We reported earlier the death of tonal US composer Nancy Bloomer Deussen, aged 88.
Readers have since pointed out that she had pedigree.
Nancy’s mother, Julia Van Norman, was a close friend of George Gershwin’s. Joan Peyser, in her disputed 1993 biography of Gershwin, claimed that George fathered an illegitimate daughter with Van Norman.
Nancy strongly believed this was the case, and she was the daughter.
Howard Pollack, in his 2007 biography, claims that Van Norman was so overwhelmed by Gershwin’s death in July 1937 that she suffered a psychotic breakdown and spent much of the rest of her life institutionalised, until her death in 1997.
In a 2002 interview Nancy said: I can tell you that my mother and George were exceptionally close, and that there’s a correspondence in the Library of Congress between my mother and George Gershwin, as part of the Gershwin Archives.
ALBURGER: Your mother’s name?
DEUSSEN: Julia Van Norman. But, as far as I’m concerned, it’s nothing that I ever want to try to use to promote myself in any way. I am who I am.