Introduction To The Composer | George Gershwin

George Gershwin was born into a Russian, Jewish immigrant family on September 26th, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York.

Despite having a perfunctory musical education, and never really becoming very good at reading music, Gershwin was the first composer to successfully fuse the musical style of American jazz with those of the European symphonic tradition.

At the age of 16, he quit school to become a music publisher agent and was soon writing his own music, along with his brother Ira, a lyricist. The two would remain in musical partnership for the duration of Gershwin’s relatively short career.

An accomplished jazz pianist, some of Gershwin’s most notable songs are “The Man I Love”, “Lady Be Good”, and “Embraceable You”.

Billed as “An Experiment In Modern Music”, the 14-minute work for piano and orchestra titled, “Rhapsody In Blue” wowed its audience at its premiere in 1924. The title of this piece was suggested by Gershwin’s brother Ira after a painting by Whistler.

The success of “Rhapsody In Blue” lead to Gershwin being commissioned for a number of other works, including the popular opera “Porgy And Bess”, which is, to this day, the only American opera regularly performed internationally.

George Gershwin suffered an untimely death on July 11th, 1938, from a brain tumor in Beverly Hills, California at the age of 39.


Aaron Copland was born on November 14th, 1900, in Brooklyn, New York. The son of prosperous Lithuanian/ Russian Jewish immigrants, Copland showed a keen interest in music from an early age.At the age of 17, he began music composition lessons with Rubin Goldmark in New York, and by the age of 20 he travelled to Paris to train with the renowned musician Nadia Boulanger, with whom he studied for 4 years. Even considering his immigrant background, Aaron Copland came to be a leading figure in American music who strove to create a distinguishable American idiom by incorporating elements of jazz and folk music in his work.