And yet, the ship sails on, with the eminent Frank Basile as interim CEO and president, and Feinstein, stalwart as artistic director, set to host the first-ever induction ceremony for the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame this June. And the coming season is as about as packed as the last, with an admirable mix of classical, pop, country, bluegrass, dance and, of course, programming straight from the American songbook.
Perhaps the classical and songbook programming is most distinctive; most of the (well-aged) artists on the pop side could just as easily play The Lawn or the Vogue, and it seems that Clowes, the Murat and the Palladium are now sharing crowd-pleasing acts like Celtic Thunder and DRUMLINE Live.
But the classical lineup, nothing to sneeze at, is highlighted by visits from Beaux Arts Trio pianist Menahem Pressler (Sept. 7); the smallest, pops-friendliest of the BBC's five orchestras, the BBC Concert Orchestra (Feb. 2, 2013, performing a very British lineup of work by Britten, Elgar and Butterworth); the China National Symphony Orchestra (Feb. 22, 2013; Xia Guan, Sibelius and Rachmaninoff, with violinist Xi Chen); From the Top host Christopher O'Riley (March 1, 2013, about a year after his visit to the Toby); and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter (March 8, 2013; Lutoslawski, Schubert, Previn, Saint-Saens). And we ought not leave out visits by sopranos Renee Fleming (Feb. 24, 2013) and Kathleen Battle (April 27, 2013).
Feinstein will perform at one show - with Barbara Cook on March 23, 2013 - on a Songbook series that includes visits from Monica Mancini, daughter of Henry, with smooth jazz saxophonist Dave Koz (Aug. 8), Johnny Mathis (Sept. 9), Natalie Cole (Oct. 18), Lucie Arnaz (Jan. 26, 2013; daughter of Desi and Lucille).
The country lineup sticks close to the pop side of things, with visits from bonafide superstars LeAnn Rimes (July 27) and Josh Turner (Sept. 27), the Cracker Barrel-approved Dailey & Vincent (Oct. 12) and the ageless Don Williams (March 22, 2013) and Oak Ridge Boys (May 11, 2013).
The jazz and blues series features several familiar faces, including B.B. King (Nov. 20), Doc Severinsen (April 18, 2013) and Chick Corea and Gary Burton (April 20, 2013). House star Hugh Laurie sings blues with his Copper Bottom Band (Aug. 22) to kick off the series; Cuban pianist Chucho Valdez follows on a couple months later (Oct. 24, 2013).
Savion Glover (Oct. 20), the Stars of the Russian Ballet (Jan. 5, 2013) and MOMIX (March 9 and 10, 2013) are on the dance lineup; the rather unimaginative pop selection includes Kenny Loggins (Aug. 1), The B-52s (Aug. 26), Sheryl Crow (Sept. 6), Amy Grant (Oct. 5) and America (Oct. 6).
And the family lineup is likably diverse, including visits from the still-weird Mummenschanz (Jan. 12 and 13, 2013), the Blue Man-esque Voca People (Feb. 23, 2013) and the vaudeville-inspired Thomas Kubinek (June 1 and 2, 2013). Don't be fooled by the shunting of these shows into the "family" ghetto; the Center for the Performing Arts has been playing host to some inspired performance art and theater in its smaller venues, the Tarkington Theatre and Studio Theatre.
Complete lineup and ticket details at the Center for Performing Arts website.