George Gershwin and Rhapsody in Blue.
In a period in which national American music was developing with composers of the caliber of Aaron Copland and others trained in Europe, George Gershwin, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, went some way towards bridging different styles of music which include Jewish, jazz and classical and entwined them together forming absolute music. George Gershwin was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 26, 1898. He had three other siblings; Ira, Arthur, and Frankie. George Gershwin's musical talent was noticed at an early age when the family bought a piano for Ira, the eldest child. As soon as it was moved in, George sat down and began to play. His parents were amazed having no idea he was interested in music or where he had learned to play (GirshwinFan 1). .
From that moment on, George began taking piano lessons. He received lessons from American music greats such as Rubin Goldmark, Henry Cowell, and Wallingford Riegger (Encarta 1). At the early age of 16, Gershwin began his professional career in "Tin Pan Alley-, a location where aspiring composers and songwriters would bring their work in hope of selling it. Gershwins first big hit in 1918 was the song "Swanee- which helped bring about his music to Broadway and established him as a "Tin Pan Alley- composer (Encarta 1).
During the late 20's, Gershwin songs were mainly found in popular musical Broadway productions such as Lady Be Good, Tip-Toes Oh Kay, and most importantly Of Thee I Sing. These musicals contain many songs, which have become a part of the American songbook. In 1924, Gershwin released his most famous work Rhapsody in Blue. This piano and clarinet piece opened the doors to concert halls everywhere for American composers. As Gershwin's fame and wealth spread, so did his social status. He began to appear on everyone's guest lists for dinner parties. After all, "An evening with Gershwin was a Gershwin evening- (Peyser 151).