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George GershwinHis Life and Work$
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Howard Pollack

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248649

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248649.001.0001

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Gershwin's Musical Education to the Rhapsody in Blue (1924)

Gershwin's Musical Education to the Rhapsody in Blue (1924)

(p.22) Chapter Two Gershwin's Musical Education to the Rhapsody in Blue (1924)
George Gershwin

Howard Pollack

University of California Press

In the fourteen years or so from the time he began piano lessons to the time he composed the Rhapsody in Blue, his first extended concert work, Gershwin remained actively involved in the practice and study of classical music. This included at least five years of piano instruction, including work with Charles Hambitzer on music from Bach through Debussy; probably four years or more of lessons in harmony, figured bass, analysis, and orchestration with Edward Kilenyi; courses at Columbia in orchestration and music history; and the study of form, composition, and orchestration with Rubin Goldmark. During the same years, Gershwin read widely about classical music and attended many concerts featuring eminent artists performing music from Palestrina to Schoenberg. These facts challenge the common notion of Gershwin as an untrained composer who, after the Rhapsody, attempted to redress his lack of schooling through some serious study.

Keywords:   classical music, Rhapsody in Blue, Schoenberg, Charles Hambitzer, Edward Kilenyi, Rubin Goldmark

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