George Gershwin

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George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist.[1] Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known.

He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works, including more than a dozen Broadway shows, in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin.

George Gershwin composed music for both Broadway and the classical concert hall, as well as popular songs that brought his work to an even wider public. His compositions have been used in numerous films and on television, and many became jazz standards recorded in numerous variations. Countless singers and musicians have recorded Gershwin songs.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Gershwin was named Jacob Gershowitz at birth in Brooklyn on September 26, 1898. His parents were Russian Jews. His father, Morris (Moishe) Gershowitz, changed his family name to 'Gershvin' some time after immigrating to the United States from St. Petersburg, Russia in the early 1890s. Gershwin's mother Rosa Bruskin had already immigrated from Russia. She met Gershowitz in New York and they married on July 21, 1895.[2] (George changed the spelling of the family name to 'Gershwin' after he became a professional musician; other members of his family followed suit.)

George Gershwin was the second of four children.[3] He first displayed interest in music at the age of ten, when he was intrigued by what he heard at his friend Maxie Rosenzweig's violin recital.[4] The sound and the way his friend played captured him. His parents had bought a piano for lessons for his older brother Ira, but to his parents' surprise and Ira's relief, it was George who played it.[5] Although his younger sister Frances Gershwin was the first in the family to make money from her musical talents, she married young and devoted herself to being a mother and housewife. She gave up her performing career, but settled into painting for another creative outlet — painting was also a hobby of George Gershwin.

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