A “Rhapsody in Red, White, and Blue”
George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” is celebrating its centennial. The 1924 musical composition by the iconic George Gershwin is one of his most recognizable creations in American music history. To celebrate the centennial, pianist Jeffrey Biegel created the Rhapsody National Initiative and, Peter Boyer composed a new work for piano and orchestra inspired by the iconic masterpiece. The new work is titled by Mr. Biegel for Mr. Boyer to compose: “Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue.” To showcase this new work, Biegel envisioned the initiative, where the new work is performed in every state over three years. It is a three-year project for 50 states to have their performances of the new work symbolizing the American flag, while celebrating our diversity and unity through music.
Says Biegel about the project, “When the world went silent during Covid, I decided to bring our country together, reflecting its incredible diversity and unity through the power of music. The American flag and the centennial of Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ seemed the best way to go with a new ‘Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue’!”
Some of Biegel most loyal friends and colleagues are excited about the project. Gershwin’s nephew, Marc George Gershwin explains, “When my uncle, George Gershwin, set out to compose a new musical work reflecting the diversity of New York City within a few short weeks, ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ was born, and became a National musical tapestry of our country. The pianist, Jeffrey Biegel, has been one of the Rhapsody’s fondest advocates, having recorded two versions based on historical manuscripts. His love of my uncle’s music, of America, and of people, steered him to have a vision for a diverse America of the 21st-century through music to further reflect our unity. I encourage orchestras in every one of the 50 United States to take part in this celebration of the human spirit, the American spirit, and the soul of our history moving forward.”
Biegel’s friend, Grammy winning producer David Foster, adds, “I can’t wait to witness this incredible collaboration celebrating 100 years of one of the world’s most treasured compositions, ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, with my dear friend, Jeffrey Biegel at the piano. Every orchestra in every state should embrace this powerful and magnificent endeavor with open arms.”
The World Premiere was June 30 with the Utah Symphony, Ben Manis conducting, Jeffrey Biegel, pianist. To date, there are 44 states signed up, 48 orchestras and growing.
About Jeffrey Biegel
Jeffrey Biegel pianist, composer, and Professor at Brooklyn College, created the first Classical livestreams in 1997, and has recorded the complete Sonatas for Piano by Mozart, the Grammy award winning Piano Concerto by Kenneth Fuchs with the London Symphony, JoAnn Falletta conducting, and the World Premiere of “Rhapsody in Blue” -critical edition- with the Adrian Symphony, Bruce Kiesling conducting. He composed a piano concerto, “Three Reflections: Freedom (JFK), Justice (RBG, Equality (MLK), and has created more than two dozen commissioning projects with living composers in America and abroad. Unable to hear nor speak until age three, Biegel has carved a unique career in classical, pop and jazz music.
About Peter Boyer
Peter Boyer is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His works have received over 600 public performances by more than 200 orchestras, and tens of thousands of broadcasts by classical radio stations around the United States and abroad. He has conducted recordings of his music with three of the world’s finest orchestras: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Boyer’s major work, “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” for actors and orchestra, has become one of the most-performed American orchestral works of the last 15 years, with over 250 performances by more than 100 orchestras since its 2002 premiere.
About the Composer
Born on September 26, 1898, in Brooklyn, New York, George Gershwin dropped out of school and began playing piano professionally at age 15. Within a few years, he was one of the most sought after musicians in America. A composer of jazz, opera and popular songs for stage and screen, many of his works are now standards.Read More ››