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George Gershwin

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George Gershwin was born Jacob Gershowitz on September 26, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York. George began his professional career in "Tin Pan Alley," a location in New York City where aspiring composers and songwriters would bring their scores to a publisher trying to sell the tunes for cash.

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 instantly famous, but it did begin to attract the attention of some of the Broadway composers of the day. During this time of professional growth, George kept his job as a rehearsal pianist and studied piano, theory and orchestration with the best of the best. George's first big hit was a song delivered by Al Jolson in the Broadway musical Sinbad. "Swanee" became an instant hit and propelled George's music before the Broadway audience regularly. In 1919, George composed the music for La, La Lucille, his first full musical score. From 1920 to 1924 he supplied producer George White with several songs for use in the immensely popular George White Scandals series. Behind Rhapsody in Blue, George is mainly known for numerous songs, which have become a part of the American songbook. The full scale collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin as composer/lyricist began in 1924 with the musical Lady Be Good!. The musical featured songs such as "Fascinating Rhythm" and "Oh, Lady, be Good" among others. One song, which was not included in the original production of Lady Be Good, was the very popular ballad "The Man I Love." After Lady Be Good, George teamed with Ira to create several musicals, including Tip-Toes, Oh Kay!, Strike Up the Band, Funny Face, Girl Crazy, & Of Thee I Sing. Songs featured from these musicals include "Clap Yo' Hands," "Strike Up the Band" and one which has enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity, "Someone to Watch Over Me."

Despite his success on Broadway, George decided to follow his success of Rhapsody in Blue with a few more pieces for piano and orchestra as well as piano solo, including Concerto in F (1925), Preludes for Piano (1926), and An American in Paris (1928). An American in Paris, which was written after George took a trip to the French city, is a tone poem, which transports the listener to the streets of Paris during the 1920's. In efforts to paint a realistic portrait



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