Professor Naomi Amos will present “George and Ira Gershwin: Brothers Who Achieved the American Dream and Transformed Musical Culture” as part of the Westover Honors Program 30th Anniversary Lecture Series.
The Gershwin brothers were the most remarkable composer-lyricist team of the 1920s and 30s. While George and Ira were a brilliant duo, they were as different as could be in terms of their distinctive personalities and lifestyles.
They began their lives in the immigrant ghetto of the east side tenements of New York City. By the 1930s, they were among the Hollywood elites. Together, they created a body of work that was sophisticated and innovative in terms of popular music, musical theatre and films. In addition, they ventured into traditional “classical” music genres, by melding all aspects of American musical culture, from popular song, to African-American blues, to jazz.
The results were astounding and original. From “Rhapsody in Blue” to “Porgy and Bess,” they broke barriers and created controversy. They were adored and they were ridiculed. Most important, they developed a distinctively American musical identity. Their works resonated with broad audiences in the 1930s and have grown in popularity over the generations and across the world.