Crazy for You: George Gershwin and His Music
Seventy years after his death, George Gershwin remains a vivid presence both at home and abroad. Embodied in his music are blues, jazz, and classical traditions combined in unique, memorable ways. Author-pianist Howard Pollack will lead a two-session course, with piano performance, which will begin by following Gershwin from his childhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, to his apprenticeship on Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, to his hit song “Swanee” (1919), to the premiere of the ever-popular Rhapsody in Blue and his first Broadway smash, Lady Be Good (both 1924). The second session will continue with explorations of An American in Paris (1926), Porgy and Bess (1935), and his Hollywood film scores, all of which ended with an untimely death in 1937 at the age of 38.
Howard Pollack is the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Music and chair of the musicology department at the University of Houston, where he has taught since 1987. He is the author of five books, including an award-winning biography of Aaron Copland. His most recent book, George Gershwin: His Life and Work (2006), has been deemed “endlessly fascinating” (New York Times) and “a gripping read” (Charleston News and Courier), with “some of the best musical analysis you’re likely to find anywhere” (Toronto Globe and Mail).
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