Cavanaugh, Protégé of Billy Joel to Perform with Toledo Symphony Orchestra

Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 9:00 am

American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer Billy Joel is considered to be one of the greatest solo artists of all time. Since releasing his first hit song Piano Man in 1973, Joel has become a multi-million-selling recording artist. Michael Cavanaugh, hand-picked by Billy Joel himself to star as lead role in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out, joins the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) for a one-night-only performance on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater to perform the greatest rock hits, including Uptown Girl, You May Be Right, New York State of Mind, and other songs that Billboard called “the new voice of the American Rock and Roll songbook.”

Michael Cavanaugh is a charismatic performer and musician made famous for his piano/lead vocals in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out. He appeared in the show for 3 years with over 1,200 performances, and received multiple accolades. In 2003, the show received both Grammy and Tony Award nominations.

“Cavanaugh and his energetic band will be backed by more than 50 TSO musicians for a massive collaboration on stage,” says Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “Billy Joel’s music is a national treasure and speaks to everyone. Michael Cavanaugh is uniquely suited to channel Billy Joel’s spirit, and his energy is intoxicating. This is the perfect opportunity to let loose and enjoy what’s really become an American soundtrack!”

Cavanaugh began playing piano at age 7, when his parents bought their first piano. Encouraged by family and friends, and inspired by his hero, Billy Joel, he formed his first band at age 10. His first full-time gig as a musician was in Orlando, Florida at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. In 1999, Michael was offered an opportunity to play Las Vegas at the famed New York, New York Hotel and Casino. In 2001, Billy Joel spotted Cavanaugh and joined him on stage. Cavanaugh moved to New York City to work alongside Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp, to shape the Broadway musical Movin’ Out.

“With each of our KeyBank Pops concerts, we strive to bring high quality, exciting performances to the area,” says Vassar. “Michael Cavanaugh not only brings first-class musicianship to the stage, but also a personal style that will make it an intimate evening for the audience and orchestra. This is enhanced by the fact that we’ll be performing at the Peristyle, which is a great room to share big musical experiences in. It’s going to be ‘that show’ everyone raves about for years to come.”

Michael Cavanaugh: The Music of Billy Joel will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 8 PM at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. Tickets start at $37 and are available at or by calling the box office at 419.246.8000.

For more information, please contact Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony at


The Toledo Symphony Orchestra is a community-supported organization of professional musicians and teachers who deliver quality performance and music education for all.

Formed in 1943 as The Friends of Music and incorporated in 1951 as the Toledo Orchestra Association, Inc., the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) has grown from a core group of twenty-two part-time musicians to a regional orchestra that employs sixty-five professional musicians who consider the Toledo Symphony their primary employer, as well as numerous extra players annually as repertoire demands.

On January 1, 2019, the Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony officially merged to form the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), a new non-profit organization dedicated to providing exceptional live music and dance performances and education for the region. This partnership promises to create new and invigorating programs, provide cost and revenue synergies in operations, and integrate the arts through shared educational missions.

The Toledo Symphony reaches more than 260,000 individuals annually through performances and education programs. The series concerts (Masterworks, Pops, Chamber, Mozart in the Afternoon, and Family Series) are the critical underpinning of the orchestra’s artistic mission and regularly draw people from 135 postal zip codes. Additionally, Music Under the Stars, a free summer band concert series, is held annually at the Toledo Zoo. Education programs, student performances, and community concerts are held in schools, neighborhood churches, performing arts centers, and community facilities throughout the region; many are offered at no charge or provided at a reduced fee to help expand participation.

The Toledo Symphony Orchestra has events all year round. View our upcoming performance schedule now.

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