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George Gershwin

George Gershwin

Country of origin: United States of America
Birthday: September 26, 1898
Date of death: July 11, 1937

Upcoming Performances

Girl Crazy
Conductor: Marcus Bosch
Orchestra: Cappella Aquileia
July 21, 2024 | Heidenheim (Germany) , Congress Centrum
Girl Crazy
Conductor: Marcus Bosch
Orchestra: Cappella Aquileia
July 21, 2024 | Heidenheim (Germany) , Congress Centrum

About George Gershwin

George Gershwin was born in Brooklyn, New York, the second of four children from a close-knit Russian Jewish immigrant family. At the age of 16, the young George quit school and began his musical career as a song-plugger on New York's Tin Pan Alley. He was soon writing his own songs and his first published work When You Want ‘Em, You Can't Get ‘Em, demonstrated innovative new songwriting techniques and earned him all of five dollars. Soon after, however, he met a young lyricist named Irving Ceaser and together they would compose a long list of popular songs including Swanee, which scored Gershwin his first big national hit.

Swanee would be followed in short order by a series of nearly forty-five more songs; among them Somebody Loves Me and Stairway to Paradise, as well as the twenty-five-minute opera, Blue Monday. Composed in five days, Blue Monday, though a work of Gershwin juvenilia, offered hints of great musical development to come.

Gershwin's first collaboration with his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin, produced the Broadway hit Lady Be Good which included such standards as Fascinating Rhythm and The Man I Love. It was the beginning of a partnership that would continue for the rest of the composer's life and would elevate the musical comedy to an American art form. Musicals including Oh, Kay! and Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire and his sister Adele, were created increasingly alongside more serious symphonic works as Gershwin aimed to make his mark in the concert world.

Gershwin's jazz-influenced Rhapsody in Blue for piano and orchestra premiered in New York's Aeolian Hall at a concert entitled "An Experiment in Music" when the composer was still in his twenties. It would prove to be his most popular symphonic work. Among those in attendance at the premiere were Jascha Heifitz, Fritz Kreisler, Leopold Stokowski and Serge Rachmaninov. Gershwin followed this success with his Piano Concerto in F and the now legendary tone poem An American in Paris which he wrote during an extended stay in Paris. French music, in particular the composers Debussy and Ravel, would prove to have a lasting influence on Gershwin's classical music. Critics were often at a loss as to where to place Gershwin's classical music in the standard repertoire and some simply dismissed him, but the music always found favor with the general public. He was very soon widely acclaimed in the concert world as piano virtuoso, conductor, and composer.

Back on Broadway, George and Ira Gershwin continued to experiment with novel ideas and their hit show Of Thee I Sing dealt pointedly with social issues of the time, becoming the first musical comedy to win the Pulitzer Prize. This feat was soon followed by the premiere of Gershwin's folk opera and most ambitious work to date Porgy and Bess which had only moderate success. Now recognized as one of the seminal works of American opera, it includes such timeless favorites as It Ain't Necessarily SoI Loves You, Porgy, and Summertime.

Shortly after the premiere of Porgy and Bess, Gershwin moved to Hollywood to score a series of successful films but while there became ill. At the time of his premature death at the age of 38, Gershwin had plans to return to New York and was contemplating work on a new symphony, opera, and ballet. These compositions were not to be. Today he remains one of America's, indeed one of the world's, most beloved composers.

2023 marks the start of the the first scholarly critical edition of his works as part of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition. It is the result of the Gershwin Initiative of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan in collaboration with the Gershwin Heirs Association and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and published by Schott Music. Mark Clague is the editor-in-chief.

Worklist

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Performances

Set Descending Direction
  • Girl Crazy
    Conductor: Marcus Bosch
    Orchestra: Cappella Aquileia
    July 21, 2024 | Heidenheim (Germany) , Congress Centrum
  • Girl Crazy
    Conductor: Marcus Bosch
    Orchestra: Cappella Aquileia
    July 21, 2024 | Heidenheim (Germany) , Congress Centrum
  • Rhapsody in Blue
    Conductor: Tarmo Peltokoski
    Orchestra: Verbier Festival Camber Orchestra
    July 25, 2024 | Bagnes (Switzerland) , Salle des Combins
  • Rhapsody in Blue
    Conductor: Williams Eddins
    Orchestra: Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
    July 25, 2024 | Roma (Italy) , Cavea
  • Strike Up The Band
    Conductor: Williams Eddins
    Orchestra: Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
    July 25, 2024 | Roma (Italy) , Cavea
  • Porgy and Bess
    Conductor: Carolin Nordmeyer
    Orchestra: Akademisches Sinfonieorchester München
    July 27, 2024 | Fürstenfeldbruck (Germany) , Veranstaltungsforum Fürstenfeld
  • Girl Crazy
    Conductor: Wayne Marshall
    Orchestra: Teatro dell'Opera di Roma Orchestra
    July 30, 2024 | Roma (Italy) , Terme di Caracalla
  • Rhapsody in Blue
    Conductor: Wayne Marshall
    Orchestra: Teatro dell'Opera di Roma Orchestra
    July 30, 2024 | Roma (Italy) , Terme di Caracalla
  • An American in Paris
    Conductor: Wayne Marshall
    Orchestra: Teatro dell'Opera di Roma Orchestra
    July 30, 2024 | Roma (Italy) , Terme di Caracalla
  • Porgy and Bess
    Conductor: Wayne Marshall
    Orchestra: Teatro dell'Opera di Roma Orchestra
    July 30, 2024 | Roma (Italy) , Terme di Caracalla
  • Girl Crazy
    Conductor: Manfred Mayrhofer
    Orchestra: Moravská filharmonie Olomouc
    August 1, 2024 | Grafenegg (Austria) , Wolkenturm
  • Damsel in Distress
    Conductor: Manfred Mayrhofer
    Orchestra: Moravská filharmonie Olomouc
    August 1, 2024 | Grafenegg (Austria) , Wolkenturm
  • Girl Crazy
    Conductor: Manfred Mayrhofer
    Orchestra: Moravská filharmonie Olomouc
    August 1, 2024 | Grafenegg (Austria) , Wolkenturm
  • By Strauss
    Conductor: Manfred Mayrhofer
    Orchestra: Moravská filharmonie Olomouc
    August 1, 2024 | Grafenegg (Austria) , Wolkenturm
  • The Man I Love
    Conductor: Manfred Mayrhofer
    Orchestra: Moravská filharmonie Olomouc
    August 1, 2024 | Grafenegg (Austria) , Wolkenturm
  • Shall We Dance
    Conductor: Manfred Mayrhofer
    Orchestra: Moravská filharmonie Olomouc
    August 1, 2024 | Grafenegg (Austria) , Wolkenturm
  • 'S Wonderful
    Conductor: Manfred Mayrhofer
    Orchestra: Moravská filharmonie Olomouc
    August 1, 2024 | Grafenegg (Austria) , Wolkenturm
  • Rhapsody in Blue
    Conductor: Frédéric Chaslin
    Orchestra: Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna
    August 2, 2024 | Bologna (Italy) , Piazza Maggiore
  • Girl Crazy
    Conductor: Frédéric Chaslin
    Orchestra: Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna
    August 2, 2024 | Bologna (Italy) , Piazza Maggiore
  • An American in Paris
    Conductor: Alberto Maniaci
    Orchestra: Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana
    August 2, 2024 | Palermo (Italy) , Piazza Ruggero VII
  • Set Descending Direction