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Category Archives: Composers

20th Century American Songs, Performed on George Gershwin’s Steinway

Nicholas Shaneyfelt This Saturday (4/9) at 5:30PM, Nicholas Shaneyfelt will be presenting a concert of American songs on the Gershwin Steinway in the Britton Recital Hall of the U-M Moore Music Building. Nicholas devised his concert to feature composers who are less often performed but vital to the collection of American song. They include the pioneers of the genre: Edward MacDowell, Charles Griffes, and Arthur Farwell; African American composers like Robert Owens and Leslie Adams; composers who pushed the genre forward in the 60s and 70s, like Dominick Argento and Lee Hoiby; and voices of today, including Jake Heggie, Ben […]

Stepping Back and Taking a Listen

Word travels fast these days, and whether by Twitter or word of mouth, news of the Gershwin piano’s restoration has traveled “out there”.   I’ve been observing the excitement build, as during the past month faculty and students have poked their head through the open door of the piano technology shop and inquired about the piano, or requested a moment or two to try it out.  Reactions have been favorable, ranging from “Oh my!  How long is this piano?” to “Wow, man!  I can really dig this piano!”  Whether polite or hip, the expressions on their faces tell me a […]

Thoughts from Our Advisory Board

William Bolcom, Pulitzer Prize winning American composer Advisory Board Member, George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition “Finally there is a serious effort to put together a critical edition of George and Ira Gershwins’ work.  In the last few decades we’ve seen a growing number of worthwhile studies of American popular composers (see the recent Irving Berlin publications for example).  Others, like Jerome Kern and Alec Wilder, have written occasional chamber works alongside their song catalogues.  However George Gershwin, unlike his contemporaries in classic popular song, differs from the herd in that his non-Broadway work is major in substance, including one […]

Arranging Rhapsody in Maize & Blue — Composer Michael Schachter

Inspired by the improvisations of U-M jazz piano major Gil Chapman (see “Flash of Gershwin” in the Listen gallery), we asked U-M SMTD Comp-Theory Ph.D. student Michael Schachter to create a musical weave of George Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue with the University of Michigan’s own theme — our fight song “The Victors.” Michael took up the challenge with skill, artistry and passion, as he reported to me via email: “I’ve been a big George Gershwin fan as long as I can remember.  His “Three Preludes for Piano” were my first entrée into classical music, and his perhaps unmatched ability […]