George Gershwin was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 26, 1898, to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. He was the second of four children. He first became interested in music at age 10 when he attended a friend’s violin recital. His parents had bought his brother, Ira, a piano, but it was George who actually took to the piano. His parents invested in piano lessons for him, which helped kick off his career. He began to seriously study music at the age of 12. At age 15, he left school for work as a Tin Pan Alley “song plugger.” The Tin Pan Alley was a location in New York City where new composers and song writer would bring their scores to a publisher in hope of selling the tunes for a small amount of money. At age 18, George had his first song published. Early in George’s career, he made dozens of player piano roll recordings; and at the time, those were his main source of income. In 1924, the summer of music, George teamed up with his older brother, Ira, and they became dominant Broadway song writers. In 1925, he composed a piano concerto for the New York Symphony. Many feel that the “Concerto in F” is his finest orchestral work. Others think it was his “An American in Paris” or his “Second Rhapsody” for piano and orchestra. The Gershwin brothers’ most famous undertaking was the Broadway opera, “Porgy and Bess,” which opened in 1935 on Broadway. George was never married, but had a ten-year relationship with composer, Kay Swift, whom he consulted about his music. On July 11, 1937, George was in Hollywood working on the score “The Goldwyn Follies” when he died of a brain tumor. He was not quite 39 years old. George was a composer, wrote vocal and theatrical work, and composed songs for Broadway and the classical concert. He also wrote many popular songs. In 1998, George Gershwin was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize. Motion pictures still uses George’s music in theme songs and plots. His music is studied today by...
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