Rhapsody in Blue 100th

Link to Berkshire Jazz Performance

By: - Feb 12, 2024

If you date a composition’s age from its first public performance, Rhapsody In Blue celebrates its 100th birthday today. On Feb. 12, 2023, perhaps the most celebrated composition in American history made its historic debut in Carnegie Hall. At the piano was its composer, George Gershwin. Trite as it may seem to say it, “the rest is history.” Rhapsody In Blue went on to be recorded by jazz and classical artists, small and large ensembles of all makeup.

The stuff of movie sound tracks and television commercials, it is one of the most-recognized pieces in all of music literature. And deservedly one of the most popular. Even people who don’t know its name or heritage can hum its haunting theme.

This winter and spring, Rhapsody in Blue is still being performed by jazz and classical artists. Berkshires Jazz got a jump on the centennial phenomenon last April, presenting the remarkable pianist Ted Rosenthal with the equally remarkable advanced strings ensemble from Kids 4 Harmony.

Fortunately, the concert was preserved for posterity, and we invite you to revisit this very special performance, recorded at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Co., in Lenox, Massachusetts. The whole concert was a Gershwin extravaganza, the first set featuring Ted and his trio. The Kids 4 Harmony ensemble joins for Rhapsody In Blue, the dramatic and thrilling final number. You can play it here, or paste the following into your browser: