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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Marketing & Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony opens pops season with Broadway sensation Michael Cavanaugh in "Songs Of Elton John and More" for a showstopping performance of iconic hits

October 17, 2013

Praised as “the new voice of the American rock-and-roll songbook” (Billboard) with both Grammy- and Tony-award nominations, charismatic performer Michael Cavanaugh opens Pacific Symphony’s 35th anniversary Pops season with crowd-pleasing pop and rock piano hits during his new show, “Michael Cavanaugh: Songs of Elton John and More.” Handpicked by another famous pianist, Billy Joel, to star in the Broadway musical “Movin’ Out” in 2001, Cavanaugh quickly gained a reputation for his skillful talents on the piano and lead vocals rivaling those of the “Piano Man” himself. After the musical closed in 2005, he began touring on his own, reinterpreting the modern pop/rock songbook, and eventually bringing his “Songs of Billy Joel and More” to a full house at the Symphony’s Fourth of July concert in 2009. Cavanaugh returns to bring his exuberant energy to the music of the “Rocket Man,” for a performance of songs such as “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Benny and the Jets,” “Daniel,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Candle in the Wind” and more—all backed by the lush sounds of the Symphony.

Taking place Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 7-9, at 8 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, tickets are $35-$185. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit

“Michael Cavanaugh was such a hit when he joined the Symphony on our summer series that I’m thrilled our regular Pops audiences will be able to enjoy this wonderful singer,” says Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman. “Michael is passionate about his music-making, and I know he’ll bring the same amazing spirit to the music of EltonJohn as he did with the songs of Billy Joel.”

Led by Kaufman, the orchestra opens the first half of the concert with an array of music from film and television including the world concert premiere of “My Week with Marilyn” by Conrad Pope. Lee Holdridge’s music from theEmmy-winning HBO series, “The Tuskegee Airmen,” starring Laurence Fishburne, sets the stage for a dramatic and heart-felt Veterans Day salute to those serving, and who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The concert opens with Bruce Broughton’s soothing and dynamic score to “The Boy Who Could Fly,” and also includes “Meet the Orchestra” by David Rose and “Oxford Street” from “London Again Suite” by English composer Eric Coates.

“We open the 35th anniversary Pops season with an exciting musical event, the world concert premiere of music from the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning motion picture, ‘My Week with Marilyn,”’ says Maestro Kaufman. “With music by Conrad Pope, this will be a unique opportunity for our audience to experience the first concert performance of this superb film score.”

Cavanaugh began playing music at age 7, when his parents bought their first piano. He formed his first band atage 10, and his first-full time gig was an extended engagement in Orlando, Fla., at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. In January 1999, Cavanaugh received an offer that would change his life—an opportunity to play Las Vegas atthe New York, New York Hotel and Casino. It was there Joel spotted Cavanaugh and joined him on stage one fateful night in February 2001. It only took two songs before Joel was convinced he had found his new “Piano Man.” Cavanaugh moved to New York to work alongside Joel and renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp, to shape the Broadway musical that would be called “Movin’ Out.” Since the show’s close, Cavanaugh has been traveling with his own band, playing the famed hits of Elton John, Paul McCartney, James Taylor and many more. He released his first CD in January2009 titled “In Color,” which plays off the fact that he is a synesthesiac—one who sees colors when he hears musical notes. He also tours a third show, “Singers and Songwriters: The Music of Paul Simon, Neil Diamond and James Taylor,” with symphonies across the country.

The Saturday, Nov. 9, concert is sponsored by The Westin South Coast Plaza. The Symphony’s Pops series receives additional support from American Airlines, K-Earth 101 and PBS SoCal.