Canadian Eva Gauthier was one of the most prominent singers of the first half of the 20th century. In 1923, she made history when she included six jazz pieces in a concert of classical music at New York’s Aeolian Hall. The audience was stunned to have modern composers like George Gershwin listed on the same bill as Debussy, Stravinsky and Ravel. The mezzo-soprano’s accompanist was George Gershwin, and she’s largely given credit for launching his career that night.
One month after that historic concert, Miss Gauthier brought her controversial repertoire to Fargo. The following day, the headline read, “Eva Gauthier’s Program Sets Whole Town Buzzing: Many People Are of Two Minds Regarding Jazz Numbers – Some Reluctantly Admit That They Like Them – Others Keep Silent or Condemn Them.”