Lorelei Moone Biography & Facts
George Gershwin (; born Jacob Gershwine; September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American pianist and composer, whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. Among his best-known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), the songs "Swanee" (1919) and "Fascinating Rhythm" (1924), the jazz standards "Embraceable You" (1928) and "I Got Rhythm" (1930), and the opera Porgy and Bess (1935), which included the hit "Summertime".
Gershwin studied piano under Charles Hambitzer and composition with Rubin Goldmark, Henry Cowell, and Joseph Brody. He began his career as a song plugger but soon started composing Broadway theater works with his brother Ira Gershwin and with Buddy DeSylva. He moved to Paris, intending to study with Nadia Boulanger, but she refused him, afraid that rigorous classical study would ruin his jazz-influenced style; Maurice Ravel voiced similar objections when Gershwin inquired on studying with him. He subsequently composed An American in Paris, returned to New York City and wrote Porgy and Bess with Ira and DuBose Heyward. Initially a commercial failure, it came to be considered one of the most important American operas of the twentieth century and an American cultural classic.
Gershwin moved to Hollywood and composed numerous film scores. He died in 1937 of a brain tumor. His compositions have been adapted for use in film and television, with many becoming jazz standards.
Gershwin was of Ukrainian-Jewish ancestry. His grandfather, Jakov Gershowitz, was born in Odessa (modern Ukraine) and had served for 25 years as a mechanic for the Imperial Russian Army to earn the right of free travel and residence as a Jew, finally retiring near Saint Petersburg. His teenage son Moishe, George's father, worked as a leather cutter for women's shoes. His mother, Roza Bruskina, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. Moishe met Roza in Vilnius where her father worked as a furrier. She and her family moved to New York because of increasing anti-Jewish sentiment in Russia, changing her first name to Rose. Moishe, faced with compulsory military service if he remained in Russia, moved to America as soon as he could afford to. Once in New York, he changed his first name to Morris. Gershowitz lived with a maternal uncle in Brooklyn, working as a foreman in a women's shoe factory. He married Rose on July 21, 1895, and Gershowitz soon Anglicized his name to Gershwine. Their first child, Ira Gershwin, was born on December 6, 1896, after which the family moved into a second-floor apartment at 242 Snediker Avenue in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn.
George was born on September 26, 1898, in the Snediker Avenue apartment. His birth certificate identifies him as Jacob Gershwine, with the surname pronounced 'Gersh-vin' in the Russian and Yiddish immigrant community. He was named after his grandfather, and, contrary to the American practice, had no middle name. He soon became known as George, and changed the spelling of his surname to 'Gershwin' around the time he became a professional musician; other family members followed suit. After Ira and George, another boy, Arthur Gershwin (1900–1981), and a girl, Frances Gershwin (1906–1999), were born into the family.
The family lived in many different residences, as their father changed dwellings with each new enterprise in which he became involved. They grew up mostly in the Yiddish Theater District. George and Ira frequented the local Yiddish theaters, with George occasionally appearing onstage as an extra.George lived a boyhood not unusual in New York tenements, which included running around with his friends, roller-skating and misbehaving in the streets. Until 1908, he cared nothing about music. Then, 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, captivated him. At about the same time, George's parents had bought a piano for his older brother Ira. To his parents' surprise, though, and to Ira's relief, it was George who spent more time playing it as he continued to enjoy it.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 precluding spending any serious time on 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. Arthur Gershwin followed in the paths of George and Ira, also becoming a composer of songs, musicals, and short various piano teachers for about two years (circa 1911) before finally being introduced to Charles Hambitzer by Jack Miller (circa 1913), the pianist in the Beethoven Symphony Orchestra. Until his death in 1918, Hambitzer remained Gershwin's musical mentor, taught him conventional piano technique, introduced him to music of the European classical tradition, and encouraged him to attend orchestral concerts.
Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, 1913–1923
In 1913, Gershwin left school at the age of 15 to work as a "song plugger" on New York City's Tin Pan Alley. He earned $15 a week for Jerome H. Remick and Company, a Detroit-based publishing firm with a branch office in New York.
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. It earned the 17-year-old 50 cents.In 1916, Gershwin started working for Aeolian Company and Standard Music Rolls in New York, recording and arranging. He produced dozens, if not hundreds, of rolls under his own and assumed names (pseudonyms attributed to Gershwin include Fred Murtha and Bert Wynn). He also recorded rolls of his own compositions for the Duo-Art and Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos. As well as recording piano rolls, Gershwin made a brief foray into vaudeville, accompanying both Nora Bayes and Louise Dresser on the piano. His 1917 novelty ragtime, "Rialto Ripples", was a commercial success.In 1919 he scored his first big national hit with his song "Swanee", with words by Irving Caesar. Al Jolson, a Broadway star and former minstrel singer, heard Gershwin perform "Swanee" at a party and decided to sing it in one of his shows.In the late 1910s, Gershwin met songwriter and music director William Daly. The two collaborated on the Broadway musicals Piccadilly to Broadway (1920) and For Goodness' Sake (1922), and jointly composed the score for Our Nell (1923). This was the beginning of a long friendship. Daly was a frequent arranger, orchestrator and conductor of Gershwin's music, and Gershwin periodically turned to him for musical advice.
Musical, Europe and classical music, 1924–1928
In 1924, Gershwin composed his first major work, Rhapsody in Blue, for orchestra and piano. It was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé and premiered by Paul Whiteman's Concert Band, in New York. It subsequ.... Discover the Lorelei Moone popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Lorelei Moone books.