Poster Postage stamp commemorating George Gershwin
Postage stamp commemorating George Gershwin
Public Domain, Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Performance Today®

Reimagining an American classic

Performance Today - February 12, 2024

One hundred years ago today, George Gershwin took the stage with Paul Whiteman and his Concert Orchestra at New York's Aeolian Concert Hall for the premiere of Rhapsody in Blue. Pianist Lara Downes sees the piece as an evolving landscape of American culture—past, present, and future—so she asked Puerto Rican composer Edmar Colon to join her in a 'reimagining' of Gershwin's classic. On today's show, we'll hear Lara Downes and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra play Colon's reimagined arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue by Georg Gershwin.

Episode Playlist

Hour 1

Scott Joplin: Bethena
Lara Downes, piano | Judy Kang and Chiara Fasi, violins | Tia Allen, viola | Yves Dharamraj, cello
Album: Reflections: Scott Joplin Reconsidered
Rising Sun 16

George Gershwin, arr. Bela Fleck: Unidentified Piece for Banjo
Bela Fleck, banjo
Album: Rhapsody in Blue
Thirty Tigers

Alexandre Tansman: Deux Mouvements for Cello Quartet
David Finckel, cello | Nicholas Canellakis, cello | Inbal Segev, cello | Estelle Choi, cello
Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival and Institute, Spieker Center for the Arts, Menlo Park, CA

George Gershwin, arr. Edmar Colon: Rhapsody in Blue
Lara Downes, piano | San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra | Edwin Outwater, conductor
Album: Rhapsody in Blue Reimagined

Hour 2

Daniel Bernard Roumain: Divergence
Daniel Bernard Roumain, violin | Phillip Glass, piano
Album: Etudes 4 Violin and Electronix
Thirsty Ear Recordings

Ulysses Kay: Aulos for Solo Flute and Orchestra
Julia Bogorad-Kogan, flute | Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra | Timothy Lovelace, conductor
SPCO, Saint Paul's United Church of Christ, St. Paul, MN

Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4
Elias Quartet
Spivey Hall, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA

Ferde Grofe: Mississippi Suite: Movement 4 Mardi Gras
New York Philharmonic | Andre Kostelanetz, conductor
Album: Grofe: Grand Canyon Suite & Mississippi Suite

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About Performance Today®

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American Public Media’s Performance Today® is America’s most popular classical music radio program and a winner of the 2014 Gabriel Award for artistic achievement. The show is broadcast on hundreds of public radio stations across the country, including at 1 p.m. central weekdays on Minnesota Public Radio. More information about our stations can be found at APM Distribution.

Performance Today® features live concert recordings that can’t be heard anywhere else, highlights from new album releases, and in-studio performances and interviews. Performance Today® is based at the APM studios in St. Paul, Minnesota, but is frequently on the road, with special programs broadcast from festivals and public radio stations around the country. Also, each Wednesday, composer Bruce Adolphe joins host Fred Child for a classical musical game and listener favorite: the Piano Puzzler.

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