George Gershwin’s Enormous Legacy

Listen to the Story

Play
George Gershwin, taking jazz into the hallowed concert halls(Photo: American Masters/PBS)
George Gershwin, taking jazz into the hallowed concert halls(Photo: American Masters/PBS)

Boyce Lancaster talks with Maestro Albert-George Schram, former staff conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, about George Gershwin‘s enormous legacy.

His influences were many: French music (Claude DeBussy and Maurice Ravel, especially), Russian composition teacher Joseph Schillinger, ballet, folk, gospel, blues, jazz, African syncopation, etc. From his hands, with the help of his brother Ira’s lyrics, came a unique sound that never grows old.

[audio src="http://wosu.org/audio/classical/2006/GershwinLegacy.mp3"]

Highlights From This Interview:

Boyce: “A lot of people were incredulous that they would even think about taking jazz into the concert hall, where serious music is performed.”

Albert-George: “Like Copeland in his way, with the symphonic idiom, I think Gershwin proved that you could combine popular vernacular with genius, and get a complete, expressive art that is the equal of any European art song.”

Albert-George: “I always wonder. Could you imagine if the man lived – easily – twice his age, and what we would have been enriched by? What a shame, if you consider the legacy the man left already. I would have loved to see where he could have taken it, the American idiom. Blues and symphony. His piano concerto is one of my favorites, because you can feel the blues, and all that what is innately American-soil kind of music.”

Comments