Composer Peter Boyer. Photo by Dario Acosta.

In last Monday’s (2/26) Illinois Public Media, Katie Buzard writes, “February 12, 2024, marked the hundredth anniversary of the premiere of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. To celebrate the centenary, pianist Jeffrey Biegel commissioned a companion piece from Grammy-nominated composer Peter Boyer…. Though Boyer was initially hesitant to compose something that would be performed alongside and draw comparisons to such an iconic piece of music, he accepted, inspired by Biegel’s indefatigable work ethic and can-do attitude. Biegel premiered Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue on June 30, 2023, with the Utah Symphony and later recorded the work for the Naxos label with the London Symphony Orchestra and Boyer conducting…. Biegel [will] perform Rhapsody in Red, White & Blue with at least one orchestra in all 50 states over the next three years at no cost to the orchestras … Boyer had to decide how much he would tip his hat to the reference material while creating a piece that would stand on its own. ‘I had to figure out how can I, as a 21st-century composer, do what Gershwin did, which is to reflect this American energy and optimism, and how can I do it in my own language and put that into my own piece.’ ”