George Gershwin, 1937, by Carl Van Vechten (Library of Congress)
The end of the First World War signaled the beginning of a new era of economic prosperity, a goodbye to Victorian mores, and a national fascination with popular entertainment. Idols were quickly identified: John Barrymore, Fanny Brice, Babe Ruth, Mary Pickford, and, in 1924, a young man from Brooklyn, George Gershwin. During the next 17 years, his fame would grow meteorically, catapulting him to international renown before his tragic death in 1937.
Gershwin is one of the giants of American music, unique in that he was both a brilliant composer of popular songs (“Swanee,” “I Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”) and more serious music, including Rhapsody in Blue, the Concerto in F, An American in Paris, and Porgy and Bess.
Join pianist and Gershwin authority Robert Wyatt, co-editor of Oxford University Press’s The George Gershwin Reader, in a lively program exploring the composer’s life and legacy. The evening includes Wyatt’s performances of the solo version of Rhapsody in Blue, early and unpublished music, the piano improvisations, and other Gershwin hits. View rare film footage obtained from the Gershwin family, along with unpublished photographs of the composer and his friends. Archival recordings of his 1932–33 radio program, Music by Gershwin, are also featured. S’wonderful!