George Gershwin´s legacy transcends that of nearly any other musical figure in the twentieth century. Beginning in his teens, the energetic prodigy moved with an unparalleled versatility and speed through the worlds of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway & Hollywood, classical music, blues, jazz and ultimately grand opera.
At the time of his sudden, premature death in 1937 at the age of 38, George Gershwin had revolutionized American music, leaving a popular song catalogue of immortal standards(“I Got Rhythm,” “Swanee,” “Embraceable You,” “Our Love Is Here To Stay,” “A Foggy Day In London Town,” “They Can´t Take That Away From Me”), the symphonic masterworks “RHAPSODY IN BLUE” and “AN AMERICAN IN PARIS;” and the greatest of American operas, PORGY & BESS.
Bookish lyricist Ira Gershwin was less flamboyant than his glamorous, outgoing brother; but he is considered in all quarters to be one of the great American lyricists. After his brother´s death, Ira continued to turn out standards in collaboration with such giants as Jerome Kern(“Long Ago And Far Away”), Kurt Weill(LADY IN THE DARK) and Harold Arlen(“The Man That Got Away”).
The magic of the Gershwin name reflects unsurpassed achievement, predominantly that of the fabled younger brother George, perhaps the one authentic genius in an Age awash in mere talent.
If you would like to engage Fred Miller for one of his Lectures-in-Song, please contact him directly at any time. For a full listing of all Lectures, click here.
Fred Miller’s Lectures-In-Song comprise a series of solo programs, each an historical, anecdotal and musical profile of some great personality or important aspect of American Popular Song. These Lectures are delivered by singer/pianist/narrator Miller at the piano, and each reflects his lifetime passion and appreciation for great music. He studied classical piano in his hometown of Albuquerque from ages 7-15 but early on gave up any notion of music as a profession. At that time, Fred assumed a musical career was either one devoted to the rigid discipline of classical music or being a freewheeling rock star, and he accurately decided he had no aptitude for either. However, at age 22, upon hearing Ella Fitzgerald sing Cole Porter, he found his calling and life’s mission.
Through the Seventies and Eighties, Miller studied and absorbed in minute detail the life and times and songs of nearly all the great American composers and lyricists who thrived during Broadway & Hollywood’s Golden Age between the two World Wars. In 1987, he founded Silver Dollar Productions in order to produce operettas, dramas, musicals and small cabarets. Silver Dollar Productions required ensemble casts, props, costumes and, most significantly, the challenges of publicity and selling tickets, and for a dozen busy years, the company presented an unbroken string of varied and highly lauded performances.
In 1999, Miller was simultaneously underwritten by both his local Hunterdon County Library and the Art Alliance of Philadelphia to present a series of six solo Lectures-In-Song, each devoted to one of the premiere Broadway/Hollywood songwriters: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.
In presenting history, biography and psychology while sitting at a piano singing the superlative songs of his heroes, Miller has found a single performing medium that utilizes most of his intellectual and musical passions.The list of Lectures-In-Song that began with six in 1999 is now more than seventy(and growing!), a joyful tribute to the boundlessly rich field of American Popular Song.