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Classical 101

Benny Goodman's Classical Side

The first thing that comes to mind when Benny Goodmans name is mentioned is his amazing Swing legacy. But no conversation about the "King of Swing" is complete without also discussing his Classical side. His first training was in classical music. Although his career and legacy are rooted in jazz, classical music was near and dear to him. You may have heard Aaron Copland's Clarinet Concerto. Interestingly, it was written for Goodman, though he did not get to premiere it. Listening to the concerto, it's easy to hear how it was written with Goodman's sound and abilities in mind. Here is a performance (broken into two parts) of Goodman performing Copland's Clarinet Concerto with the LA Philharmonic; Aaron Copland conducts. Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1za5qebqqo Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1XEYODmy0A&feature=related Goodman also commissioned music from Bela Bartok (Contrasts), Morton Gould (Benny's Gig) and many others. In 2009, for the centenary of Goodman's birth, Yale University School of Music did a week-long celebration of his career. WNYC's Leonard Lopate spoke with clarinetist and Yale professor David Shifrin about Goodman in a program called The Classical Legacy of Benny Goodman. NPR listed his iconic Sing, Sing, Sing as one of the 20th century's 100 most important pieces of music. André Previn narrated a 1982 special called Benny Goodman's Remarkable Life, which chronicles a bit of the amazing career of the "King of Swing." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMk29jmiMc0