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Dudamel Leads Still, Price, and Gershwin

Sat / June 5, 2021 - 2:00PM


  • STILL Darker America
  • PRICE Piano Concerto in One Movement
  • Intermission
  • GERSHWIN Porgy and Bess selections
Listen to this program's playlist on Spotify

About this Performance

Gustavo Dudamel explores music by three American composers from the early 20th century. Darker America is William Grant Still’s telling of the story of African Americans in 1924 and “[suggests] triumph over sorrows through fervent prayer.” There are hints of Modernist harmonies from his mentor Edgard Varèse, but Still’s blending of blues, folk, and symphonic sounds is distinctly his own. Aaron Diehl, a critically acclaimed jazz pianist, performs Florence Price’s Piano Concerto, which he said offers touches of Brahms and Chopin but ends with a Juba Dance. “She is not afraid to insert her own musical heritage as a black woman into the music,” Diehl told the Voice of OC. 

George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess is hailed by many as the first “Great American Opera,” but it also defies easy categorization. Gershwin blends European opera traditions with Broadway musical sensibilities and African American popular music. Not without controversy and mixed reception, Gershwin’s Porgy has created a lasting cultural impact in both the American art world and popular culture.

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