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2.12.1924: Rhapsody in Blue

On this day in 1924, George Gershwin performed Rhapsody in Blue for the first time. He was a featured performer at an educational event in New York City called “Experiment in Modern Music,” although he didn’t expect to be.

Just five weeks prior to the “Experiment in Modern Music” concert, Gershwin had not committed to writing a piece for it, when his brother Ira read a report in the New York Tribune stating that George was “at work on a jazz concerto” for the program. Thus painted into a corner, George Gershwin pieced Rhapsody In Blue together as best he could in the time available, leaving his own piano part to be improvised during the world premiere. (History.com)

Can you remember the first time you heard this piece? Can you close your eyes and imagine you are hearing it now for the first time?

One comment on “2.12.1924: Rhapsody in Blue

  1. […] Much like Rhapsody in Blue, Ray Charles’s What’d I Say was the product of an immediate need to produce something—although far more immediate in this case, as Charles had to compose something on the spot at a concert where he’d run out of songs to fill his slot. […]

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