Cole Porter: His Music, Life, and Wit

USC Thornton School of Music

Nate Sloan is Assistant Professor of Musicology at the USC Thornton School of Music. As a musicologist and performer, his research interests include jazz, Tin Pan Alley, and popular music. Sloan hosts the podcast “Switched on Pop” with songwriter Charlie Harding, which has been recommended by The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian, and provides music analysis for The Economist, NPR, The Atlantic, and The Boston Globe. His book Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters, won the Association of American Publishers’ PROSE award for Music and the Performing Arts.



The Life of Cole Porter

Cole Porter was one of the most witty, sophisticated, and successful composers of the “Golden Age” of American popular song and theater. From the 1920s through the 1940s, he wrote a string of smash Broadway musicals, from Anything Goes to Kiss Me, Kate, and penned dozens of songs that have become modern standards. Today, Porter’s shows are produced around the world, his melodies are performed and recorded by artists like Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, and jazz musicians refashion his tunes into complex and innovative improvisations.

Cole Porter’s Role in American Culture

Porter’s role in American culture is undeniable, and in this talk, we’ll listen deeply to his repertoire to understand the compositional innovations and lyrical verbosity that made his work so timeless. We’ll also uncover the secret life that Porter led as a gay man in a repressive society, and how that secret charged his work and gave his most celebrated compositions a subversive edge.

Learn More About the Life of Cole Porter

Learn more about the life of Cole Porter by checking out our other great musical lectures from our video library.  Sign up for One Day University Membership today for unlimited access to hundreds of talks and online lectures.




5 reviews
5 stars
100 %
4 stars
0 %
3 stars
0 %
2 stars
0 %
1 star
0 %
Michael Groulx

Cole Porter

Perfect!! Learned some things about Cole Porter that I never knew. Regained my appreciation for his talent!

2 years ago
Linda Sikorski

Cole Porter

A very engaging and entertaining hour. The audio choices were perfect and the presentation very interesting. I would be happy to hear more lectures by Nate Sloan.

2 years ago
Jeffrey Watt

Cole Porter

This was a wonderful lecture taking into account Cole Porter’s personality and and current topics in his writing of his songs.

2 years ago
Kim Patridge


2 years ago
Lois Goldhammer

Informative & entertaining

I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation and hope that this professor will do more.

2 years ago
Scroll to Top