Born and lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. but fascinated with the wild west of the United States.
A leader in the development of modern American Music from the United States.
Major works blend a wide range of national musical influences with a modern technique and style.
Began studying music after attending his first concert at 13 years of age.
Decided to become a composer at 16.
Studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger from 1920-1924.
First major work was performed by the New York Symphony.
Wanted to express his ideas in "the simplest possible terms."
Adapted jazz to orchestral music and experimented with advanced forms of composition. Also explored Mexican folk songs and popular tunes as well as American folk traditions.
Work influenced by Debussy, Ravel & and Stravinsky.
Ceased composing in the 1970s after his inspiration gradually diminished.
George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Original surname: Gershovitz.
Began a self study of the piano at age 12 and at 16 quit high school to work as a piano-playing song plugger for a music publishing company.
One of the first composers, along with Aaron Copland, to use jazz themes within classical music form.
His first song was "Swanee" published in 1916 and made popular in 1919 by Al Jolson.
Started writing for the musical theatre with "La, La Lucille", wrote all the music for the 1920-1924 annual shows of the "George White's Scandals". Collaborated with brother, Ira, on many more musicals.
Wrote "Rhapsody in Blue" in 1924, his most famous work.
Won the Pulitzer prize of 1932 for "Of Thee I Sing".
Brought American popular music to the concert stage.