Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great American Artists - George Gershwin

George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist who was equally famed for his popular and his classical works. Born in Brooklyn in 1898 to Russian Jewish immigrants, he and his brother, Ira, teamed up on numerous projects, including twelve Broadway shows. He composed his first classical piece, "Rhapsody in Blue" in 1924 and this became perhaps his most popular and well known work. It is certainly my favorite. You can listen to it on the link below. While living and studying in Paris, Gershwin wrote "An American in Paris." It initially received mixed reviews, but later became a very popular and beloved piece throughout the United States and Europe. "Porgy and Bess" which he wrote in 1935 was perhaps his most ambitious and influential work. He called it a "folk opera." It is said to contain Gershwin's most sophisticated music and combines elements of several types of popular music including opera and jazz. Gershwin was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 1937 Oscars for "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Unfortunately, the nomination was posthumous as Gershwin had died in July 1937 at the age of 38 from a brain tumor.

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