Dancing with Gershwin
Set to Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous Piano Concerto No. 2, Ballet Imperial evokes images of Russia’s bygone era with a technically demanding display of classical technique.
In striking contrast, Agon strips away elaborate costumes and scenery in exchange for a minimalist masterpiece complete with friend and collaborator Igor Stravinsky’s avant-garde score.
George Gershwin’s quintessentially jazzy and playful tunes serve as the backdrop for Who Cares?, a high-spirited celebration of the hustle and bustle of city life.
Ballet Imperial – 0:38
Intermission – 0:15
Agon – 0:27
Intermission – 0:15
Who Cares – 0:46
Performances By Date
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It is difficult to overstate the depth and breadth of the artistry and influence of choreographer, George Balanchine. Called the ‘Father of American Ballet,’ he combined a reverence for the classical training he received as a boy in St. Petersburg with ferocious originality and commitment to modernism. He and his many brilliant collaborators, including Sergei Diaghilev, Igor Stravinsky, Georges Rouault, and Karinska, among many, many others, transformed ballet into a 20th century artform. Balanchine’s influence as a teacher is every bit as paradigm-changing as the repertoire he created. When our own founder, Barbara Weisberger (herself a protégée of Balanchine) conceived of Philadelphia Ballet, Balanchine insisted, “But first, a school.”
The music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky constitutes one of the pillars of the orchestral repertoire and the very foundation of classical ballet. Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable melodies, inventive harmonies, and ground-breaking orchestrations make his music both loveable and eternal. Ballet audiences are fortunate to hear not only the works he intended for dance, such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, but also a wide variety of orchestral pieces that have been choreographed by great dance-makers, such as George Balanchine.
George Gershwin was amongst one of the most significant and popular music composers for Broadway musicals. He wrote music for both Broadway and classical pieces that connected him to the wider public. With a major influence of jazz standards, Gershwin wrote compositions for films and for televisions. He was a man with a magnetic personality who approached every assignment with equal vigor and enthusiasm. Gershwin was often cited for his genius in melody and harmony and he was amongst the few great composers to make a lasting impression in classical music.
Igor Stravinsky (June 17, 1882- April 6, 1971) was a Russian-born composer whose work had a revolutionary impact on musical thought and sensibility just before and after World War I, and whose compositions remained a touchstone of modernism for much of his long working life. He was honored with the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal in 1954 and the Wihuri Sibelius Prize in 1963.