Happy Birthday, Cole Porter!

The great Cole Porter was born 124 years ago today in Peru, Indiana. George Gershwin has long been our favorite composer from the Cladrite Era, but we’ve come to appreciate Mr. Porter much more in recent years—so much so that he’s pretty much neck-and-neck with Mr. Gershwin. In any case, there’s certainly room in our world for both (and for so many other great composers of yore).

Here’s to you, Cole, wherever you may be.

Cole Porter quote

Happy 105th to a Suesse Miss!

A version of this post first ran on this day in 2012.

Dana Suesse, whom we hope is celebrating her 105th birthday today, wherever she may be, was a wonderfully talented composer who might fairly be considered the distaff George Gershwin.

Like Gershwin, she wrote memorably lush tunes that were informed by blues and jazz, and she also crossed over to create orchestral works that reflected the same influences.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Suesse toured vaudeville as a child pianist until she moved with her mother to New York City in 1926. There, she studied piano as she began to make her mark as a composer, writing such hits as “You Ought to Be in Pictures” and “My Silent Love.” Eventually, bandleader Paul Whiteman commissioned her to write “Concerto in Three Rhythms,” much as he asked Gershwin to compose “Rhapsody in Blue.”

For the rest of her life, Suesse would traffic in both popular melodies and orchestral works. She continued to work right up until the time of her death in 1987.

A Gershwin Debut, Revisited

Did you ever wish you could be there for the first performance of an iconic work—say, the debut of George Gershwin‘s “Rhapsody in Blue” as performed by Paul Whiteman‘s orchestra on February 12, 1924, at NYC’s Aeolian Hall on West 43rd Street?

Well, we don’t have a time machine to lend you, but here’s the next best thing. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, masters of the sounds of the 1920s and ’30s, are recreating that historic concert in collaboration with conductor Maurice Peress and pianists Ted Rosenthal and Jeb Patten.

Town Hall, which sits on that selfsame block of 43rd Street, is hosting this historic event on February 12th—ninety years to the night after the original concert.

It’s hard to imagine an event that might be considered more of a “don’t-miss.” Get your tickets now!

Happy 103rd to a Suesse Miss!

Dana Suesse, whom we hope is celebrating her 103rd birthday today, wherever she may be, was a wonderfully talented composer who might fairly be considered the distaff George Gershwin.

Like Gershwin, she wrote memorably lush tunes that were informed by blues and jazz, and she also crossed over to create orchestral works that reflected the same influences.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Suesse toured vaudeville as a child pianist until she moved with her mother to New York City in 1926. There, she studied piano as she began to make her mark as a composer, writing such hits as “You Ought to Be in Pictures” and “My Silent Love.” [CORRECTED] Eventually, bandleader Paul Whiteman commissioned her to write “Concerto in Three Rhythms,” much as he asked Gershwin to compose “Rhapsody in Blue.”

For the rest of her life, Suesse would traffic in both popular melodies and orchestral works. She continued to work right up until the time of her death in 1987.

We’ll be loving you, always

Today marks the 124nd anniversary of the birth of the great Irving Berlin. One of history’s great tunesmiths, Berlin wrote more than hundreds of songs, 19 musicals and the scores of 18 movies over the course of his lengthy career.

“[Berlin is] the greatest songwriter that has ever lived.”George Gershwin

“Irving Berlin has no place in American music—he is American music.”Jerome Kern

Here are some of our favorite Irving Berlin songs:

“What’ll I Do?”The Nat “King” Cole Trio

“Say It Isn’t So”Annette Hanshaw

“Marie”Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra

“Puttin’ on the Ritz”Leo Reisman and His Orchestra