Gershwin Spectacular Tickets
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Marked by originality, taste, and musicianship, George Gershwin was a popular American music composer of the 20s and 30s. Along with his brother Ira, he wrote music to suit every taste, from serious orchestral music to some of the best-loved musicals of all time.
He during his short life, composed of over 860 songs including many hit songs such as, I Got Plenty O Nuttin, Lets Call the Whole Thing Off, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Summertime, Rhapsody in Blue, and the tone poem American In Paris.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, September 26, 1898, George at a very young age showed interest and talent for the piano. Very soon he started playing popular songs of the day by ear. He immediately began working in New York's 'Tin Pan Alley' (named for the 'tinny' sound of the pianos) as a 'song plugger,' a musician hired by publishing companies to play their published songs for customers.
In the next few years, Gershwin also began to write his own music, a skill that brought him much fame and admiration in the future. Being a songwriter, Gershwin was accomplished at the piano, and he had a desire to undertake classical training. He began studying piano in 1912, and also took lessons in theory and composition with such notable names as Joseph Schillinger and Henry Cowell.
He worked as a rehearsal pianist and accompanist for the next several years and captured the attention of another Tin Pan Alley publishing company, T.B. Harmes, but this time as a composer. The company signed Gershwin, now 20, to a writer's contract and things moved very quickly from this point.
He achieved his dream of writing the entire score for a show with the farce La La Lucille in 1919 and by 1920 was becoming quite well-known in New York theaters (and party) circles. Rhapsody In Blue written in 1924, was the first of Gershwins classical pieces.
Gershwin wrote it for a concert given by bandleader and violist Paul Whiteman and his Palais Royal Orchestra. The concert was called Experiment in Modern Music and it was given in New Yorks Aeolian Hall. This piece was a success right from the first performance.
In the audience that night was Walter Damrosch, the composer and conductor of the New York Symphony. Damrosch approached George the following year, and asked him to write a piano concerto for the Symphony Society of New York.
The Concerto in F was a huge success, becoming the first American concerto to find a secure place in the concert repertoire. In July, 1925, George Gershwin became the first American composer to be featured on the cover of Time magazine.
His piece, An American In Paris, written in 1928 was a tone poem, which is a story written to music. It had no piano, and the percussion included taxi horns. The idea for this work came from his trip to Europe. Much later, this tone poem was turned into a movie with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron that is still popular today.
Probably Gershwin's most famous work was Porgy and Bess; folk opera was an early attempt at description. Set among African-American residents of Charleston, South Carolina, Porgy and Bess includes the song Summertime, heavily recorded by both popular and classical artists. Gershwin continued to write popular songs and musicals; 1930 brought the successful show Girl Crazy and its catchy yet strikingly complex hit number I Got Rhythm. The 1932 show Of Thee I Sing was especially notable for its crackling political satire.
In 1936 he and Ira moved to Hollywood and wrote exclusively for films, including 2 in which he was reunited with Fred Astaire (Shall We Dance? and Damsel in Distress, 1937). He was working on the music for The Goldwyn Follies in 1937, when he was stricken with an inoperable brain tumor. He died on July 11, at the age of 39.
It was not only the American public that loved Gershwin's spectacular concert works. They were widely performed in Europe, where they shaped the jazz inflections that began to creep into the music of such composers as Maurice Ravel. Part of Gershwins classical repertoire include the Concerto in F, the Second Rhapsody, and the three piano Preludes, which are still standard for concerts and recitals today.
The playfully charged character of his compositions still communicates to us, generations later. During the 1920s Gershwin's piano-playing was captured on 78s in rare acoustic recordings of his show-tune improvisations; Gibbons' note-for-note reconstructions of Gershwin's improvisations, transcribed by Gibbons directly from these original recordings, give a flavor of the unique and spectacular piano style that made Gershwin's piano-playing so famous.
His songs are playable and recognizable whatever the current musical vogue; his serious works are programmed regularly by symphony orchestras, many of which have annual all Gershwin programs.
In 2009 Dustin Gledhill, an American-born pianist who has come to critical acclaim with over twenty first-prizes in national and international competitions will be playing some of the spectacular Gershwin compositions featuring the top scores including Rhapsody in Blue, Cuban Overture, selections from Podgy and Bess, An American in Paris and songs from the Gershwin songbook.
Since his prodigal start, Mr. Gledhills career has taken him across Western Europe, Russia and North America, with top prizes in such competitions as the New Orleans International Piano Competition (Gold Medalist in 2006 and the Debussy/Ravel Prize in 2005), Hilton Head International Piano Competition, the Junior Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, the International Stravinsky Awards and many others.