To me, the three most important American musical figures of the 20th century were Gershwin, Bernstein, and Aaron Copland, since they created timeless music of substance that helped to define an entire century.

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Rhapsody in Blue was raw, American music. American music came of age in an instant with that composition that premiered in 1924. Here is how George Gershwin, who was only 25 when he composed the piece, described its creation:

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