The Hands of Liberace
As a renowned and versatile pianist and composer whose styles encompass a wide range of musical genres, Philip Fortenberry is an artist with an equally expansive career.
He is a partner in two entertainment companies, PK Music and PK Entertainment based in Las Vegas, NV. In August 2018, Philip successfully completed a three-week solo concert tour of China debuting his “Salute To Broadway” concert to thousands of Chinese citizens in 14 cities.
He is the co-producer and pianist of the critically-acclaimed musical revue, “The Cocktail Cabaret” that debuted on Nov. 30, 2017 at the iconic Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip.
A native of Columbia, MS, he began playing piano at age four, became the accompanist for his church at age seven and performed his first solo concert at age 12 while continuing his work as a church pianist. After completing his undergraduate degree in 1980 at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, he left the south and moved to New York City.
Philip continued his studies and holds a Master of Music Degree in classical piano performance from New Jersey City University, was an adjunct faculty member in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University and continued his private piano studies at The Julliard School.
Early in his career in New York, Philip became the musical director and on-stage pianist for the long-running off-Broadway satirical revue, “Forbidden Broadway.” He was also the musical supervisor for the West End version of the show in London.
Philip with his flying fingers has played for 10 Broadway shows and eight national tours including “Cats,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “Ragtime,” “Seussical-The Musical,” “Sideshow” and “The Lion King.”
He toured the U.S. and Canada in concert performances of “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” and he was a frequent guest with Lincoln Center’s “Meet the Artists” series. He also played for Harry Connick, Jr. and Susan Stroman’s Broadway production of “Thou Shalt Not.”
Philip made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1986 as the pianist/conductor for Eartha Kitt and later returned to Carnegie Hall in concert with The Three Irish Tenors. He has also performed as pianist for Charlotte Church at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.
In 1990, Philip accompanied internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade at the Oregon Bach Festival. They were invited to perform at the White House for the Summit Conference between Mikhail Gorbachev and President George Bush. Later that year, by invitation of President Bush, ‘Flicka’ and Philip performed at the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations. Philip performed at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the United Nations, and in 1996 he was privileged to accompany singer Laurie Beechman at the 70th birthday gala for Lady Margaret Thatcher in Washington, D.C.
In 2002 by joint commission from the Eudora Welty and William Faulkner Societies, Philip, along with actress Brenda Currin and director David Kaplan, created and performed a theatrical fantasia entitled “June Recital,” which was based on the works of acclaimed Mississippi author, Eudora Welty and which incorporated Beethoven’s Emperor piano concerto.
He was the pianist for the Roundabout Theatre’s Broadway revue of the music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, “The Look of Love.” Philip was the associate music director for Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s pre-Broadway workshop production, “Harmony.”
In 2004, he received the Distinguished Service Award from his alma mater William Carey University.
After 25 years of living in New York for his Broadway career, in 2004 he became a Las Vegas resident. Philip was the associate conductor/music director for the North American premiere of the rock music extravaganza, “We Will Rock You” at the Paris, “Hairspray,” and he played and conducted “Mamma Mia!” at Mandalay Bay. In 2008, he was the pianist and associate conductor for the Las Vegas production of “Jersey Boys” at Paris until the show closed in fall 2016.
In 2008, he was invited to be an artist-in-residence at the famed Liberace Museum where he performed 300 intimate concerts until 2010 in his first solo hit show, “Liberace and Me.”
In 2013, Philip was sought after by Hollywood director Steven Soderberg, he auditioned and was chosen to be the piano double for Emmy and Golden Globe Winner Michael Douglas’ portrayal as Liberace in the HBO Films biopic, “Behind the Candelabra.”
Philip in 2014 became the first recipient of the “Ghostlight Award” as Best Musician on Broadway as the pianist and associate conductor of the Broadway musical, “Rocky.” He was honored again that same year with the “Encore Award for Musical Excellence” presented by the Nevada School of the Arts.
As John Katsilometes, popular columnist of The Kats Report for the Las Vegas Review-Journal states, “Philip…a fantastic man at the piano, one of our great treasures!” And Robin Leach declared “Prince at the Piano.” He’s prominently featured in magazines, on radio, online and TV.
He has composed and produced eight solo recordings. His 2009 release, “Broadway, My Way,” commemorating his decades of performing on the Great White Way, plus inspirational, improvisational recordings, and seasonal offerings, including “Faith,” “Fifth Sunday,” “Farther Along,” “Home for the Holidays,” “The Woods,” “Portraits in Music,” and “First Light,” inspired by daybreak in southern Nevada’s Valley of Fire.
He continues to be a sought-after music director for many singers. In 2011, he collaborated with singer Kristen Hertzenberg for their album release, “Holidays From The Heart,” a collection of non-traditional holiday songs encompassing pop, Broadway, jazz, gospel and folk styles.
In 2017, he collaborated as music director with singer Rebecca Spencer to release a new album, “Still, Still, Still,” featuring a pristine collection of holiday songs. Opening with Philip’s majestic chords heralding “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” it’s obvious that this angelic mezzo is in the best of hands.
Philip currently is also the music coordinator for the Broadway Series at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and is the organist for Community Lutheran Church in Las Vegas. He serves on the board of a Nevada nonprofit, The Composers Showcase, to provide composers the opportunity monthly to present and perform original music to an enthusiastic audience at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center.
As a concert pianist, Philip has toured around the U.S. with solo concerts “Now, Just Me,” “Broadway, My Way,” where he shares his music and life stories from personal experiences as a professional musician. He’s toured his concerts to many sold out theatres across the U.S., including “The Hands of Liberace,” “An Evening with Philip Fortenberry” and “The Man At The Piano.” On Oct. 22, 2018 he debuted and performed for fans his newest concert offering, “Give My Regards,” at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas.
Philip is represented internationally by his management company, KMP Artists.
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Shelley (Mansholt) Thomas
菲利普福滕伯里过去是百老汇音乐剧Rocky的钢琴家以及助理指挥。在那里他还获得了第一届“Ghostlight Award”的百老汇最佳音乐人。他还被授予了内华达音乐学校颁发的2014“Encore Award for Musical Excellence”奖。菲利普还是HBO的传记片”Behind the Candelabra“中艾美奖和金球奖得主迈克尔道格拉斯的黎波雷斯的肖像演奏双钢琴。他目前是Paris Las Vegas的Jersey Boys的助理指挥。
Philip Fortenberry fue el pianista y Director Asociado para el musical de Broadway, “Rocky”, donde también recibió el inaugural “Premio Ghostlight” como Mejor Músico en Broadway. Fue honrado con el “Premio a la Excelencia Musical Encore” 2014 presentada por La Escuela de las Artes de Nevada. Philip fue el doble de piano para, el ganador de doble Emmy y un Globo de Oro, Michael Douglas en su representación de Liberace en la película biográfica de HBO Films, “Behind the Candelabra”. Actualmente es el Director Asociado de Jersey Boys en el Paris Las Vegas.