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George Gershwin:
Jazz in Classical Music

George Gershwin was just one composer who used jazz in music that was written for the classical concert hall. So did Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, and others.

Music heard in this episode:
Gershwin: Spanish Prelude
Milhaud: Le Boeuf sur le Toit
Ravel: Concerto in G
Shostakovich: Jazz Suite #1
Stravinsky: Ebony Concerto
Bernstein: Fancy Free
Ellington: Three Black Kings
Corea: Piano Concerto
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue

Other shows about George Gershwin:
About George Gershwin
What is a Rhapsody?
Rhapsody in Blue

Download this month's activity sheet

About George Gershwin
9/26/1898 - 7/11/1937
Born in America

George Gershwin was born in Brooklyn, New York. He taught himself to play the piano at a friend's house by following how the keys moved on a player piano. When the Gershwins finally got their own piano, George surprised everyone by sitting down and playing the songs he had learned by himself.

George liked to compose both classical and popular music, and found a unique way to combine the two. He composed his most famous work, Rhapsody in Blue, in 1924, the same year he also had a hit show on Broadway. Gershwin also wrote the opera Porgy and Bess. He is considered one of the greatest American composers.

See other composers born in America


This Week's Quiz:

1. Which of these classical composers did NOT use jazz in their compositions?

Igor Stravinsky

Leonard Bernstein

Felix Mendelssohn

Dmitri Shostakovich

2.Duke Ellington wrote pieces for the concert hall and ballet stage.



3. Chick Corea wrote a piano concerto after he heard those of

Felix Mendelssohn

Johannes Brahms

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Aaron Copland


George Gershwin
Rhapsody in Blue

Composed in 1924
Performed by Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
Richard Hayman, conductor
Kathryn Selby, piano

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