From Music Director Daniel Meyer
It’s so rare to be able to spend an entire concert on one composer’s music. We’ll almost make it on Saturday, when we feature the music of the American icon, George Gershwin. I say ‘almost’ because there is a great story to tell about the great French composer Maurice Ravel and his encounter with Gershwin, but you’ll have to come to the concert to hear why Ravel’s music made it onto an all-Gershwin program!
Gershwin’s music has always had such a hold on me. I love his pure melodic gifts, his humor, his imagination, and his zest for incorporating the best of the jazz world he know so well into his classical music. Indeed, it took a while for American composers to heed the Bohemian composer Antonin Dvorak’s advice to take our own native folk music and dances and inject them into our own American concert music. Gershwin met the challenge head-on, and somehow his own brash courage to do so left him as one of the most loved composers from the past century. It’s almost unfathomable that someone cranking out song after song on Tin Pan Alley would one day appear on the major concert stages of the world and write music as unforgettable as An American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue, or the opera Porgy and Bess. We will of course feature the music of all three works on Saturday, but we will also explore the wonderful songs he penned with his brother Ira.
Prepare to be astonished by the breadth and genius of Gershwin as performed by pianist Inna Faliks, vocalists Jasmine Muhammad and Michael Redding, and of course, the wonderful musicians of the Erie Philharmonic. It’s such an honor to call Gershwin an American original, and I hope you will join us to celebrate the musical miracles he gave us in one very happy evening.