Author(s): Richard Crawford
New York City native and gifted pianist George Gershwin (1898-1937) blossomed as an accompanist before his talent as a songwriter opened the way to Broadway, where he composed a long run of musical comedies, many with his brother Ira as lyricist. But his aspirations reached beyond commercial success. Appealing to listeners on both sides of the purported popular-classical divide, his first instrumental composition, Rhapsody in Blue, was an instant classic. He pushed boundaries again a decade later with the groundbreaking folk opera, Porgy and Bess--his magnum opus. In 1936, he and Ira moved west to write songs for Hollywood, but their work was cut short when George developed a brain tumor. He died at thirty-eight, a beloved artist who had fashioned his own brand of American music. Drawing extensively from letters and contemporaneous accounts, acclaimed music historian Richard Crawford traces the arc of Gershwin's remarkable life, seamlessly blending colorful anecdotes with a celebration of his unforgettable music-making.