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  • Posted By: joeymaster
  • Date Posted: 06/30/2011
  • Category: Biographies
  • Words: 355
  • Pages: 2
  • Views: 613
  • Rank: 763

GEORGE GERSHWIN

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GEORGE GERSHWIN

George Gershwin (1898-1937), an American composer, became famous for his musical comedies, popular songs, symphonic works, and the opera «Porgy and Bess». His «Rapsody in Blue» is probably the best-known orchestral piece by an American.


Gershwin was born in Brooklyn, New York, of Russian immigrant parents. He began writing popular songs at 15, but he studied composition and orchestration all his life. His dual ambition was to be a successful popular composer and to follow in the footsteps of the great masters.


In 1919, Gershwin wrote his first successful popular song, «Swanee». This was a tremendous hit as sung by Al Jolson. In the same year, Gershwin worked on a string quartet with a blues theme called «Lullaby».


Gershwin rose to fame on Broadway in the 1920's. His sparkling musical comedies include «Lady, Be Good» (1924), «TipToes» (1925), «Oh, Kay!» (1926), «Funny Face» (1927), and «Girl Crazy» (1930). Gershwin then turned to political satire with the musical comedies, such as «Let'Em Eat Cake» (1933). «Of Three I Sing» was the first musical comedy to win a Pulitzer Prize. All of Gershwin's musicals had tunes of lasting fame. Examples include «Embraceable You», «I Got Rhythin», «Soon», and «'S Wonderful». The words for most of his songs were written by his brother Ira.


Meanwhile, Gershwin was writing successful concert hall music, beginning with «Rhapsody in Blue» (1924). This piece was written for piano and jazz band and was later arranged for symphony orchestra by American composer Ferde Grofe. It combined jazz elements with the romantic tradition in classical music.


Gershwin continued to display his varied talents with «An American in Paris» (1928). This symphonic poem is tuneful, rhythmically exciting, effectively orchestrated, and thoroughly American. In 1935, Gershwin completed the black «folk opera» «Porgy and Bess», the most popular opera ever written ...

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