American Heroes

Gershwin and Copland, in Geelong


Due to the extended closure of our performance venues we regret that this concert will not proceed.

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Gemma New conductor
Simon Tedeschi piano


Salina Fisher Rainphase
Gershwin Concerto in F
Copland Symphony No.3

About the performance

Jazz, blues and the American century.

Young New Zealand conductor Gemma New makes her MSO debut with a stunning collection of American greats.

It was one day after the raging success of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue that he was approached to write a “real piano concerto”, something closer to the traditional classical model and orchestrated by the composer himself. Rather than turn his back on the then current musical forms, Gershwin decided to incorporate them. The result was Concerto in F, a work that ranges effortlessly over different musical structures, to create something truly wonderful and unique. Australian pianist Simon Tedeschi joins the MSO for this performance.

There are suggestions of the Charleston, ragtime, jazz and blues throughout the work, and flexibility in the way these elements emerge from one another. Unsurprising from the composer of Porgy and Bess, which refused to conform to set notions of opera or musical theatre, and An American in Paris, which is as much a ballet and a musical. The Concerto in F is likewise a masterful, consummate fusion.

Accompanying this work is Copland’s Symphony No.3, another pillar of 20th century American composition. A grand and stirring work, composed between 1944 and 1946, it suggests the mammoth achievements of the United States at the close of WWII without a hint of triumphalism.

New Zealand conductor Gemma New brings with her a work by fellow New Zealander Salina Fisher, Rainphase. Inspired by the rain falling on the city of Wellington, it is sonically adventurous and beautifully evocative.

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