program notes by composition > G > George Washington Bridge

George Washington Bridge

William Schuman

George Washington Bridge was written in 1950. The composer wrote:

“There are few days in the year when I do not see George Washington Bridge. I pass it on my way to work as I drive along the Henry Hudson Parkway on the New York shore. Ever since my student days when I watched the progress of its construction, this bridge has had for me an almost human personality, and this personality is astonishingly varied, assuming different moods depending on the time of day or night, the weather, the traffic and, of course, my own mood...”

“I have walked across it late at night when it was shrouded in fog, and during the brilliant sunshine hours of midday. I have driven over it countless times and passed under it on boats. Coming to New York City by air, sometimes I have been lucky enough to fly right over it. It is difficult to imagine a more gracious welcome or dramatic entry to the great metropolis.”

William Schuman (1910–1992) dropped out of business school to pursue composition after hearing the New York Philharmonic for the first time. He won the inaugural Pulitzer prize for music in 1943. He was president of the Juilliard School and first director of Lincoln Center, all the while active as a composer.

Last updated on March 13, 2018 by Palatine Concert Band