George Gershwin

All three of the works on this Sunday’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert re-broadcast were composed in Paris within a five-year period (1928-33), one by a German, another by a Frenchman, and the last by an American. And they all marvelously combine elements of serious composition with popular influences, notably from jazz.

George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is performed by orchestras everywhere. But not everyone has heard the original jazz band version, composed for a 1924 experimental concert that blurred the boundaries between jazz and classical music. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

Join the Philadelphia Orchestra as they perform "A Night of Gershwin" at the Mann Center on June 26th. Celebrate the breadth of George Gershwin’s legacy with one of his most effervescent musical masterworks - Rhapsody in Blue; the first, and widely considered the finest American opera - Porgy and Bess; and the ultimate musical postcard to the folks back home - An American in Paris. Cristian Măcelaru, conductor. Terrence Wilson, piano. Norman Garrett, baritone. Taylor Johnson, soprano

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Simone Dinnerstein's latest CD Broadway-Lafayette is named after the subway stop in New York City. But, as Dinnerstein explains in her most recent visit to Crossover, there is an ulterior motive at play in the title - the relationship of America and France, dating back to the American Revolution, when the Marquis de Lafayette helped American colonists send the British back across the Atlantic licking their wounds.  And there is yet another undercurrent in the theme of American and French relationships - that of the composers on the recording.

In the first part of the 20th century, George Gershwin found fortune as a composer of popular songs, which were used in dozens of Broadway and Hollywood musicals - many of which he created with his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin. 

The work that launched him as a classical composer, however, was Rhapsody in Blue.  It premiered in  1924, and was performed for decades by orchestras throughout the world. Before he died in 1937 at the age of 38, Gershwin would compose many solo pieces for piano, the first great American opera, Porgy and Bess, and a number of orchestral works.

WRTI’s Susan Lewis  considers George Gershwin and his musical legacy.

In the 1920s, America was humming to the tunes of George Gershwin. In this Riverwalk Jazz holiday cabaret, piano man Dick Hyman shares his love of all things Gershwin in music and conversation. Sunday, December 2, 6 to 7 pm.

Listen On Demand Here and read all about the music.

Popular composer George Gershwin bridged the worlds of classical music and jazz. WRTI's Susan Lewis considers Gershwin and his musical legacy.

WRTI's Susan Lewis considers the life and work of George Gershwin, and one of  the great 20th-century master’s signature works, Rhapsody in Blue.