George Gershwin is one of the most celebrated composers of modern times. He is Famous for bridging the gap between Jazz and Classical music, and developing a new kind of popular music that held a genuine, American voice. With such pieces as his Rhapsody in Blue and Concerto in F he has become the most widely played American composer of all time. Although he boats having one of the most recognizable names in modern music, many people do not truly know the story behind it all.
The Early Years
Gershwin was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 26, 1898 to Morris and Rose Gershwin, Russian born Jewish immigrants who had come to America only a few years earlier. (Pollack) Gershwin had 3 siblings; an older brother names Israel, though he was later called Ira, a younger brother named Arthur and a younger sister named Frances. (Pollack)
As a child, George was the rowdy and rambunctious sort. He played games in the streets and did not pay much attention to his school work. He was often in trouble for not completing his homework or for getting into fights. (Malchis) He did not consider himself interested in music as a child, since such an interest branded one as a sissy in his neighborhood. However, one day when he was ten, George heard a wonderful sound near him. He discovered a classmate playing Dvorák's Humoresque on his violin. George was immediately entranced and waited one and a half hours in the rain in order to meet this boy and talk to him. The boy, named Max Rosen, quickly became friends with George and immersed him into the world of music. (Malchis)
Soon George began writing his own tunes and began to present them to Rosen. However Rosen, with much confidence, simply told him,” You haven’t got it in you to be a musician, George. Take my word for it. I know.” Not one to be easily discouraged, George continued to pursue his passion.
Not much later, the Gershwins purchased a piano for George’s brother Ira. However George took much more of an interest in it than Ira and quickly became enamored with the piano. Ira soon stopped piano lessons and George began to take them instead. (Malchis and Gale) He was soon immersed in music entirely and went to concerts and performances on a regular basis. Soon enough he out grew the neighborhood piano teacher and with the help of some friends began to take lessons from Charles Hambitzer, who believed Gershwin had a lot of talent. It was not long before Gershwin knew what he wanted his place in the world to be.
In 1914 Gershwin decided to drop out of high school in order to enter the field of music, despite his mother’s warnings of its financial instability. He went looking for jobs and became a song plugger for a company named Jerome H. Remick and Co. As a song plugger he advertised the pieces made by his company and persuaded radio announcers to play their music on the air. Gershwin enjoyed this field of work as it let him listen to much popular music. During this...