What do George Gershwin, William Grant Still and Sergei
Rachmaninoff have in common? You would never guess, but at some point they were almost neighbors. All three lived in Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s, working on some of their greatest music. Gershwin compiled his suite from Porgy and Bess here called Catfish Row. William Grant Still’s masterful Afro-American Symphony was written just a few years prior to that. Both compositions incorporate a banjo into the classical symphony orchestra and burst with life and energy. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.3 was premiered in New York City in 1909. With its fiendishly difficult technique and its lush melodic writing, the concerto is one of the great achievements of the repertoire.