George Gershwin
American composer
George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris, as well as the opera Porgy and Bess.
Biography
George Gershwin's personal information overview.
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News
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THEATER REVIEW | 'THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS'; Excavations on Catfish Row
NYTimes - over 5 years
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- She never sings these particular lyrics. But Audra McDonald has every right to say, ''Bess, you is my woman now.'' That assertion is implicit in every aspect of her performance in ''The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess,'' which opened on Wednesday night at the American Repertory Theater here, and it is made with a confidence and
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MUSIC REVIEW; A Classic That Still Vexes as It Pleases
NYTimes - over 5 years
LENOX, Mass. -- On Friday evening a hurricane raged toward the Atlantic coast. At the same time one roared onstage here at the Tanglewood Festival, threatening the lives of the inhabitants of Catfish Row, the South Carolina ghetto that is the setting of George Gershwin's opera ''Porgy and Bess.'' Or rather, was supposed to roar. Like the
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Celebrate America Part 2 presented by Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra review - TheaterJones Performing Arts News in North Texas
Google News - over 5 years
The Fort Worth Symphony continued to wow audiences on Saturday with the second of three concerts of music by what are arguably America's finest composers: Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin
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'Porgy & Bess' a first for BSO - Berkshire Eagle
Google News - over 5 years
With music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward and lyrics by Heyward and Ira Gershwin, "Porgy and Bess" is based on a novel by Heyward and the stage adaptation he co-wrote with wife Dorothy. It's best known for a wealth of memorable songs
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Regent's Park's CRAZY FOR YOU to Move to West End's Novello Theatre - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Crazy for You is a musical with a book by Ken Ludwig, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and music by George Gershwin. Billed as "The New Gershwin Musical Comedy", it is largely based on the songwriting team's 1930 musical, Girl Crazy, but interpolates songs from
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Brian Wilson Tackles Disney - ClashMusic.com
Google News - over 5 years
Allowed to ransack through the vaults of George Gershwin, the composer released an intriguing re-imaging last year. Now Brian Wilson has been allowed free reign to search through the archives of Disney. Responsible for producing countless classic songs ... - -
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BWW Poll Results: Do You Agree with Sondheim re: PORGY AND BESS? - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
THE GERSHWINS' PORGY AND BESS by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, and Ira Gershwin has been re-imagined by ART's Artistic Director Diane Paulus, Pulitzer prize-winning writer Suzan-Lori Parks, and two-time Obie winner Diedre Murray,
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'Porgy And Bess': Messing With A Classic - NPR
Google News - over 5 years
Porgy and Bess, the classic American folk opera about love and life in an African-American fishing community, was the culmination of a great dream for collaborators George Gershwin, his brother Ira, and author Dubose Heyward
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'Porgy & Bess:' Tweaking A Classic For The 21st Century - WBUR
Google News - over 5 years
“Actually, I think what makes it such a powerful classic is that you do feel like you're in dialogue with not only George Gershwin, but Ira Gershwin and DuBose and Dorothy Heyward and what they gave us 76 years ago,” Paulus said
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Stephen Sondheim and the case of 'Porgy and Bess' - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
The opera, first staged in 1935, features music by George Gershwin, a libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Heyward. The new mounting is set to open this month in Cambridge, Mass., with Broadway previews beginning in December at ... -
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It Ain't Necessarily 'Porgy'
NYTimes - over 5 years
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ''CAN we try an experiment?'' the director Diane Paulus called out during a recent rehearsal here for ''The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess,'' her risky attempt to turn that heartbreaking 1935 opera into a commercial Broadway musical. Ms. Paulus wanted more intensity in a fight scene between Bess and her former lover, Crown, and felt the
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Cincinnati Opera will do 'Porgy and Bess' next summer - Cincinnati.com
Google News - over 5 years
Cincinnati Opera's 92nd season will feature the company premiere of George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess;" a Verdi favorite, "La Traviata;" and a double bill of Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" and Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi." The company is pulling back from
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BOOKS OF THE TIMES; When Granny Met Gershwin, and Other Gossip
NYTimes - over 5 years
THE MEMORY OF ALL THAT George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family's Legacies of Infidelities By Katharine Weber Illustrated. 270 pages. Crown Publishers. $24. By all descriptions, the 1926 musical ''Oh, Kay!'' qualifies as light entertainment. But when the novelist Katharine Weber saw a 1989 revival, at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, the
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Pianist will give solo performance in Rangeley - Lewiston Sun Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Kahn's repertoire includes tunes written by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Harry Warren, Johnny Mercer, Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart, and other American standard songwriters. He also plays some of his favorite jazz selections,
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LongHouse Reserve Celebrates 20 Years - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
(Music by George Gershwin). Both pieces were orchestrated by Hershy Kay with the additional reconstruction on the Gottschalk composition, according to the ballet's website. Another gala first is the fusion of technology with the traditional auction
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Today in Music History - July 11 - mysask.com (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
George Gershwin wrote the scores for such Broadway shows as "Funny Face," "Porgy and Bess" and "Of Thee I Sing," which in 1932 became the first musical to win a Pulitzer Prize. Gershwin played the piano at the premiere of his widely acclaimed "Rhapsody
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American dreams - The Australian
Google News - over 5 years
Picture: George Hixson Source: Supplied THINK American opera and we think of George Gershwin's celebrated foray into the genre, Porgy and Bess, or of the work of composers such as John Adams, Philip Glass and Jake Heggie. Some have been performed in
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San Francisco Symphony presents 'My Classic Gershwin' - San Francisco Examiner
Google News - over 5 years
Gershwin music: The San Francisco Symphony presents “My Classic Gershwin,” a concert saluting composer George Gershwin. Guest vocalist: Laura Benanti. Artist and author Belle Yang gives a talk that explores how Chinese culture and history,
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of George Gershwin
    THIRTIES
  • 1937
    Age 38
    Gershwin received his sole Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song at the 1937 Oscars for "They Can't Take That Away from Me", written with his brother Ira for the 1937 film Shall We Dance.
    More Details Hide Details The nomination was posthumous; Gershwin died two months after the film's release. Gershwin was influenced by French composers of the early twentieth century. In turn Maurice Ravel was impressed with Gershwin's abilities, commenting, "Personally I find jazz most interesting: the rhythms, the way the melodies are handled, the melodies themselves. I have heard of George Gershwin's works and I find them intriguing." The orchestrations in Gershwin's symphonic works often seem similar to those of Ravel; likewise, Ravel's two piano concertos evince an influence of Gershwin. Gershwin asked to study with Ravel. When Ravel heard how much Gershwin earned, Ravel replied with words to the effect of, "You should give me lessons." (Some versions of this story feature Igor Stravinsky rather than Ravel as the composer; however Stravinsky confirmed that he originally heard the story from Ravel.)
    A memorial concert was held at the Hollywood Bowl on September 8, 1937, at which Otto Klemperer conducted his own orchestration of the second of Gershwin's Three Preludes.
    More Details Hide Details
    Gershwin's many friends and fans were shocked and devastated. John O'Hara remarked: "George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937, but I don't have to believe it if I don't want to."
    More Details Hide Details He was interred at Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
    An attempt by doctors at Cedars to excise the tumor was made in the early hours of the 11th, but it proved unsuccessful, and Gershwin died on the morning of July 11, 1937, at the age of 38.
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    On February 11, 1937, Gershwin performed his Piano Concerto in F in a special concert of his music with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the direction of French maestro Pierre Monteux.
    More Details Hide Details Gershwin, normally a superb pianist in his own compositions, suffered coordination problems and blackouts during the performance. He was at the time living with his brother Ira, and Ira's wife Leonore in a rented house in Beverly Hills while they worked on other Hollywood film projects. Leonore Gershwin began to be disturbed by George's mood swings and his seeming inability to eat without spilling food at the dinner table. She suspected the onset of mental illness and she insisted he be moved out of their house to lyricist Yip Harburg's empty quarters nearby, where he was placed in the care of his valet, Paul Mueller. The headaches and olfactory hallucinations continued, and on June 23, after an incident in which Gershwin tried to push Mueller out of the car in which they were riding, Gershwin was admitted to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles for observation. Tests showed no physical cause and he was released on the 26th with a diagnosis of "likely hysteria." His troubles with coordination and mental acuity worsened, and on the night of July 9, Gershwin collapsed in Harburg's house, where he had been working on the score of The Goldwyn Follies. He was rushed back to Cedars of Lebanon, where he fell into a coma. Only at that point did it become obvious to his doctors that he was suffering from a brain tumor. Leonore called George's close friend Emil Mosbacher and explained the dire need to find a neurosurgeon.
    Early in 1937, Gershwin began to complain of blinding headaches and a recurring impression that he smelled burning rubber.
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  • 1936
    Age 37
    After the commercial failure of Porgy and Bess, Gershwin moved to Hollywood, California. He was commissioned by RKO Pictures in 1936 to write the music for the film Shall We Dance, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
    More Details Hide Details Gershwin's extended score, which would marry ballet with jazz in a new way, runs over an hour in length. It took Gershwin several months to compose and orchestrate. Gershwin had a ten-year affair with composer Kay Swift, whom he frequently consulted about his music. The two never married, although she eventually divorced her husband James Warburg in order to commit to the relationship. Swift's granddaughter, Katharine Weber, has suggested that the pair were not married because George's mother Rose was "unhappy that Kay Swift wasn't Jewish". Oh, Kay was named for her. After Gershwin's death, Swift arranged some of his music, transcribed several of his recordings, and collaborated with his brother Ira on several projects.
  • 1935
    Age 36
    The work was first performed in 1935; it was a box-office failure in the middle of the Great Depression.
    More Details Hide Details The musical has since been recognized as one of the greatest musical and theatrical compositions of the 20th Century.
  • 1929
    Age 30
    In 1929, Gershwin was contracted by Fox Film Corporation to compose the score for the movie Delicious.
    More Details Hide Details Only two pieces were used in the final film, the five-minute "Dream Sequence" and the six-minute "Manhattan Rhapsody," which in expanded form was later published as the Second Rhapsody. Gershwin became infuriated when the rest of the score was rejected by Fox Film Corporation, and it would be seven years before he worked in Hollywood again. Gershwin's first opera, Blue Monday, is a short one-act opera which was not a financial success and has received only limited performances. Gershwin's most ambitious composition was Porgy and Bess (1935). Gershwin called it a "folk opera", and it is now widely regarded as one of the most important American operas of the twentieth century. "From the very beginning, it was considered another American classic by the composer of 'Rhapsody in Blue'—even if critics couldn't quite figure out how to evaluate it. Was it opera, or was it simply an ambitious Broadway musical? 'It crossed the barriers,' says theater historian Robert Kimball. 'It wasn't a musical work per se, and it wasn't a drama per se – it elicited response from both music and drama critics. But the work has sort of always been outside category."
  • TWENTIES
  • 1924
    Age 25
    In 1924, Gershwin composed his first major classical work, Rhapsody in Blue, for orchestra and piano.
    More Details Hide Details It was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé and premiered by Paul Whiteman's concert band in New York. It proved to be his most popular work. In the mid-1920s, Gershwin stayed in Paris for a short period of time, during which he applied to study composition with the noted Nadia Boulanger, who, along with several other prospective tutors such as Maurice Ravel, rejected him. They were afraid that rigorous classical study would ruin his jazz-influenced style. Maurice Ravel's rejection letter to Gershwin told him, "Why become a second-rate Ravel when you're already a first-rate Gershwin?" While there, Gershwin wrote An American in Paris. This work received mixed reviews upon its first performance at Carnegie Hall on December 13, 1928, but it quickly became part of the standard repertoire in Europe and the United States. Growing tired of the Parisian musical scene, Gershwin returned to the United States.
    In 1924, George and Ira Gershwin collaborated on a stage musical comedy Lady Be Good, which included such future standards as "Fascinating Rhythm" and "Oh, Lady Be Good!
    More Details Hide Details ". They followed this with Oh, Kay! (1926); Funny Face (1927); Strike Up the Band (1927 and 1930). Gershwin gave the song, with a modified title, to UCLA to be used as a football fight song, "Strike Up The Band for UCLA". The Gershwin brothers created Show Girl (1929); Girl Crazy (1930), which introduced the standards "Embraceable You", debuted by Ginger Rogers; "I Got Rhythm", and Of Thee I Sing (1931), which was the first musical comedy to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; the winners were George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, and Ira Gershwin.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1916
    Age 17
    In 1916, Gershwin started working for Aeolian Company and Standard Music Rolls in New York, recording and arranging.
    More Details Hide Details He produced dozens, if not hundreds, of rolls under his own and assumed names (pseudonyms attributed to Gershwin include Fred Murtha and Bert Wynn). He also recorded rolls of his own compositions for the Duo-Art and Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos. As well as recording piano rolls, Gershwin made a brief foray into vaudeville, accompanying both Nora Bayes and Louise Dresser on the piano. In the late 1910s, Gershwin met songwriter and music director William Daly. The two collaborated on the Broadway musicals Piccadilly to Broadway (1920) and For Goodness' Sake (1922), and jointly composed the score for Our Nell (1923). This was the beginning of a long friendship; Daly was a frequent arranger, orchestrator and conductor of Gershwin's music, and Gershwin periodically turned to him for musical advice. In the early 1920s, Gershwin frequently worked with the lyricist Buddy DeSylva. Together they created the experimental one-act jazz opera Blue Monday, set in Harlem. It is widely regarded as a forerunner to the groundbreaking Porgy and Bess.
    It was published in 1916 when Gershwin was only 17 years old and earned him 50 cents.
    More Details Hide Details His 1917 novelty rag, "Rialto Ripples", was a commercial success, and in 1919 he scored his first big national hit with his song, "Swanee", with words by Irving Caesar. Al Jolson, a famous Broadway singer of the day, heard Gershwin perform "Swanee" at a party and decided to sing it in one of his shows.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1898
    Born
    George Gershwin was born at the new residence on September 26, 1898; his birth certificate bears the name Jacob Gershwine, with the surname being commonly pronounced 'Gersh-vin' by the predominantly expatriate Russian and Yiddish community.
    More Details Hide Details George was named after his late grandfather (the Russian army mechanic). However, although the common American practice was to give children two names - a first and a middle name - he had no other name but 'George'. Years later, George changed the spelling of his surname to 'Gershwin' after he became a professional musician; subsequently, other members of his family followed suit. George and Ira lived in many different residences, as their father changed dwellings with each new enterprise with which he became involved. Mostly, the boys grew up around the Yiddish Theater District. They frequented the local Yiddish theaters, with George occasionally appearing onstage as an extra. After Ira and George, two more children were born to the family: Arthur (1900–1981), and Frances (1906–1999). George lived a usual childhood existence for children of New York tenements - running around with his boyhood friends, roller skating and misbehaving in the streets. Remarkably, he cared nothing for music until the age of ten, when he was intrigued by what he heard at his friend Maxie Rosenzweig's violin recital. 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 spent more time playing it. Although his younger sister Frances Gershwin was the first in the family to make a living through her musical talents, she married young and devoted herself to being a mother and housewife - thus surrendering any serious time to musical endeavors.
    At some time between 1893 and 1898, Moishe (Morris) Gershowitz changed his surname to Gershwine – even possibly at, or around, the time of his marriage to Roza.
    More Details Hide Details The first child to the new couple was Ira (given the name 'Israel'), on December 6, 1896. It was about that time that Morris moved the family to Brooklyn, to a second-floor dwelling at 242 Snediker Avenue.
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