|Queens College Maestro Maurice Peress Conducts Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks to Mark 90th Anniversary of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue|
Lineup Will Recreate Historic Concert on Wednesday, February 12 at Manhattan’s Town Hall, Just Steps From the Original Venue--
FLUSHING, NY, February 3, 2014 – Playing to a sold-out Aeolian Hall on February 12, 1924, violinist-conductor
Paul Whiteman led his dance band in a program of popular and jazz repertoire.
His “Experiment in Modern Music” culminated in the premiere of a piece
commissioned for the occasion: Rhapsody
in Blue, featuring its composer, George Gershwin, at the piano.
Now, exactly 90 years later, internationally-known
conductor Maurice Peress, professor at the Queens
College Aaron Copland School of Music, is teaming up with the Grammy
Award-winning Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks to
reprise that legendary performance.
The commemorative concert,
taking place on Wednesday, February 12, at 8 pm at The Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street, Manhattan), will faithfully replicate
the original, which mixed novelties such as “Livery Stable Blues,” with its
mock horse whinnies and chicken squawks, and standards by Irving Berlin, Victor
Herbert, and Jerome Kern. Virtuosos from the 22-piece Nighthawks—augmented for this
date by guest artists—will recreate individual solos from vintage recordings. Jazz
pianist Jeb Patton will channel keyboard wizard Zez Confrey, composer of “Dizzy
Fingers,” while Andy Stein, known for his work on “A Prairie Home Companion,”
will cover Whiteman’s role on violin. Ted Rosenthal, a winner of the Thelonious
Monk International Jazz Piano Competition who teaches at the Juilliard School
and Manhattan School of Music, will be a featured soloist.
“With his Rhapsody in
Blue for solo piano and jazz band, Gershwin took a giant step for American
music,” notes Peress, who immersed himself in musical archives to prepare for
this event. “It is indisputably the first American orchestral work shaped from
blues and ragtime that crossed over and found a welcome place in the standard
“The original performance of Rhapsody in Blue established George Gershwin as one of the truly
unique voices in American music, and solidified Paul Whiteman’s reputation as
America’s leading bandleader,” adds Giordano, a specialist in period jazz. “By
recreating this historic event, we honor Whiteman and Gershwin, and commemorate
the 90th anniversary of the piece and the event that changed music forever.
Tickets for this concert cost $25 to $40 and are
available at www.ticketmaster.com and
in person at The Town Hall’s box office.
About the Aaron
Copland School of Music
Established in 1981, the Aaron
Copland School of Music (ACSM) has over 500 music students enrolled in seven
undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It offers a range of courses that
prepares its graduates for a variety of careers in music, including
performance, teaching and composition. The school also maintains a vital
presence in the cultural life of Queens and the greater NY metropolitan area by
annually offering over 200 public concerts and recitals in the Samuel J. and
Ethel LeFrak Concert Hall, as well as specialized programs and courses for
senior citizens. In addition, its Lawrence Eisman Center for Preparatory
Studies in Music, a pre-college program, serves up to 400 elementary and
secondary students each year. There is also a college-community choir,
the Queens College Choral Society, which presents major choral works each semester.
In cooperation with the Department of Drama, Theatre, and Dance, the
school offers opera and musical theatre productions. Most of these events
are free and all are open to the public. ACSM also hosts six summer
workshops and seminars that offer essential skills in early music (voice and
instrument), conducting, composition and theory for high school and
college students as well as professional musicians. For more information on the
Aaron Copland School of Music, please visit http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/music/