Say It With Music! The Charm and Genius of Irving Berlin

Boyer Noontime Concert Series at Paley Library

JohnsonJohn Johnson, pianist, singer, scholar, and entertainer extraordinaire performs songs of Irving Berlin in the continuation of his enormously popular Great American Songwriters Series.

December 4th
12 – 1 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall

Light Refreshments Served.
Bring your lunch.
Bring your friends.
Boyer recital credit given.
Relax. Refresh.Renew.
Irving BerlinIrving Berlin, beloved composer of a huge repertoire of American classics such as Play a Simple Melody, I Love a Piano, Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Christmas, and more!

Sheet music covers of Irving Berlin

“Music is so important. It changes thinking, it influences everybody, whether they know it or not.” –Irving Berlin, 1920, in an interview for American Magazine.

Irving Berlin, born Israel Isidore Baline in Tyumen (Siberia), Russia, 1888, died September 22, 1989, New York City.  When he was four years old, his family fled Russia to escape a pogrom and traveled to the United States where they lived in New York City. There, Berlin attended public school until the age of 13 when his father died. The young Berlin then went to work to help support the family, playing and plugging songs on Broadway and performing vaudeville. He published his first song ‘Marie from Sunny Italy’ in 1907.  In 1911 Berlin published his first big hit ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band.’ His career of over 40 years spanned decades of American popular culture, and his songs reflect changes in that culture. As a result, Berlin’s musical style encompasses a range of styles from vaudeville to Tin Pan Alley, ragtime, sentimental ballads, and patriotic songs.

An extremely prolific composer, Irving Berlin wrote over 1,500 songs, 19 Broadway shows, and wrote scores for 18 Hollywood films.  He was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and in 1942 won the award for best song ‘White Christmas‘. Other awards include multiple Tony Awards, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Selected Broadway Shows and Songs

Watch Your Step (1914) – ‘Play a Simple Melody’
Stop! Look! Listen (1915) – ‘The Girl on the Magazine Cover,’ ‘I Love a Piano’
Yip! Yip! Yaphank (1918) – ‘Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning’
Ziegfeld Follies (1919) – ‘A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody,’ ‘Mandy’
Music Box Review (1921-1924) – ‘Say It With Music,’ ‘Lady of the Evening’
As Thousands Cheer (1933) – ‘Heat Wave,’ ‘Easter Parade,’ ‘Supper Time’
Annie Get Your Gun (1946) – ‘Doin’ What Come Natur’lly’, ‘The Girl That I Marry,’ ‘Anything You Can Do,’ and more.

Selected Songs for Films

Mammy (1929) – ‘Let Me Sing and I’m Happy’
Top Hat (1935) – ‘Cheek to Cheek,’ ‘Top Hat, White Tie and Tails’
Follow the Fleet (1936) – ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’
Holiday Inn (1942) – ‘Happy Holidays,’ ‘White Christmas’
Easter Parade (1948) – ‘Better Luck Next Time,’ ‘Steppin’ Out with My Baby’
White Christmas (1954) – ‘Count your Blessings,’ ‘The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing’

Selected Songs

Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1911)
All By Myself (1921)
All Alone (1924)
Always (1925)
Remember (1925)
Blue Skies (1927)
Puttin’ On the Ritz (1929)
How Deep is the Ocean (1932)
Say It Isn’t So (1932)
God Bless America (1939)

More Information

Bergreen, Laurence. As Thousands Cheer: the Life of Irving Berlin. New York: Viking, 1990. Paley Library ML410.B499B5 1990

Berlin, Irving.” Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 4th ed. Ed. Colin Larkin. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 3 Dec. 2014.<>.

Bordman, Gerald, and Thomas S. Hischak. “Berlin, Irving.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online.Oxford University Press. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)

Furia, Philip and Graham Wood. Irving Berlin: a Life in Song. New York: Schirmer Books, 1998. Paley Library ML410.B499F87 1998

“Irving Berlin.Contemporary Musicians. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale, 1992. Biography in Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)

Jablonski, Edward. Irving Berlin: American Troubadour. New York: Holt, 1999. Paley Library ML410.B499J33 1999

Sears, Benjamin. The Irving Berlin Reader. New York: Oxford U. Press, 2012. Paley Library ML410.B499 I78 2012

Listen to Music by Irving Berlin!

Berlin, Irving. Composers On Broadway: Irving Berlin. Cond. Stanley Black, Hal Mooney, John Mauceri, and Milton Rosenstock. Perf. Various Artists. Rec. 20 June 2006. Decca Records, 2006. Music Online: Classical Music Library. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)

Fitzgerald, Ella, Ted Nash, Chuck Gentry, John Best, Pete Candoli, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Don Fagerquist, William Schaefer, Juan Vincente Martinez Tizol, Julian Clifton “Matty” Matlock, Gene Cipriano, Paul Smith, Barney Kessel, Joe Mondragon, and Alvin Stoller, perfs. The Irving Berlin Songbook. Rec. 10 Apr. 1992. Universal Classics & Jazz, 1992. Music Online: Jazz Music Library. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)

Irving Berlin At The Movies Volume 1. Rec. 30 Nov. 2008. Vanilla OMP, 2008. Music Online: Popular Music Library. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.) 

Irving Berlin At The Movies Volume 2. Rec. 30 Nov. 2008. Vanilla OMP, 2008. Music Online: Popular Music Library. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. (Temple authentication required.)





Got Rhythm? Got Music? Got Gershwin? We do!

Strike up the band sheet music.Funny Face sheet music coverGershwin sheet music cover Delicious

Boyer Noontime Concert Series at Paley

proudly presents

John Johnson and the Great American Songwriters

S’Wonderful! George and Ira Gershwin

Thursday, October 9th
12 – 1 PM
Paley Library Lecture Hall

Light Refreshments Served.

Approved for Boyer Recital Credit.

Bring your lunch. Bring your friends. Relax. Refresh. Renew. Enjoy!

Who could ask for anything more?

John Johnson photo

John Johnson, pianist, singer, entertainer, scholar, and beloved Boyer professor presents songs of George and Ira Gershwin!

The Gershwin Brothers legendary songwriting team epitomize American song of the Jazz Age.  Their collaboration, although short-lived due to George’s untimely death, produced countless American song classics such as “Someone to Watch Over Me”, “Embraceable You”, “Fascinating Rhythm”, “I Got Rhythm”, “Shall We Dance”, “They Can’t Take That Away from Me”, and many more.  George Gershwin blends together elements from ragtime, jazz, classical music, and rhythms from Black American dance to create music that entices, engages, and enchants.  Ira’s genius for witty, ingenious, and sophisticated lyrics combine with his innate understanding of George’s music to provide the perfect musical symbiosis.  Gershwin songs exemplify the Jazz age, yet continue to remain timeless.

 John Johnson, native of Houston, Texas, is currently Professor of Music Theory at Temple University’s Boyer College. With music degrees from the University of Texas, John also studied at the Royal Danish Conservatory, the University of Copenhagen, and the Royal Academy of Music in London.  An extraordinary entertainer, John served as scriptwriter, music director, and lecturer performer around the world.  John has received many awards, including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and Temple University’s  Great Teacher Award, the highest teaching honor offered by the university.

Find Out More About George and Ira Gershwin!
(* needs Temple authentication)

The Gershwin Legacy – from the Library of Congress

George and Ira Gershwin  Website

*Gerald Bordman and Thomas s. Hischak. “Gershwin, Ira.Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.

*”Ira Gershwin.” Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. New York: Schirmer, 2001. Biography in Context.

*Richard Crawford, et al. “Gershwin, George.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.

*”George Gershwin.Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1944. Biography in Context.

*Schiff, David. “Misunderstanding (George) Gershwin: the composer mixed popular and classical idioms like no one before or since, and performers are still baffled.” The Atlantic Oct. 1998: 100-5. Biography in Context.


Gershwin George.  The Music and Lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin.  Peter Foss, ed. Miami, FL: Warner Bros., 1998.  Paley Stacks M1508.G47 M874x 1998

Gershwin, Ira.  Ira Gershwin: Selected Lyrics.  Robert Kimball, ed.  New York: Library of America, 2009.  Paley Stacks ML54.6.G28 I73 2009

Jablonski, Edward. The Gershwin Years. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1973.  Paley Stacks ML410.G288J3 1973

Rosenberg, Deena.  Fascinating Rhythm: the collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin. New York: Dutton, 1991.  Paley Stacks ML419.G288R67 1991

 Printed Music

Gershwin, George.  Of Thee I Sing.  Lyrics by Ira Gershwin.  New York: New World Music Corp., 1932.  Paley Stacks M1503.G376O4x

Gershwin, George.  Porgy and Bess.  Lyrics by Du Bose Heyward and Ira Gershwin.  New York: Gershwin Pub. Corp., 1935.  Paley Stacks M1503.G376P5 1935

Gershwin, George. The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1960.  Paley Stacks M1507.G38 S6 1960

Streaming Audio
(Temple authentication required)

Fascinating Rhythm:  The Songwriting Talents of George & Ira Gershwin.  Includes “Fascinating Rhythm”, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”, “Summertime”, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”, “Someone to Watch Over Me”, “S’Wondreful”, and more!

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book. Includes “My One and Only”, “Beginner’s Luck”, “Lady Be Good”, “The Man I Love”, “Shall We Dance?”, “Funny Face”, and more!

 Gershwin’s World.  Performed by Herbie Hancock, Bakithi Kumalo, Cyro Baptista, James Carter, Terri Lyne Carrington, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett, Joni Mitchell, and more!


An American in Paris [videorecording] by Alan Jay Lerner, George and Ira Gershwin, produced by Arthur Freed, directed by Vincent Minnelli.  Paley Media Services PN1997.A3457x 2008

Funny  Face [videorecording] produced by Roger Edens, directed by Stanley Donen, written by Leonard Gershe, music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin.

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess [videorecording] by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin.   Paley Media Services M1500.G47 P674x 2001

Shall We Dance [videorecording] screenplay by Allan Scott and Ernest Pagano, adaptation by P. J. Wolfson, directed by Mark Sandrich, music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin.

Cool Urban Sophistication… Songs of Cole Porter

De-Lovely couple dancing

Great American Songwriters Series: John Johnson

Urban Sophistication:  Songs of Cole Porter

Paley Library Lecture Hall
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bring your lunch. Bring your friends. Relax. Restore. Renew. Enjoy.
Boyer Recital Credit is given.

Temple University Libraries Noontime Concert Series welcomes you back to Philadelphia with the first of our Noontime Concert Series featuring guest artist John Johnson and “Urban Sophistication: Songs of Cole Porter.”

  photo of John Johnson

John Johnson, pianist, singer, scholar, and entertainer extraordinaire joins us for his “Great American Songwriter” series, sharing with us beautiful melodies, fascinating insights, and inescapable charm! Scriptwriter, performer, and expert in musical theater, John is also a distinguished teacher and lecturer, Professor of Music Theory at the Boyer College. 


Smiling photo of Cole Porter


Cole Porter‘s songs epitomize cool urban sophistication.  Delightful melodies pair with lyrics that are known for clever double-entendres and yet maintain a graceful eloquence.  Join us to hear beautiful, familiar American classics such as:  “Night and Day,” ” Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love),”  “You’re the Top,” ” Anything Goes,” ” I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Too Darn Hot”, “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,”  “I Love Paris,”  “It’s De-Lovely!” and more!


“The light touch, the finger-tip kiss, the double entendre, and the lacy lists of cosmopolitan superlatives – these were the marks of Cole Porter’s songs.”    “Cole Porter was the master of the witty, sophisticated song.”

Find more about Cole Porter at your library!


Citron, Stephen. Noel and Cole: the Sophisticates. london: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992.  Library  Depository ML390.C585x 1992

Eells, Goerge.  The Life that Late He Led.: a Biography of Cole Porter. New York: Putnam, 1967.

McBrien, William. Cole Porter: a Biography. new York: Knopf, 1998. Paley Stacks ML401.P7844 M33 1998

Morella, Joe.  Genius and Lust: the Creative and Sexual Lives of noel Coward and Cole Porter. new York: Carroll & Graf, 1995. Paley Stacks ML390.M77 1995

Schwartz, Charles.  Cole Porter: a Biography. New York: Dial Press, 1977. Paley Stacks ML410.P7844S4

Streaming Audio (Temple users only)

Tribute to Cole Porter performed by Manu Le Prince
Swings Cole Porter performed by anita O’Day, Milt Bernhard, Monty Budwig, and more.
The Jazz Giants Play Cole Porter: Night and Day
It’s De’Lovely – The Music of Cole Porter (1924-1940)


Anything Goes performed by Ethel Merman and Frank Sinatra
High Society performed by Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong
Born to Dance performed by Eleanor Powell, James Stewart, Virginia Bruce
De-Lovely – musical portrait of Cole Porter



Paley Noontime Concert Series!


John Johnson: Great American Songwriters


Creepy Crawly! Charles Abramowic and his studio

Classical Guitar: Allen Krantz and Students







In partnership with the Boyer College, Temple University Libraries again present our Noontime Concert Series at Paley Library.  The concert lineup for this year features outstanding artists. John Johnson, pianist, singer, scholar, and entertainer extraordinaire will present a “Great American Songwriter” series with music by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin.  Returning this fall after their sensational “Springtime in Paris” concerts are Dr. Charles Abramowic and his students, this time featuring piano music by Shostakovich played to early Russian animated films of Ladislaw Starewic.  Alan Krantz, professor of guitar, and his students will share with us their beautiful music in “Classical Guitar: Intimate, Romantic, Cosmopolitan.”  Who could resist?

All concerts take place in the Paley Library Lecture Hall  (ground floor) from noon to 1:00 P.M.   Light refreshments are served.  Boyer recital credit is given.

Begun in Spring 2014, and drawing on the finest talent anywhere, this series provides an informal, enormously fun, and relaxing mid-day diversion.

Bring your lunch. Bring your friends. Relax. Restore. Renew. Enjoy.

Paley Noontime Concert Series Fall 2014

John Johnson:  Great American Songwriters
Cole Porter – Urban Sophistication
Thursday, September 25, 12:00 – 1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall


John Johnson:  Great American Songwriters
George Gershwin: S’wonderful!
Thursday, October 9th, 12:00-1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall


Creepy Crawly!  Early Russian Animated Film and Piano Music of Shostakovich
Dr. Charles Abramowic and his Sensational Students
Thursday, October 30th, 12:00-1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall


guitargrove charango-66899_1280
Classical Guitar: Intimate, Romantic, Cosmopolitan
Alan Krantz and his Students
Wednesday, November 19th, 12:00-1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall



John Johnson: Great American Songwriters
Irving Berlin: Say It With Music!
Thursday, December 4th, 12:00-1:00 P.M.
Paley Library Lecture Hall


Mark your calendars!

Thursday, September 25th
Thursday, October 9th
Thursday, October 30th
Wednesday, November 19th
Thursday, December 4th





Springtime in Paris Comes to Paley Library!

Arthur Rackham's drawing of Undine.

Undine, illustration by Arthur Rackham, from the book Undine by La Motte-Fouqué, Doubleday 1911. This illustration inspired Debussy’s Prelude for Piano of the same name in Book II. Available online at

The Complete Piano Preludes of Claude Debussy

Performed by Dr. Charles Abramovic and his students

Paley Library Lecture Hall

Wednesday, March 26th
Noon – 1:00 PM  Book I

Wednesday, April 2nd
Noon – 1:00 PM  Book II

Bring your lunch!

Light refreshments will be served.




What could be better than Springtime in Paris?  Can’t get to Paris?  Then join us and be transported to a lunchtime Parisian salon as Dr. Charles Abramovic and his studio present Claude Debussy’s Complete Preludes for Piano.

Relax.  Refresh.  Renew.  Enjoy.

New Content in Dance in Video and Opera in Video

Book cover with photos of dancers in action. Alexander street press logo. Book cover depicting a collage of dancers in action.

from Marie Siegel at Alexander Street Press:

We have just added 90 hours of dance performances, documentaries, interviews, and technique videos to our Dance in Video collection. Dance in Video now contains 365 hours of streaming video. New material released includes: – The Finis Jhung ballet technique videos, documenting beginner, intermediate, and advanced techniques in warm-ups, pointe, turning, barre work, jumps, the art of teaching ballet, partnering techniques, control and strength exercises, and more. – George Balanchine Foundation Interpreters Archive and Archive of Lost Choreography videos: coachings with Maria Tallchief, Patricia Wilde, Marie-Jeanne, Allegra Kent, recreations with Alicia Markova, Frederic Franklin, and Maria Tallchief. – Live at Broadway Dance Center instructional material: intermediate and advanced instruction in Latin fusion, isolated flexibility, strength training, improvisation, floorwork, contemporary jazz, partnering, lifts, lyrical jazz, and more. – Dance Pulp interviews with dancers and choreographers, including: Safi Thomas on hip-hop dance, Ted Brandsen on managing the Dutch National Ballet, Tiler Peck on competitions, Trey McIntyre on inspiration, William Wingfield on approaching dance as an artist, and combining the concert and commercial career, Harumi Terayama on discovering contemporary dance, and more. – Documentaries on leading figures and ensembles in dance, including Ruth St. Denis, Movement (R)evolution Africa, Liz Lerman, Lin Hwai-Min, Mura Dehn, Guguletu Ballet, The American Ballet Company, Chuck Davis – Performances by the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan (Cage’s Cursive II), Ki Theatre, and more. You can see a complete list of the new material here:

New Content for Opera in Video! Alexander Street Press added 30 hours of performances and documentaries to Opera in Video. The new content includes:

  • Cardiff Singer of the World competition highlights from 1999 and 2001
  • Recital of arias by Karita Mattila and Dmitri Hvorostovsky
  • Welsh National Opera’s performance of Monteverdi’s Poppea
  • Recital by Angela Gheorghiu at the Royal Opera House
  • Lucia di Lammermoor (Vienna), featuring Katia Ricciarelli and Jose Carreras

You can see a complete list of the new material here:

Opera in Video is now complete with 500 hours of streaming video.

Site See! Stravinsky the Global Dancer

Stravinsky posing in the street with two other men, (linked to larger version).Stravinsky the global dancer
via Bibliolore by RILM on 4/20/11 Stravinsky the global dancer: A chronology of choreography to the music of Igor Stravinsky is a free online database that aims to list all dances choreographed to Stravinsky’s works, with references to about 100 compositions, about 1250 dances, and about 700 choreographers. Compiled by Stephanie Jordan and Larraine Nicholas, it is searchable by title of composition, year of composition, year of choreography, name of choreographer, dance company, and country. Jordan’s “The demons in a database: Interrogating Stravinsky the global dancer” (Dance research XXII/1 [summer 2004] pp. 57–83) presents analyses of findings in the database regarding the distribution of new Stravinsky dance productions over the years, incidence of choreographing the narrative vs. the concert scores, distribution by choreographer, and distribution by country, along with case studies of the choreographic histories of Le sacre du printemps, Apollo, and Agon. Above, the composer in his Ballets Russes days with Serge Diaghilev and Serge Lifar, who originated the role of Apollo. Below, the Houston Ballet performs an excerpt from Balanchine’s choreography for that work.

CFP – International Terezin Music Conference




Call for papers Leeds College of Music is pleased to announce its inaugural International Terezin Music Conference which will take place at the College on the 26th and 27th February 2012. It will also mark the official launch of the Terezin Music Hub. Part of the College’s Postgraduate Studies and Research Centre, the Hub will aim to provide a focal point in the UK for the study of music and musicians interred at the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp during WW2, through creative practice, research and collaboration. Its brief will also encompass related disciplines, including music during the Holocaust in particular, and creativity in adversity in general.

The conference organizers are delighted and privileged to announce that the event will be opened by His Excellency the Ambassador to the Czech Republic, who has also agreed to be Honorary Patron of the Hub. The conference will commemorate the centenary of the birth of Eliska Kleinova (1912-1999), which falls on 27th February. She was the sister of the composer and pianist Gideon Klein, who played such a seminal role in Terezin’s cultural life. Professor Kleinova, herself a Terezin prisoner and Auschwitz survivor, became a greatly respected Prague-based music pedagogue.

A concert on the centenary day will include Klein’s Piano Sonata, written in Terezin, and dedicated to his sister. The conference will be honored by having Michael Beckerman and Murry Sidlin as distinguished keynote speakers. Maestro Sidlin will be conducting a performance of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony in the days following the conference.The main focus of the conference will be on musical performance and composition in Terezin.

Papers, all of which will be presented orally, are invited on these specific aspects. Topics covering other areas of musical performance and composition during the Holocaust will also be considered. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes duration, and the usual audio/visual conference resources, plus piano and internet access, will be available in the main auditorium where papers are to be presented. There will not be any poster sessions. Abstracts of c.350 words, plus a brief biography, should be sent by e-mail to by Friday 16th September, to where informal inquiries can also be made. Decisions will be made by the end of that month.

The conference’s co-ordinator, Dr. David Fligg, will be at the AMS Annual Conference in San Francisco in November, should any potential transatlantic delegates wish to discuss matters in person. He can also be contacted at the e-mail address above. The conference website, with draft programme and booking details, will be available later this summer. In the meantime, to receive updates, send an email with ‘Conference updates’ in the subject line to the e-mail address above, and keep checking the College website at .

Free Classical Music Download!

Alexander Street Press Logo.Book cover depicting musicians playing their instruments.

This week’s featured download from Classical Music Library is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, K. 622, performed by the Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris, Michael Arrignon, soloist. More information about this piece is available on the Music Online blog.All tracks downloaded through this promotion are owned by Alexander Street Press and are available to legally download, free of cost to the user.

For more free music, follow Alexander Street, be sure on Twitter and Facebook.

Update on Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA): Now Available for Free

A recent press release by the Getty announced that the art database, Bibliography of the History (BHA) will now be available free of charge via the J. Paul Getty website. You can read the entire release here. Please note that the content available is only the archive of BHA. The database is currently not being updated. There is a sigh of relief in the art research community over this news. Despite the lack of updated content, BHA remains one of the most useful resources for art historical research.