Date, Time & Location
Sunday, June 9, 2019
3:30pm (90 min. duration)
The Commons Nugent-Custer Performance Hall
We may require ID verification to validate discounted tickets at the door.
Featuring pianist Greg Kostraba performing Gershwin’s seminal Rhapsody in Blue. In addition, enjoy music by great composers and songwriters that influenced Gershwin and who were influenced by him: Debussy, Ravel, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and Jerome Kern.
Rhapsody in Blue
Program note compiled by: Rachel Wilken
George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is a vibrant portrait of life in the 1920s, bursting with energy, color and enthusiasm, filled with the rhythms of trains, cars, and the bustle of a city teeming with life. Written for Paul Whitman’s concert “An Experiment in Modern Music,” Rhapsody in Blue was introduced to a world of classical musicians who thought “the place for jazz was Broadway, not the concert hall.”
The premiere, with Gershwin as the soloist, was extremely well received, launching the career of Gershwin as a serious composer and breaking down the barriers between jazz and classical music. Gershwin later wrote of the piece: “the Rhapsody in Blue represents what I had been striving for since my earliest composition. … I succeeded in showing that jazz is not merely a dance; it comprises bigger themes and purposes. … To be true music [a piece] must repeat the thoughts and aspirations of the people and the time. My people are Americans. My time is today.” This is the magic of the Rhapsody in Blue, that it captures the spirit of the time and of the people, full of excitement, discovery, and hope. The music invites us to join in that spirit, and bring it with us as we return from the past to the present and into the future.