Marvin Hamlisch and pianist Kevin Cole were in town to jazz up the symphony season with two evening performances of Gershwin tunes.

Aside from the listed numbers, Saturday night audiences were treated to many musical and conversational bonuses, beginning with Maestro Hamlisch celebrating someone in the audience from the piano with the “Happy Birthday” tune in the styles of Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and Gershwin. He and the versatile San Diego Symphony then proceeded to acoustically hypnotize concertgoers with the “Overture to Girl Crazy,” “Swanee,” medleys of Gershwin film scores and show tunes, and selections from Porgy and Bess.

The SDSO's Mary Barranger had a sultry turn at the piano with “The 2nd Piano Prelude,” while the fun-loving Hamlisch jived the orchestra into a full-blown jazz fever, highlighted by excitingly demented instrumental solo passages.

Kevin Cole's lively “Rhapsody in Blue” (plus an encore) gave the hall the jitterbug, and his rendition of “Our Love Is Here to Stay” hushed the house. A second grand piano was produced at the end, and the two pianists gave a rousing jam session of “I Got Rhythm.”

  • Concert: An Evening of George Gershwin with Kevin Cole
  • Show date: March 5
  • Venue: Copley Symphony Hall
  • Seat: W38

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