Rhapsody in Blue is an iconic piece of American music history. Composed by George Gershwin, this groundbreaking work emerged as a great example of the fusion of classical and jazz music. As we commemorate its 100th anniversary, let’s look back at how it all started and the impact this piece has had on classical and popular music.

On November 1, 1923, George Gershwin was asked to compose a jazz concerto by past collaborator and bandleader Paul Whiteman, but George declined, believing he did not have time to compose the work before the intended premiere the following February. On January 3, 1924, George Gershwin's brother Ira noticed an article in the New York Tribune stating George was working on a jazz concerto for the same concert he had earlier declined to participate in. Confused by this information, Gershwin was eventually persuaded by Whiteman to write the concerto for the concert, though the timeline was now even shorter than the original proposal. Rhapsody in Blue premiered on February 12, 1924, at New York’s Aeolian Hall, instantly captivating audiences. The groundbreaking composition combined classical music and jazz as no one had seen before. 

 Rhapsody in Blue became a symbol of the roaring twenties’ spirit of innovation and culture. The combination of classical and jazz musical elements helped legitimize the latter as an art form, bringing the music from the streets into the concert hall. It also paved the way for artists to combine traditional music with other popular music styles. Countless musicians and composers have drawn inspiration from its unique style. The influence of this piece can still be heard in various genres of music to this day.  

 As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of Rhapsody in Blue, we pay tribute to George Gershwin’s genius and celebrate the enduring impact of this composition. The timeless musical masterpiece not only captivated audiences a century ago but continues to do so today. Rhapsody in Blue created a legacy that will undoubtedly inspire for years to come and remind us that music is a language that unites us all.