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University of Michigan plans research on Gershwin music

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Monday, September 16, 2013 - 9:08 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan has entered a partnership with the estates of George and Ira Gershwin to provide music scholars complete access to the Gershwins' papers, compositional drafts and original scores to create a critical edition of their works.

The agreement with university's School of Music, Theatre & Dance will allow the school to create new scores and parts for Gershwin compositions.

"With this project, the University of Michigan celebrates and protects the brilliant contributions of two of America's most legendary artists, while elevating arts scholarship and performance opportunities for faculty and students," school President Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement. The partnership was announced over the weekend.

An educational effort, known as the Gershwin Initiative, also is planned. It will include student performances, new courses and scholarly events.

In addition to "Porgy and Bess," works to be included in the scholarly review include George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," ''An American in Paris," ''Concerto in F" and "Cuban Overture," along with scores that the brothers wrote together for musicals.

"Preserving the legacy and sharing the genius of both George and Ira Gershwin is a primary goal of creating a critical edition of his work," said Marc Gershwin, nephew of George and Ira Gershwin. "The University of Michigan ... will provide an ideal home for this project."

The school said the partnership was initiated by Marc Gershwin's son Todd Gershwin, a University of Michigan alumnus. The project will be overseen by Mark Clague, an associate professor of musicology who will serve as editor-in-chief of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition.