Ask the Virtuoso


Joshua Bell and Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Joshua Bell and Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Q: Are composers like George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein considered classical, jazz, or something else? (Amanda Soliz, Richmond, VA)

A: "They're not really sure where to put him and then how to accept him and if and if he really is, you know, so- so- serious classical composer or if he's just jazz or Broadway. I mean he just, I think it's completely irrelevant; he was just a great musician, a great composer. You don't have to call his music 'classical' or 'jazz', it's Gershwin." (Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet)

"George Gershwin is great as any of the great classical composers, and I see him as being in that line even though he had the Jazz background, and some people try to claim him as a Jazz composer. But his "Porgy and Bess" is as great as any opera. And same with Leonard Bernstein. His "West Side Story", which some think of as a Broadway show, is as great as any opera that I know, and I don't think of it as crossover. To me, it has much more in common with Beethoven and Mozart than does a lot of modern classical music that's called classical that I can't make head or tail of." (Violinist Joshua Bell)

Do you have a question for a virtuoso? Email us a question at:


Ask the Virtuoso Archive


All Virtuoso Voices Written and Audio content is copyright of LDP, Inc. © 2010 All rights reserved. Design