A biography of george gershwin the best known composer of orchestral compositions

Jump to navigation A biography of george gershwin the best known composer of orchestral compositions to search This article is about the American composer.

American composer and pianist whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. Gershwin studied piano under Charles Hambitzer and composition with A biography of george gershwin the best known composer of orchestral compositions Goldmark, Henry Cowell, and Joseph Brody. Gershwin moved to Hollywood and composed numerous film scores until his death in 1937 from a malignant brain tumor. His compositions have been adapted for use in films and television, and several became jazz standards recorded and covered in many variations. Gershwin was of Russian Jewish and Lithuanian Jewish ancestry. On September 26, 1898, George was born as second son to Morris and Rose Bruskin Gershwine in their second-floor apartment on Brooklyn’s Snediker Avenue.

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His birth certificate identifies him as Jacob Gershwine, with the surname pronounced ‘Gersh-vin’ in the Russian and Yiddish immigrant community. He had just one given name, contrary to the American practice of giving children both a first and middle name. He was named after his grandfather, a one time Russian army mechanic. The family lived in many different residences, as their father changed dwellings with each new enterprise in which he became involved. Mostly, they grew up around the Yiddish Theater District.

George and Ira frequented the local Yiddish theaters, with George occasionally appearing onstage as an extra. George lived a usual childhood existence for children of New York tenements: running around with his boyhood friends, roller skating and misbehaving in the streets. Until 1908, he cared nothing for music, when as a ten-year-old he was intrigued upon hearing his friend Maxie Rosenzweig’s violin recital. The sound, and the way his friend played, captured him. Although his younger sister Frances was the first in the family to make a living through her musical talents, she married young and devoted herself to being a mother and housewife, thus surrendering any serious time to musical endeavors.

Having given up her performing career, she settled upon painting as a creative outlet, which had also been a hobby George briefly pursued. Al Jolson’s hit 1920 recording of George Gershwin and Irving Caesar’s 1919 «Swanee». In 1913, Gershwin left school at the age of 15 and found his first job as a «song plugger». His first published song was «When You Want ‘Em, You Can’t Get ‘Em, When You’ve Got ‘Em, You Don’t Want ‘Em» in 1916 when Gershwin was only 17 years old. In 1916, Gershwin started working for Aeolian Company and Standard Music Rolls in New York, recording and arranging. In 1919 he scored his first big national hit with his song, «Swanee», with words by Irving Caesar.

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