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Overview for George Gershwin
George Gershwin

George Gershwin


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Also Known As: Died: July 11, 1937
Born: September 26, 1898 Cause of Death: brain tumor
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: Music ...


In addition to his compositional skill, Gershwin was an amateur painter and art collector.

Oscar Levant tells of an overnight train trip taken with George Gershwin. When it came time to go to bed, George settled into the more comfortable lower berth leaving Levant to climb to the upper. He later recounted, "I adjusted myself to the inconveniences of the upper berth, reflecting on the artistic economic progression by which Paderewski has a private car, Gershwin a drawing room and Levant a sleepless night. At this moment my light must have disturbed George's doze, for he opened his eyes, looked up at me and said drowsily, 'Upper berth - lower berth. That's the difference between talent and genius'."

"This is the Gershwin miracle. These songs never age. Their ability to project unalloyed joy never diminishes. If performers occasionally need to speak to convey their wonder at this miracle, it's forgivable. Nothing they say speaks as directly or as magnificently as the songs themselves." --From "Fascinatin' Rhythms" by Howard Kissel, Daily News, February 8, 1998.

An incident described by George's friend, the publisher Bennett Cerf, "One day, I happened to remark that the score of one of his infrequent failures, Pardon My English, was below par. George demurred. All of us were sunbathing in the nude; George insisted that we all go inside while he proved his point by going through the score from opening chorus to finale. I can still see him sitting at the piano, stark naked, playing the songs and singing them too at the top of his voice."

"I'd like my music to keep people - all kinds of people - awake when they should be sleeping. I'd like my compositions to be so vital that I'd be required by law to dispense sedatives with each score sold." --George Gershwin.

"There is only one important thing in music and that is ideas and feelings. The various tonalities and sounds mean nothing unless they grow out of ideas. Not many composers have ideas. Far more of them know how to use strange instruments which do not require ideas. Whoever has inspired ideas will write the great music of our period." --George Gershwin.

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