Childhood & Family (1898-1916)
George's parents, Morris and Rosa, were immigrants who came to America from St Petersburg in 1891.
George Gershwin was born Jacob Gershwine on September 26, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York. The son of immigrant parents, George became one of America's first premier composers.
George had two brothers, Arthur and Ira, and one sister, Francis (Frankie). Although George is the most well known of the family, his brother Ira was also a successful lyricist. George began to study music seriously at the young age of 12 years.
Early Professional Career (1916-1924)
George started his professional career in "Tin Pan Alley," a place in New York City where hopeful composers and songwriters would bring their scores to a publisher in hopes of selling the tunes for a humble amount of cash. As a "song plugger" for the Jerome Remick Company, George was exposed to thousands of songs, which gave him a better idea for what songs became popular.
Two years after he started work for Jerome Remick, George had his first song published. "When You Want 'Em You Can't Get 'Em" was not an instant hit for George, but it did begin to draw in some of the Broadway composers of the day.
George's first big hit was a song performed by Al Jolson in the Broadway musical Sinbad.. In 1919, George composed the music for La, La Lucille, this was his first full musical score. From 1920 to 1924 he supplied producer George White with several songs which were used in the hugely popular George White Scandals series.
The Broadway Years (1924-1929)
Behind Rhapsody in Blue, George is mainly known for numerous songs, which have become a part of the American songbook. Most of these were products of Gershwin's Broadway years. The full scale collaboration...