George Gershwin (September 26, 1898; Brooklyn, New York – July 11, 1937; Hollywood, California) was an American composer.
George Gershwin was born on September 26, 1898, in Brooklyn, New York. His family immigrated to the United States. Gershwin, his two brothers and sister had a close, happy family life. George liked playing games on the streets of New York. He liked exploring the city, but he did not like school or studying.
While exploring the city, Gershwin heard jazz and blues music spilling out of public drinking places. However, he did not become seriously interested in music until he heard another boy playing the violin in a concert at his school. Gershwin began to take piano lessons. His teacher was a fine classical musician. He immediately recognized Gershwin’s unusual ability. The teacher wrote about him to a friend: “I have a student who will make his mark in music, if anybody will. The boy is a genius, without doubt.”
Younger days as a student
Gershwin studied classical piano, and he was a first-rate pianist,but his strongest interest continued to be jazz and popular music. At the age of fifteen, he left school and went to work in the music business. The New York City street where most music publishers had their offices was called “Tin Pan Alley.”
The phonograph and radio had been invented in the late 1800s. But it would be many years before there were musical recordings or regular radio broadcasts. Tin Pan Alley publishers needed another way to sell new songs, so they employed people to play the piano to do this.
The piano players played the songs all day long to interested singers and other performers. Gershwin was one of the youngest piano players in Tin Pan Alley. Soon, he was considered one of the finest there. He was already writing his own songs. He succeeded in getting one published when he was only 18 years old. It had a long title: “When You Want ‘Em, You Can’t Get ‘Em, When You’ve Got ‘Em, You Don’t Want ‘Em. “