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Gershwin and Me. Virtuoso pianist Simon Tedeschi at the Chatswood Concourse - Janne Seletto

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23/05/2013

Simon tedeschi

Simon Tedeschi and George Gershwin. They are centuries and continents apart, but their stories align. And musically, they're a team.

The dream team played The Concourse Concert Hall last week.

Gershwin - genius composer who gave us Summertime and Rhapsody in Blue - was born in Brooklyn in 1898. His Jewish parents had come to New York from Russia a few years before.

Tedeschi's grandparents were Holocaust survivors from Poland. His grandmother Lucy Gershwin, is believed to be distantly related to George. "My family could have ended up at Ellis Island," Tedeschi said. "Instead they came to Circular Quay".

The shared history is impressive but really, it's all about the talent.

Gershwin's brilliance is in his gorgeous melodies. And his ability to splice jazz, classical and popular styles into something compelling and new.

Tedeschi's is because he's a piano-playing wizard.

His mastery of the keyboard was clear from the very first note. Gershwin's Preludes, The Man I Love, Oh, Lady Be Good! and I Got Rhythm were all terrific, but for me the highlight was the final number - Rhapsody in Blue.

I played the piano as a kid and I know just how hard this piece is. It's twenty minutes of runs, counter-rhythms and fat chords - nothing repeats and nothing's easy.

For Tedeschi though, it was fun. He plays it the way it's supposed to be - fast, frothy, exuberant, stately - all these things. He's good enough to dance through the shimmer and shine and reveal - at the heart of the composition - the perfection of the melody line. Beautiful as a new moon in a midnight sky.

It's a hard act to follow, but soprano Taryn Fiebig is going to try. The Opera Australia star will join internationally-acclaimed flautist Jane Rutter for next month's Live at Lunch offering. PS I Love You, billed "the most romantic concert of the year", will be in The Concourse Concert Hall at 12.30pm on Wednesday June 19.

Details at theconcourse.com.au

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