Guest Artists | The Philly Pops
 

Guest Artists

 

David Charles Abell, conductor

Conductor David Charles Abell was born in North Carolina, went to nursery school in New York and came to Philadelphia, his mother’s hometown, at the age of five. He attended Germantown Friends School for seven years, then moved to the Chicago area with his family. Having lived and worked in several different countries since that time, he now resides in London. Following three years of conducting Christmas Spectacular, he is thrilled be returning to the Philly POPS to perform some of the Broadway music that started his career back in the 1980s.

At the age of 12, David joined the Berkshire Boy Choir, which was chosen to participate in the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. David met Bernstein again while attending Yale University and assisted him on various projects during the last years of his life. After completing his studies at the Conservatoire Américain in France and the Juilliard School, he made his professional conducting debut in Berlin with Bernstein’s Mass. His association with Bernstein’s music continues: he recently served as Musical Supervisor for Candide in London and has been asked by Bernstein’s children to serve on the committee marking the centennial of the composer’s birth.

David is most widely known for the two Les Misérables Anniversary Concerts (10th and 25th), both of which have become PBS fund-raising perennials. He regularly appears on radio and television in the UK, most notably at the BBC Proms, London’s annual music festival at the Royal Albert Hall. These appearances have included the Richard Rodgers Centenary celebration (2002), a world premiere opera (2007), Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday (2010) and the War Horse Prom (2014).

Classical music, opera and musical theater all contribute to a diverse career, unified by a serious yet theatrical approach. Recent projects include his Boston Pops debut with an all-Gershwin program, two European productions of Kiss Me, Kate (in his own critical edition), live accompaniment to the film Brief Encounter with the London Philharmonic, Carmen in Kansas City, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night in Detroit.

Lisa Vroman, vocalist

From Broadway to classics, on stage and in concert, Lisa Vroman has established herself as one of America's most versatile voices. She starred on Broadway, Los Angeles and San Francisco as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera and garnered theater critics’ awards for her portrayal. Her Broadway debut was in Aspects of Love and she was the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in Les Misérables.

Off Broadway and regionally, she has starred as Marian Paroo in The Music Man, Lili Vanessi in Kiss Me Kate, Birdie in Regina, Josephine in HMS Pinafore, Anna 1 in The Seven Deadly Sins, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and Rosabella in The Most Happy Fella. She’s appeared on PBS as Johanna in Sweeney Todd and Hey! Mr. Producer. She has also played Laurey in Oklahoma at the BBC PROMS festival), Anna Leonowens in The King and I, Mary Turner in Of Thee I Sing, and sang and danced opposite Dick Van Dyke as Mary Poppins at the Hollywood Bowl.

Lisa is a frequent guest with symphonies including San Francisco, Nashville, Philadelphia, Dallas, Utah, St. Louis, Houston, Pacific, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Cleveland, National, Florida, Cleveland, BBC Concert Orchestra, Boston Pops, Philly POPS, New York Pops as well as with the New York Festival of Song and Organist David Higgs.

She is a graduate of the Crane School of Music, State University at Potsdam (BM, Hon. Dr. of Music, Minerva Award), Carnegie-Mellon University (MFA), and is a George London Competition winner.

Recent performances have included a multi-city tour of China, An Evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a concert series with L’Opera de Rennes in France, and playing the role of Maria Callas in Terence McNally’s award winning play, Master Class.

Please visit www.lisavroman.com.

Michael Andrew, vocalist

For two years, Michael Andrew was the headline singer and bandleader at the world famous Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in New York City, where he entertained audiences nightly and hosted a live radio broadcast, Live from the Rainbow Room. He was the bandleader and singer at Merv Griffin’s “Coconut Club” in the Beverly Hilton in California. While on Larry King Live, Merv called Michael Andrew “one of the great singers of all time.”

A frequent symphonic pops guest artist, Michael Andrew has appeared with orchestras in Akron, Albuquerque, Birmingham, Charlotte, Melbourne (Florida), Houston, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Missoula, Orlando, Pasadena, Philadelphia, Providence, Palm Beach, Palm Springs, San Antonio, Sarasota, and other cities across America.

He wrote the musical comedy, Mickey Swingerhead & the Earthgirls, that was a hit with audiences and the press. The hit show led to the formation of his band, Swingerhead, which remains a favorite among audiences and has toured extensively throughout the country. Michael also formed the Atomic Big Band, an 18-piece band that has performed in Hollywood for the premier of the Warner Bros. movie, Poseidon, and his bands continue to play engagements from Presidential Inaugural Balls to high society fundraisers.

On the other side of the curtain, as a composer, lyricist and book writer, he's created shows paying tribute to the writers of the American Songbook including Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, and the Gershwins. He composed / performed his music for motion pictures including Heartbreakers, Inglourious Basterds, Mad Hot Ballroom, Bobby Jones – Stroke of Genius, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Recently, he produced music for Mitch Album’s new musical, Hockey, which debuted in Detroit.

Michael Andrew starred in the world premiere of the new musical, The Nutty Professor, written by Marvin Hamlisch and Rupert Holmes and directed by Jerry Lewis. Time Magazine praised his “terrific lead performance” and Jerry Lewis called him “one of the best talents to come down the pike in 50 years.”

Michael Cavanaugh, vocalist

Michael Cavanaugh is the new voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook. A charismatic performer, musician and actor, made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out.

Michael Cavanaugh was handpicked by Billy Joel to star in title role and evokes a style rivaling the Piano Man himself. Michael appeared in the show for over 1,200 performances over 3 years, receiving accolade after accolade, which culminated in 2003 with both Grammy and Tony award nominations.

Michael began playing at age 7, 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, with 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 in 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.

With the close of Movin’ Out at the end of 2005, Michael began touring with a show that reinterprets the modern pop/rock songbook. Michael continues to perform worldwide for company and charity events as well as sporting events, including PGA Tour events, the U.S. Open and the Indy 500.

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 debuted in April 2008 and continues to tour. In October 2008, he signed with Warner/ADA to distribute his first CD titled In Color. In June 2010, Michael debuted his second symphony show in the Generations of Rock series entitled 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. He continues to tour all three symphony productions.

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus is a 180-voice ensemble that performs with the Philly POPS under the direction of Jeff Kern, Head of the Vocal Division for University of the Arts.

The Philly POPS Festival Chorus began performing in 2002 and performs with the POPS orchestra during the annual Christmas concert series and Broadway series. The chorus has performed with many professional artists including Faith Prince, Capathia Jenkins, Ashley Brown, Lisa Howard, Lauren Kennedy, Rachel York, Alice Ripley, Ann Hampton Callaway, and The von Trapp Family Children.

The Festival Chorus is an auditioned, volunteer organization composed of singers ranging from high school students to retired professionals.

Voices of the POPS

The Voices of the POPS is a vocal ensemble that often accompanies the Philly POPS orchestra and adds to the rich sound of concerts.

Since its debut in 2000, The Voices of the POPS has become an integral part of the POPS, performing a wide range of music at concerts. This multi-talented group adds to the versatile orchestra by providing a new dimension to the already imaginative arrangements. The animated vocal element brings lyrics and melody to life against the rich tapestries of the orchestra's sound. 

The ensemble regularly performs with the POPS at Salute Series performances, including Memorial Salute and POPS on Independence, as well as in traditional concert hall shows.

Consisting of professional performers and led by choral director Jeff Kern, Head of the Vocal Division at the University of the Arts, The Voices strives for excellence in the performance of a broad repertoire. The ensemble is a twelve voice professional choir performing an extensive array of theatrical, operatic, and choral repertoire.