Gershwin’s Lullaby: A Tender and Enduring Harmony Exercise

The 21-year-old George Gershwin composed the Lullaby for String Quartet in 1919 as a harmony exercise for his teacher, Edward Kilenyi. The effortless melody was so remarkable that it circulated among Gershwin’s friends and was performed frequently at gatherings. Gershwin later reused the melody in his 1922 one-act “jazz opera,” Blue Monday, for the aria, “Has one of you seen my Joe?”

Lullaby begins with the ethereal tones of the first violin’s harmonics. The violin introduces a gentle, rocking rhythm which is picked up by the cello. A tender, velvety blanket of sound emerges from the muted stings. Dreamy and plaintive, Gershwin’s Lullaby is filled with echoes of the blues and the impressionistic harmonies of Claude Debussy. 

This performance features Leonard Slatkin and the string section of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra:

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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