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Hear the singer-songwriters who changed rock and roll history.
David Charles Abell, Music Director & Principal Conductor READ BIO
Born in North Carolina, David grew up in the Mt. Airy Neighborhood of Philadelphia. At the age of fourteen, he turned his attention to conducting and went on to study with Leonard Bernstein and Nadia Boulanger. He earned degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School after intensive study of viola, piano, and composition. He has worked with such distinguished artists as Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Idina Menzel, Heather Headley, Bryn Terfel, Matthew Morrison and Michael Feinstein. Previously, as Guest Conductor and Principal Guest Conductor of The Philly POPS, he conducted Cole Porter’s Broadway: Too Darn Hot, Lenny’s Revolution, Blockbuster Broadway, and A Philly POPS Christmas in 2013, 2014, 2015, and again for the record-setting run of A Philly POPS Christmas in 2019 and the streamed performance in 2020. David has appeared regularly on television, most notably conducting the 10th and 25th Anniversary concerts of Les Misérables. He has conducted five times at London’s BBC Proms, including a live telecast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!. Recordings include the musicals Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre and Man of La Mancha, Something’s Gotta Give with baritone Simon Keenleyside, Forever with soprano Diana Damrau, and highlights from La Bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic.
In the UK, David recently conducted his own critical edition of Kiss Me, Kate for Opera North. He has conducted many of the premier British orchestras, including the London Symphony, City of Birmingham, Bournemouth, and Royal Philharmonic. His work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra includes a centenary concert honoring his mentor Leonard Bernstein in 2018. A much-respected artist in London’s West End, David conducted the Olivier Awards ceremony for four years and was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s personal choice to lead the world premiere of Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre. David’s recent projects have included a series of Gershwin concerts at Kyiv National Theatre of Operetta in Ukraine, Carousel at the Vienna Volksoper and Sweeney Todd at the Zurich Opera House. David also conducted Barrie Kosky’s production of The Magic Flute at Opera Philadelphia, West Side Story at the Glimmerglass Festival, and Silent Night, Kevin Puts’ acclaimed opera about the World War I Christmas Truce, in Kansas City, Cincinnati and Detroit.
Michael Cavanaugh, Vocalist READ BIO
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.
POPS ROCKS: The Music of PAUL SIMON, JAMES TAYLOR & BILLY JOEL with Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh and his electrifying band join the POPS, the world’s biggest rock orchestra, in showcasing the hits of Paul Simon, James Taylor, and Billy Joel! Experience the sweet sounds of Cavanaugh’s trademark energy and enthusiasm as he celebrates the greatest singer-songwriters of the era.
Spinning intimate instrumentation with inspired, poetic lyrics, these singer-songwriters made songs that speak to everyone. Songs of love and heartbreak, dreams and defiance, they’re sure to have you singing along!
Returning from 2015’s Music of Billy Joel and 2017’s Music of Elton John, Cavanaugh brings the whole package, performing favorites like, “How Sweet It Is,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “Piano Man”!
Michael Cavanaugh likes to keep his audiences on their toes, but rock fans can expect classic tunes like “The Sound of Silence,” “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” “How Sweet It Is,” and of course, “Piano Man.”