Irving Berlin’s Life and Music


3:10 PM – 4:50 PM

3/11, 3/18, 3/25, 4/1, 4/8, 4/15

Irving Berlin’s long life and huge musical output covered a century of American history. We think of Berlin as a great “tunesmith.” From Alexander’s Ragtime Band, which launched his career as one of Tin Pan Alley’s brightest stars, to God Bless America, Easter Parade and White Christmas, Irving Berlin managed to write some 1500 songs. And, like Cole Porter, he also wrote his own lyrics! As Jerome Kern said about America’s most prolific, all-time favorite songwriter, “Irving Berlin IS American Music.” Dr. Joe tells us fascinating stories and reviews the lyrics of many of Berlin’s greatest songs, and then plays them for us on a piano keyboard in his own creative style.


Facilitator: Joe Utterback

Joe Utterback earned his MA in Piano Performance from Wichita State University and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Kansas. He has written a total of 450 published jazz and classical compositions. Dr. Joe has been Music Director and organist of the First Congregational Church of Stratford for the past 23 years and has been teaching music at Sacred Heart University for 28 years. He has taught for 15 years at LLI and he continues to perform throughout the U.S. and around the world.