Pardon My English

Pardon My English -November 29 , 2009

a brief description
“True music must repeat the thought and inspirations of the people and the time. My people are Americans and my time is today.”
- George Gershwin

George Gershwin, 1936

George Gershwin, 1936

Harry Clark created a new portrait for the 2006-2007 season, about the relationship between the brothers Gershwin, from the perspective of his beloved Ira.

George Gershwin (1898-1937) is the most famous American composer. With Ira at his side, the two revolutionized popular music and created masterpieces that defy the easy popular/classical paradigm. This portrait tells of the brothers’ extraordinary rise and success in the first decades of the 20th century and provides an intimate glimpse into their personal and professional relationship.

The orchestral version of this portrait received its world premier in 2007 by Orchestra New England and Maestro James Sinclair, who commissioned the work.

The show will be repeated in January 2010 in Alamos (Mexico), and the Chandler Center for the Performing Arts.

About the music

The music is exclusively by George Gershwin for piano solo and piano and voice.


Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo

Chamber Music PLUS is thrilled to welcome back Robert Picardo. He originated the role of Ira Gershwin in the orchestral version @ Battel Chappel in New Haven Connecticut, in the world premiere performence with Orchestra New England.

Yale alumnus, Robert Picardo made his off-Broadway debut in David Mamet’s one-act play Sexual Perversity in Chicago. That was in 1975; two years later, Picardo was first seen on Broadway in Gemini. He launched his TV career in the 1980 miniseries The Dream Merchants, and in 1981 made his first film, The Howling–one of several assignments for director Joe Dante. During his early TV years, he was all too often cast in “first husband” or “wrong boyfriend” supporting roles.
Things improved in 1986, when he was hired to play the much-feared high school gym teacher Coach Cutlip in the weekly dramedy The Wonder Years. He went on to co-star as Dr. Dick Richard in the highly acclaimed Vietnam-era series China Beach (1989-91).

A busy voice over artist, Picardo has supplied a variety of vocal characterizations for such series as Dinosaurs and Batman. Undoubtedly you’ll be reading even more about Robert Picardo in the future, by virtue of his being cast as the holographic Doc Zimmerman on TV’s Star Trek: Voyager. Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide.

Jeff Haskell

Jeff Haskell

Joining Robert Picardo are pianist Jeff Haskell and vocalist Katherine Byrnes
Haskell’s professional credentials are as varied and vast as his musical talent.

He began his jazz career as a scat-singing boy soprano in Philadelphia. At age 12, he sang and played saxophone professionally, adding the organ a year later. Soon thereafter, Haskell immersed himself in jazz studies with pianist Ray Smythe and organist Jackie Davis, and at age 16, was jamming with saxophonist Lew Tabackin.

The first winner of the first American Collegiate jazz festival (Villanova), Haskell soon went on to play in Europe with flute great Jeremy Steig and trumpet legend Chet Baker.

Haskell has won three Los Angeles Emmy Awards for his work on the much celebrated children’s TV program, “Dusty’s Treehouse”, and critics praised his theme and underscore for the “IT Show” for ABC, for which he received a Los Angeles Emmy nomination. Some of his recent Hollywood music include arrangements on two Linda Ronstadt albums, cues for “Dudley Do-Right” and “Fight Club”. Locally, you can hear his work every half-hour in the 4-note station ID for KUAT-TV.

“Pastiche Americana”, a composition written for chorus and orchestra, was performed by The Little Orchestra in Lincoln Center. His “Concerto for Jazz Band and Orchestra” debuted with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. And he conducted the world premiere of Billy Taylor’s suite for jazz trio and big band, “Fiesta In Tucson”.

He may be the only person ever hired by the Tucson Symphony in the roles of pianist/conductor, arranger/orchestrator, and vocalist (tenor).

Katherine Byrnes

Katherine Byrnes

Katherine Byrnes George is returning to the University of Arizona to finish her degree in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in Jazz Studies. During her time off school, Katherine lived in and performed around New York City as a jazz singer. While performing in NYC, Katherine got the opportunity to work with many amazing artists including Bob Kindred, Anne Phillips, John Hart, Mickey Leonard, and more. No less incredible are the local musicians who she is blessed to be singing with again including Jeff Haskell, Martin Patfield, Tom Ervin, Scott Black, and many others. Reminiscent of the big band singers of the thirties, Katherine brings an enthusiasm and style to jazz all her own.