Personalities | Jerome Kern | Modern Era | Classical

American composer

Like Gershwin, Kern began his career as a song-plugger (playing new songs to potential customers in a publisher’s showroom) and then gained invaluable experience writing additional or replacement numbers for musicals imported to the US from Europe. In 1915, he formed a partnership with the writer Guy Bolton (soon joined by P. G. Wodehouse as lyricist). Their earliest shows included Very Good Eddie (1915) and Oh, Boy! (1917), culminating in the hugely successful Sally (1920). Kern’s greatest triumph was Show Boat (1927), to a libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II, with whom he also wrote Music in the Air (1932) and, with Otto Harbach, The Cat and the Fiddle (1931) and Roberta (1933). He wrote over 40 musicals, some specifically for Hollywood. His best-known songs include ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’, ‘Ol’ Man River’ and ‘All The Things You Are’.

Recommended Recording:
Show Boat, soloists, London Sinfonietta (cond) John McGlinn (EMI/Warner)

Introduction | Modern Era | Classical
Personalities | Aram Khachaturian | Modern Era | Classical


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