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Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue played by the New York Philharmonic and conducted by Leonard Bernstein in the Royal Albert Hall in London, England; 1976.

George Gershwin, an Ashkenazi Jewish-American with Russian and Ukrainian roots, was born on this day in history - September 26, 1898 - in Brooklyn, New York.  His last name was originally Gershwine - which came from Gershowitz, though he would change it to Gershwin after he became a professional musician.  George Gershwin started piano lessons at the age of 10 and would compose his first song by the age of 15.  George Gershwin was also heavily influenced by the Yiddish theatre scene as he grew up in the Yiddish theatre district.  He would often go to shows and would occasionally appear onstage as an extra.

Gershwin’s first commercial success with music was Rialto Ripples in 1917, followed by Swanee in 1919.  Gershwin would compose hundreds of short pieces for various theatres and artists.  His first orchestral piece, Rhapsody in Blue (see the video above), became his most well-known and is enjoyed even today.  

Although Gershwin had mostly focused on jazz, he also composed operas.  His first opera was Blue Monday and focused on the jazz culture of African Americans living in Harlem.  He also wrote and directed the opera Porgy and Bess (the movie adaptation can be watched here; English with Spanish subtitles); which was a ground-breaking work with an entire cast of African Americans and considered the first great American opera.  Unfortunately, Porgy and Bess was released in 1935; at the height of the Great Depression.  As a result, it was a failure.  Gershwin would pass away in 1937 while being operated on for a brain tumor.  His legacy continues through his music, which has enriched the American music scene ever since.


John le Carré’s novel, The Night Manager, was a runaway ratings winner from the start. It was the first television adaptation of one of his novels in 20 years and brought together love, loss and revenge in a gripping story of modern criminality. 

Nominated for 12 Primetime Emmys, it has been one of the most talked about series of the year and close to 10m viewers watched the finale on the BBC. Press reaction was overwhelmingly positive in both broadsheets and tabloids, and viewers were glued to their seats on Sunday nights.

This session, richly illustrated with clips, will tell the inside story of how the book was transformed into the series that had the nation talking. 

The panel, chaired by Heat magazine’s Boyd Hilton, will include director Susanne Bier, who won an Emmy for the show, writer David Farr, and Simon Cornwell, Executive Producer and Co-CEO, The Ink Factory, wih a special guest still to be announced.

This is happening in London on October the 10th. One more of those nice things I won’t ever be able to do, but those of you London-based could and should…

My latest miniature painting for the exhibition of the Royal Miniature Art Society in London next month. It’s finally finished!! I was catching up with ‘Highlights of the Northern Light season’ on @bbcradio3 while painting, which seemed very appropriate. This one will probably be the last miniature for this year, I have neglected quite a few commissions and clients over this one, simply because I got too carried away….it took - as usual - much longer than I expected.