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Fall music season to feature Gershwin concert
September 7, 2012Tweet
A gala concert celebrating the works of George Gershwin is among the highlights of the Department of Music’s fall season.
“By Gershwin, By George” will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Osterhout Concert Theater and will feature symphonic, operatic, show and song selections from the legendary 20th-century composer. Proceeds from the show will be used to support other Department of Music concerts.
“He’s an iconic American figure,” Music Professor Timothy Perry said. “If you asked people around the world for the name of an American composer, they’d probably come up with Gershwin more often than anyone else.”
Gershwin, who died in 1937, started as a Tin Pan Alley composer as a teenager and wrote the hit “Swanee” by the time he was 20. He is best known for the opera “Porgy and Bess,” along with classical works such as “Rhapsody in Blue” and “An American in Paris.”
“He is our American Mozart,” Perry said. “He died at 38. We tend to forget what a career he would have had and the other influences he would have had on American music.”
The concert will feature Perry leading the University Symphony Orchestra in a number of selections. The orchestra will also lead Thomas and Jean Goodheart in a vocal set from “Porgy and Bess” and pianist Michael Salmirs on “Rhapsody in Blue.”
“We are going to try to show the breadth of Gershwin’s genius,” Perry said.
Performing Gershwin’s songs also will be a great educational experience for students in the University Symphony Orchestra, Perry said.
“I think people beyond college age are most familiar with George Gershwin from things such as TV and radio,” he said. “A lot of Gershwin was used for advertising purposes. It’s now much more difficult and expensive to get those works. So they are not played with the frequency they were before.
“This is part and parcel of what we need to do as an ensemble,” Perry added. “There is so much great music out there. We did a ‘3B’ concert last year – Bach, Beethoven and Brahms – because we hadn’t played any of those three in a while. We want to see our students get a broad basis in orchestral music. There are undiscovered great works.”
Gershwin, along with Aaron Copland, “define the sound of American music” up until rock ‘n’ roll era, Perry said.
“I know our students are excited about performing Gershwin,” he said. “It should be a fund project.”
Another fall highlight is the Friedheim Memorial Lecture Series, which will take place at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, in Casadesus Recital Hall. In honor of former faculty member Philip Friedheim, the program combines faculty performances with an introductory lecture on a musical topic.
The November program is “The Evolution of a Lute Solo” and will feature Paul Sweeny on guitar, Barbara Kaufman on recorder and vocalist Christina Salasny. The will examine the works of John Dowland, one of the 17th century’s greatest lute players and composers.
“It’s a chance for people who may not know much about early music or think that early music is stuffy and scholastic to realize how engaging and emotionally communicative it is,” Perry said.
A stringed instrument, the lute was most popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, and experienced a revival late in the 20th century.
“It’s softer, sweeter and absolutely captivating,” Perry said. “You won’t raise your blood pressure!”
For more on the 2012-13 music season, go to www.music.binghamton.edu.