57 Facts About George Gershwin


George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist whose compositions spanned popular, jazz and classical genres.


George Gershwin began his career as a song plugger but soon started composing Broadway theater works with his brother Ira Gershwin and with Buddy DeSylva.


George Gershwin died in 1937, only 38 years old, of a brain tumor.


George Gershwin's compositions have been adapted for use in film and television, with many becoming jazz standards.


George Gershwin's grandfather, Jakov Gershowitz, was born in Odesa and had served for 25 years as a mechanic for the Imperial Russian Army to earn the right of free travel and residence as a Jew, finally retiring near Saint Petersburg.


George Gershwin's mother, Roza Bruskina, was born in St Petersburg, Russia.


George Gershwin married Rose on July 21,1895, and Gershowitz soon Anglicized his name to Gershwine.

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George Gershwin was born on September 26,1898, in the Snediker Avenue apartment.


George Gershwin was named after his grandfather, and, contrary to the American practice, had no middle name.


George Gershwin soon became known as George, and changed the spelling of his surname to 'Gershwin' around the time he became a professional musician; other family members followed suit.


George Gershwin lived a boyhood not unusual in New York tenements, which included running around with his friends, roller-skating and misbehaving in the streets.


At about the same time, George Gershwin's parents had bought a piano for his older brother Ira.


George Gershwin studied with various piano teachers for about two years before finally being introduced to Charles Hambitzer by Jack Miller, the pianist in the Beethoven Symphony Orchestra.


In 1913, George Gershwin left school at the age of 15 to work as a "song plugger" on New York City's Tin Pan Alley.


George Gershwin earned $15 a week from Jerome H Remick and Company, a Detroit-based publishing firm with a branch office in New York.


George Gershwin's first published song was "When You Want 'Em, You Can't Get 'Em, When You've Got 'Em, You Don't Want 'Em" in 1916.


In 1916, George Gershwin started working for Aeolian Company and Standard Music Rolls in New York, recording and arranging.


George Gershwin produced dozens, if not hundreds, of rolls under his own and assumed names.


George Gershwin recorded rolls of his own compositions for the Duo-Art and Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos.


George Gershwin's 1917 novelty ragtime, "Rialto Ripples", was a commercial success.


Al Jolson, a Broadway star and former minstrel singer, heard George Gershwin perform "Swanee" at a party and decided to sing it in one of his shows.


In 1924, George Gershwin composed his first major work, Rhapsody in Blue, for orchestra and piano.


Since the early 1920s George Gershwin had frequently worked with the lyricist Buddy DeSylva.


George Gershwin allowed the latter song, with a modified title, to be used as a football fight song, "Strike Up The Band for UCLA".


In 1929, the George Gershwin brothers created Show Girl; the following year brought Girl Crazy, which introduced the standards "Embraceable You", sung by Ginger Rogers, and "I Got Rhythm".

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George Gershwin's extended score, which would marry ballet with jazz in a new way, runs over an hour.


George Gershwin had a ten-year affair with composer Kay Swift, whom he frequently consulted about his music.


Swift's granddaughter, Katharine Weber, has suggested that the pair were not married because George Gershwin's mother Rose was "unhappy that Kay Swift wasn't Jewish".


George Gershwin was at the time working on other Hollywood film projects while living with Ira and his wife Leonore in their rented house in Beverly Hills.


Leonore Gershwin began to be disturbed by George's mood swings and his seeming inability to eat without spilling food at the dinner table.


George Gershwin suspected mental illness and 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.


George Gershwin was rushed to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, and fell into a coma.


Mosbacher then chartered a plane and flew Dandy to Newark Airport, where he was to catch a plane to Los Angeles; by that time, George Gershwin's condition was critical and the need for surgery was immediate.


So, before Dandy could arrive, in the early hours of Sunday, July 11,1937, doctors at Cedars removed a large brain tumor, believed to have been a glioblastoma, but George Gershwin died that morning at the age of 38.


George Gershwin was influenced by French composers of the early twentieth century.


George Gershwin was intrigued by the works of Alban Berg, Dmitri Shostakovich, Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, and Arnold Schoenberg.


George Gershwin attended the American premiere of Wozzeck, conducted by Leopold Stokowski in 1931, and was "thrilled and deeply impressed".


George Gershwin took the jazz he discovered on Tin Pan Alley into the mainstream by splicing its rhythms and tonality with that of the popular songs of his era.


On March 1,2007, the first George Gershwin Prize was awarded to Paul Simon.


Early in his career, under both his own name and pseudonyms, George Gershwin recorded more than one hundred forty player piano rolls which were a main source of his income.


George Gershwin did record additional rolls throughout the 1920s of his main hits for the Aeolian Company's reproducing piano, including a complete version of his Rhapsody in Blue.


George Gershwin's first recording was his own "Swanee" with the Fred Van Eps Trio in 1919.


George Gershwin recorded an abridged version of Rhapsody in Blue with Paul Whiteman and his orchestra for the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1924, soon after the world premiere.


George Gershwin made a number of solo piano recordings of tunes from his musicals, some including the vocals of Fred and Adele Astaire, as well as his Three Preludes for piano.


In 1929, George Gershwin "supervised" the world premiere recording of An American in Paris with Nathaniel Shilkret and the Victor Symphony Orchestra.

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When it was realized that no one had been hired to play the brief celeste solo, George Gershwin was asked if he could and would play the instrument, and he agreed.


George Gershwin can be heard, rather briefly, on the recording during the slow section.


George Gershwin appeared on several radio programs, including Rudy Vallee's, and played some of his compositions.


In 1934, in an effort to earn money to finance his planned folk opera, George Gershwin hosted his own radio program titled Music by George Gershwin.


George Gershwin presented his own work as well as the work of other composers.


George Gershwin recorded a run-through of his Second Rhapsody, conducting the orchestra and playing the piano solos.


The comedy team of Clark and McCullough are seen conversing with George Gershwin, then singing as he plays.


In 1965, Movietone Records released an album MTM 1009 featuring Gershwin's piano rolls of the titled George Gershwin plays RHAPSODY IN BLUE and his other favorite compositions.


The soundtrack to Woody Allen's 1979 film Manhattan is composed entirely of George Gershwin's compositions, including Rhapsody in Blue, "Love is Sweeping the Country", and "But Not for Me", performed by both the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and the Buffalo Philharmonic under Michael Tilson Thomas.


George Gershwin died intestate, and his estate passed to his mother.


The estate supported the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act because its 1923 cutoff date was shortly before George Gershwin had begun to create his most popular works.


In 2005, The Guardian determined using "estimates of earnings accrued in a composer's lifetime" that George Gershwin was the wealthiest composer of all time.