B i o g r a p h y
Andy Stein is a musician with a checkered past. Besides freelancing as a violinist/violist in chamber and orchestra groups in his native New York, he has recorded with Itzhak Perlman, Placido Domingo, Marilyn Horne, Frederica Von Stade, toured China with a string quartet, and performed concertos with orchestras in New York, Chicago, New England, Pacific Northwest, and the South. He has appeared on numerous television programs including Late Night with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, Great performances (PBS) and As The World Turns (CBS). He has also been a featured soloist in a number of Broadway Shows, including the Lincoln Center production of "Anything Goes," and the 1990's Broadway revivals of "Guys and Dolls" and "Fiddler on the Roof." He has produced records of rock 'n' roll and jazz, and conducted on radio and television.
Andy entered the popular music field as a founding member of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, where his distinctive style on violin and saxophone added a swing element to this beloved rock 'n' roll band of the early '70's. He subsequently worked with Asleep at the Wheel, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Charlie Daniels, Marshall Tucker Band, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, Alan Menken, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Smashing Pumpkins, Grover Washington Jr., Chakka Kahn, Diane Reeves, Barabara Cook, Audra McDonald, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Memphis Horns, Eric Clapton, Whitney Houston, Kathie Lee Gifford, Manhattan Transfer, Tony Bennet, Carol King, James Taylor, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, etc. and holds a Grammy award for Best Country Instrumental 1978. He has performed for two Presidents of the United States, the President of the Dominican Republic, four mayors of New York, and for the Native American occupying force on Alcatraz.
For twenty-two years his violin and saxophone were heard weekly (hopefully not weakly) on public radio nationwide, as a member of the Guys All-Star Shoe Band, the "house band" on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.
He is also featured prominently in the Robert Altman film of the same name, both in the sound track and on screen, performing with Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan and others. His mastery of a variety of styles is evident as his violin peppers the airwaves in numerous commercials in genres from jazz or rock to tango, gypsy, country, or classical styles. He is also featured on the soundtracks of many other films from Hollywood and Europe, including solos in Disney's "Hunchback of Notredame" and "Tom and Huck," Coppola's "Cotton Club," various films of Ken Burns, and "The Red Violin."
As an arranger and composer, he has written and arranged an opera with librettist Garrison Keillor, scored several feature films (for Roger Corman and National Lampoon), a TV special and an Oscar-winning cartoon. He has arranged numerous projects for "Pops" orchestra, which have been performed by dozens of orchestras across the nation and in Europe, including the Symphonies of Dallas (PBS broadcast), Baltimore, Boston, New York, National Symphony in Washington, Munich, London, etc. His works for violin and orchestra have been performed by Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Pamela Frank, Cho-Liang Lin, and others.
His version of Schubert's string quartet, "Death and the Maiden," arranged for full orchestra in the style of Schubert, has been performed by world class ensembles on both sides of the Atlantic, and is now available on disc from NAXOS, recorded by the Buffalo Philharmonic with JoAnn Falletta conducting. His piano concerto arrangement, after another work of Schubert's, was commissioned by André Watts and has been performed by him with several "big city" symphonies including those of Chicago and Washington, DC. He was also commissioned to write a duo for Violin and 'Cello, entitled "Suite For Two" for Jaime Laredo and his wife Sharon Robinson, to commemorate 30 years of marriage and performances together. His arrangement of "Octet after Symphony No. 2" (Beethoven) just enjoyed a successful 5 performance run with The St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble in New York City.
His arrangement of "Junk" is the opening cut on Paul McCartney's 1999 CD, Working Classical. And he has been a great admirer of the popular and jazz arrangers of the '20's and '30's, having transcribed a body of Duke Ellington's early work, arranged for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and for a recreation of Paul Whiteman's famous 1924 Aeolian Hall concert which premiered George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."
Stein grew up surrounded by classical music, with several prominent professionals in the family, notably his aunt the violist Lillian Fuchs. He played and studied theory with his pianist father, and played chamber music with family and friends on a regular basis. He attributes a large part of his success in many different genres to his chamber music background.