The universal appeal of the Great American Songbook combines the brilliant complex and lush timeless melodies with sophisticated intelligent and accessible lyrics. Music historians consider The Great American Songbook along with jazz to be the most important contributions made to American music in the 20th Century. It is agreed that Irving Berlin's hit in 1911, Alexander's Ragtime Band in which Berlin syncopated the lyrics, was the start of the songbook, bridging the gap between operetta and modern popular song. Most of these songs were written for Musical theater or film. The Symphony performs works of the masters of the American Songbook including George & Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Johnny Mercer and Oscar Hammerstein. Joining the cast is the incomparable Bobby Nesbitt, singer-pianist, who has traveled the world as a passionate supporter and interpreter, championing The Great American Songbook.