George Gershwin (1898-1937) composed works such as Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris that draw audiences to orchestra concerts around the world. His songs, including ¿Fascinating Rhythm¿ and ¿They Can¿t Take That Away from Me,¿ are favorites of singers, jazz musicians, and casual whistlers alike. He straddled the divide between classical and popular music like no one before him. He also blazed a trail as the first American composer who could be called a celebrity: his rags-to-riches story, friendships with movie stars, glamorous bachelor lifestyle, and shocking death from a brain tumor before age 40 have all contributed to a fascination with Gershwin that goes well beyond rhythm. In this first-year seminar, students explore Gershwin from various angles: as a celebrity, a songwriter, and a target of criticism. By finding and looking at primary and secondary sources, listening closely to music, and considering the social and cultural contexts in which Gershwin lived (and in which his music and memory live on), students will gain insights about music, history, biography, and culture, while also continuing to develop as researchers, communicators, and critical thinkers. Affiliate school: School of Music.
Prerequisites: SSI2 enrollment requires completion of SSI1 seminar