• Composer of the Week:   George Gershwin



    George Gershwin was an American composer who wrote music that often mixed the classical and jazz genres.   Born in 1898 in Brooklyn, New York, Gershwin started playing the piano around age 10.  By 15, he “finished” school and had his first job composing in New York’s Tin Pan Alley.  At 17, he published his first song, earning him $5.  

    In the 1920's, Gershwin started writing musicals and stage comedies. His most famous work was composed in 1924, and is entitled “Rhapsody in Blue.”  The piece is for band/orchestra and piano,and shows how Gershwin liked to mix the classical and jazz styles.  In 1935, he wrote an opera/musical called “Porgy and Bess.”  Despite not being successful when it premiered, the opera has become one of the best known of all time.  After his opera didn’t do well with critics, he moved to Hollywood, California to compose for film entitled “Shall We Dance,” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers.  The score took several months to write.

    Because of America’s new copyright laws at the time, George Gershwin became very rich throughout his life. However, he died in 1937 at the age of just 39 as the result of a brain tumor.   Despite his short life, Gershwin is remembered as one of the best American composers to have ever lived.


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