26 September 1898, New York City, New York, USA, d. 11 June 1937, Beverly Hills, California, USA. One of the select group of all-time great American composers, as a youngster George Gershwin was a poor student, happy to spend his days playing in the streets. He eventually took up the piano when the family bought an instrument for his older brother, Ira Gershwin. He quickly showed enormous enthusiasm for music, taking lessons and studying harmony and theory. His taste was eclectic: he listened to classical music and to the popular music of the day, in particular the music of black Americans which was then gaining a widespread appeal. After becoming a professional musician in 1912, he played the piano at holiday resorts in upstate New York, and worked as a song plugger for the renowned Remick Music Company. He continued with his studies and began to write music. His first songs were undistinguished, but attracted the attention of important figures such as Sophie...
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