Jerome Kern (1885-1945)




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Jerome Kern is considered the father of the American musical for two reasons:

1) He gave a revolutionary new sound and legitimacy to American theatre music with his series of Princess Theatre musicals[1915-1918];

2) He wrote SHOW BOAT.

Kern’s incomparable melodic gifts made him a towering figure in an age that also boasted Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen and Cole Porter. Kern standards include “Look for the Silver Lining,” “Who?”, “The Night Was Made For Love,” “The Song Is You,” “I’ve Told Every Little Star,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” “Lovely To Look At,” “I’m Old Fashioned,” “All The Things You Are,” and the incomparable score of SHOW BOAT which includes “Make Believe,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man of Mine,” and “Ol’ Man River.”

Both Richard Rodgers and George Gershwin always considered Kern their musical hero and greatest predecessor. Time has born out their shared view that Kern was the one great figure who made the golden age of the American Broadway Musical possible.

Fred Miller’s Lecture on Jerome Kern is a comprehensive overview of this venerable career and can only serve to remind those in attendance of Kern’s permanently secure place among the true giants of American culture.

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.