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Music and Modernity: American Popular Song from the 1920s-40s
March 7 @ 2:00 pm
Michael Lasser, Music Scholar
Cindy Miller and Alan Jones, Musicians
The songwriters of Tin Pan Alley and Broadway borrowed from ragtime and jazz to make a new, distinctively American popular music. Irving Berlin, raised in poverty on the Lower East Side, was working as a singing waiter in a tough joint in Chinatown when he wrote his first song. George Gershwin was a teenager who used to sneak into Harlem rent parties to hear the piano players “stride” across the keys. Richard Rodgers, the son of a doctor, went to Columbia not to get an education but to compose music for the annual musicals written and performed by students. They translated the clamor of the city into a new modern music that was essentially and distinctively American. Before long, much of the world was singing it.
During this lively lecture/performance, music scholar Michael Lasser and musicians Cindy Miller and Alan Jones combine singing, stories, and a bit of history that will give audiences a musical appreciation for the artists and artworks included in the exhibition From Homer to Hopper.