George Gershwin would have been 114 years old today! Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1898, George’s music has become synonymous with America. He began his career as a ‘song plugger’ before starting to compose Broadway theatre shows with his brother Ira, who was his lyricist.
George was one of the few composers to successfully write classical and jazz genres incorporating both into his highly original style. His huge output includes the opera Porgy and Bess, orchestral works such as An American in Paris, and Rhapsody in Blue for piano and orchestra. He also wrote numerous film scores and his contributuion to the American Songbook is immense; many of his songs are now jazz standards.
Gershwin wrote few piano works but his Piano Concerto is a favourite in the concerto repertoire as is the Rhapsody in Blue, and I love playing the Three Preludes for solo piano. His tragic death from a brain tumour in 1937 at the age of just 39 robbed the world of a great talent.
Here are some memories:
For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my piano course, Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, the course features a large collection of progressive, graded piano repertoire from approximately Grade 1 to advanced diploma level, with copious practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.
You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.