An All American Evening: Night with Gershwin
It was a night filled with nostalgia for me. I've been playing the violin ever since the 4th grade and the cello since high school. If one is up for "classical" music appreciation it is definitely me. However Gershwin was not a composer considered as classical (let's think Mozart and Bach) but more like the rock star of his time. His contemporary jazz piano pieces hit the United States by storm and was used in movies like An American in Paris (1951) and is actually still used in commericals today like the United Airlines commercial. For those who don't typically listen to classical music I promise you if you hear a Gershwin piece you will recognize it.
So come Thursday evening, I adventured off to Manansas, Virginia where the Hylton Performing Arts Center in affiliation with George Mason University was located. I gave myself an hour to get there compared to normally a 30 minute commute because of rush hour and it's a good thing I did! I made it just in time. One of the wonderful things about the Hylton is there is no such thing as a bad seat. With help of the friendly staff I was quickly ushered into my seat before the start of the performance and could see the entire orchestra very closely.The Center is not only designed beautifully but has wonderful acoustics for music performances.
Photo Credit: George Mason University
The line up included Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, and Porgy and Bess. The soloists were absolutely incredible capturing the attitude of a Gerswhin piece. The muted trumpet solo especially seemed to drift over the entire room and captivated the audience with its high drawling notes. Kevin Cole, who was the featuring pianist has devoted his entire career to Gershwin and his been noted as "the best Gerswin pianist in America today" from the Chicago Tribune. From my knowledge of Gershwin pieces it obviously did not sound the exact same like the soundtrack in An American in Paris. That is what was amazing about this performance. The skill muscians have to have in order to interpret and improv on the spot while still performing a complex piece is truly impressive. I look forward to next year's Castleton Festival and have nothing but high expectations.
Photo Credit: Castelton Festival
Short URL: http://bit.ly/PVcKjF