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Vernon Duke

Vladimir Dukelsky

Composer, Poet, Author, Lyricist

(1903 - 1969)

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Performance of Duke's tunes at n...


On Broadway at ibdb.com
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Collection at memory.loc.gov/
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CD honoring Duke's centennial at...
Vernon Duke was Russian-born as Vladimir Dukelsky, a name he continued to use for his classical compositions and poetry. He began musical studies at the Kiev Conservatory, but the Bolshevik Revolution forced his family, with connections to Russian nobility, to flee to Turkey in 1920.

In 1921 he came to American where he met George Gershwin who suggested his pen name. He was commissioned in 1924 to write a ballet in Paris, and from there he traveled to London where he wrote successfully for the stage. He returned to the U.S. in 1929 and worked on his first Broadway musical, Garrick Gaities (1930), with Yip Harburg and Ira Gershwin.

In 1932 he wrote his first Broadway score for a Beatrice Lillie revue, Walk a Little Faster, which introduced his first hit, “April in Paris,” penned with Harburg. In 1934 he wrote the music and lyrics for “Autumn in New York” for Thumbs Up and collaborated on “What Is There To Say” and “I Like the Likes of You” with Harburg for Ziegfeld Follies of 1934. With Ira Gershwin he wrote “I Can’t Get Started” and “An Island in the West Indies” for Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.

When George Gershwin died suddenly in 1937, Duke completed the film score for The Goldwyn Follies with Ira. In 1940 he scored Cabin in the Sky starring Ethel Waters, whose show-stopping “Taking a Chance On Love” had lyrics by John La Touche and Ted Fetter.

After serving in the Coast Guard in WWII he returned to Broadway and collaborated with Ogden Nash on Two’s Company, starring Bette Davis. During all this time Duke, a prolific writer, continued to compose concertos, symphonies and ballets, wrote his memoir in 1960, and in 1962 published his first book of poetry.

- Sandra Burlingame

I Can't Get Started

Bunny Berigan and His Orchestra

Autumn in New York

Chet Baker

What Is There to Say?

Gerry Mulligan

Taking a Chance on Love

Jane Monheit

Love Nest/All Over the Place

The Hi-Lo's (Includes "Autumn in New York" and "An Island in the West Indies")

Dawn Upshaw Sings Vernon Duke

Dawn Upshaw, Drew Gress, Tom Rainey, Eric Stern, John Manasse, Richard Rodney Bennett

April in Paris

Count Basie Orchestra
Reading and Viewing

At Amazon.com you can often buy used for a fraction of the new price

Vernon Duke

Listen Here

Astor-Honor Inc

Adolphe Menjou, Andrea Leeds

The Goldwyn Follies (1938)


Ethel Waters, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong

Cabin in the Sky (1943)


Doris Day, Ray Bolger, Claude Dauphin, Eve Miller

April in Paris

Warner Home Video


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