Gershwin's Musical Education to the <i>Rhapsody in Blue</i> (1924)

Howard Pollack

in George Gershwin

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248649
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933149 | DOI:
Gershwin's Musical Education to the Rhapsody in Blue (1924)

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In the fourteen years or so from the time he began piano lessons to the time he composed the Rhapsody in Blue, his first extended concert work, Gershwin remained actively involved in the practice and study of classical music. This included at least five years of piano instruction, including work with Charles Hambitzer on music from Bach through Debussy; probably four years or more of lessons in harmony, figured bass, analysis, and orchestration with Edward Kilenyi; courses at Columbia in orchestration and music history; and the study of form, composition, and orchestration with Rubin Goldmark. During the same years, Gershwin read widely about classical music and attended many concerts featuring eminent artists performing music from Palestrina to Schoenberg. These facts challenge the common notion of Gershwin as an untrained composer who, after the Rhapsody, attempted to redress his lack of schooling through some serious study.

Keywords: classical music; Rhapsody in Blue; Schoenberg; Charles Hambitzer; Edward Kilenyi; Rubin Goldmark

Chapter.  7831 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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