resident conductor. Captivated by the symphonies of greats like Mahler and Tchaikovsky, Jader explored their complexity and power, puzzling out the role that each instrument played in creating a larger-than-life sound. When he conducted his first professional concert at the age of 28, it didn’t feel like a departure, but an arrival.

In the years since, Jader has conducted some of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras and opera companies in venues across the globe including working with Riccardo Chailly on concerts of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in 2013 and his concert debut at La Scala in 2015 for the opening season of La Verdi Orchestra. Recent highlights include debuts with the Houston, Dallas, and Minnesota symphonies; Osaka Philharmonic and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo; with the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Dutch National Opera (Madama Butterfly); Bayerische Staatsoper (La Traviata); I Puritani in Montpellier for the Festival of Radio France; Traviata in Tokyo directed by Sofia Coppola; Andrea Chénier at New National Theatre in Tokyo; Rossini’s Stabat Mater at Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy; Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle at Teatro dell’Opera in Rome; return engagements with Oper Frankfurt (La forza del destino) and Santa Fe Opera (La Bohème); Manon Lescaut at the Bolshoi; Traviata, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot at Arena of Verona; Il Trovatore and Aida at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera; Madama Butterfly, I Puritani, and Manon Lescaut at Teatro Massimo in Palermo; Simon Boccanegra and La Forza del Destino at the Verdi Festival in Parma; Ciro in Babilonia at Rossini Opera Festival; and La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, and Elisir d’amore at La Fenice in Venice.

When Jader leads an orchestra in symphonic repertoire, he conducts without a score, preferring to make direct eye contact with the musicians. He conducts from the heart, forging a profound connection with his musicians that shines through both onstage and off. He both embodies and exudes the excellence and enthusiasm that has long distinguished the DSO’s artistry.

About the DSO
The acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and a deep connection to its city. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the organization. In January 2020, Italian conductor Jader Bignamini was named the DSO’s next music director to commence with the 2020-2021 season. Celebrated conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik is the orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, while Oscar-nominated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair.

Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, the DSO offers a performance schedule that features PVS Classical, PNC Pops, Paradise Jazz, and Young People’s Family Concert series. One of the world’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, Orchestra Hall celebrated its centennial in 2019-2020. In addition, the DSO presents the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series in seven metro area venues, as well as a robust schedule of eclectic multi-genre performances in its mid-size venue The Cube, constructed and curated with support from Peter D. & Julie F. Cummings.

A dedication to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a live radio broadcast of a concert and continues today with the groundbreaking Live from Orchestra Hall series of free webcasts, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the people of Detroit, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.