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George Gershwin: American Composer And Pianist

1323 words - 6 pages

George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. He expressed the times he lived in through his music. Some of his best known works are the orchestral compositions “Rhapsody in Blue,” “An American in Paris,” and the opera “Porgy and Bess.” His compositions have been adapted for use in many films and for television, and several became jazz standards recorded in many different ways. His compositional style was somewhat like his jazz piano improvisations in that he “varied” melodies more than he “developed” them. Gershwin succeeded as both a songwriter and a concert-hall composer. Gershwin wrote some of the most original and popular musical works produced in the United States.
George Gershwin was born on September 26, 1898, in Brooklyn, New York. He was the second oldest of four children. The musical genres in New York influenced him a child. He was greatly influenced by the early jazz of African Americans and the Eastern European sounds of his Jewish heritage (“George Gershwin (1898-1937)” par. 1). Some would say that George was a hyper child. George’s father once predicted the trouble-prone boy would “grow up to be a bum” (Saturday Evening Post. 80-80). He would later go on to prove everyone wrong. In 1910, when Gershwin was twelve, his family acquired an upright piano at their home on the lower east side of New York City (Saturday Evening Post. 80-80). At the age of thirteen he began his musical training. At fifteen he left high school to work as a pianist and song-plugger for musical publishers (“George Gershwin (1898-1937)” par. 4). A song plugger’s job is to pitch a songwriter’s song to artists, managers, producers, and record labels with the hope that one of them will want to record the song. Many people would go to the store he worked at to buy sheet music. He would play the newest tunes for the costumers so they could get a feel for the music (“George Gershwin (1898-1937)” par. 2). At the age of sixteen, he began working for a publishing house of Remick in New York. He played the piano for them in order to boost sales. From there he moved to the Harms publishing house. There he made thirty-five dollars a week writing songs ( “George Gershwin, Composer.” par. 2). “ Swanee” was George Gershwin’s first really successful song. It sold more than a million copies (“George Gershwin: About the Composer” par. 1 ).
In 1923, at twenty-five, his jazz influenced “Rhapsody in Blue” premiered in New York’s Aeolian Hall at the concert, “An Experiment in Music” ( “George Gershwin: About the Composer” par. 4). In 1924, George paired up with his brother Ira Gershwin, 1896-1983, who was a lyricist. They worked together to create the music for many Broadway hits. “The Lady Be Good (1924),” “Tip-Toes (1925),” “Oh, Kay! (1926),” “Strike Up the Band (1927),” “Funny face (1927),” “Girl Crazy (1930),” and “Of Thee I Sing (1931)” are a few songs they made together ( “George Gershwin, Composer.” par. 2). “Strike Up the Band” is...

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