George Gershwin (1898–1937), one of the twentieth century’s greatest songwriters, was among the first composers to realize the exciting potential of combining elements of jazz and popular song with the forms and instrumentation of symphonic music. Ever defensive about his lack of formal training, by his thirties Gershwin was the dominant voice of the Broadway musical and, following the success of Rhapsody in Blue, enjoyed praise by such ‘classical’ luminaries as Arnold Schoenberg.

This expert biography places Gershwin’s music within the context of his frenetic lifestyle to show how a teenage song-plugger became internationally renowned in a career that spanned a mere two decades. It also brings home the realization that Gershwin’s tragic death aged only 38 robbed us of untold musical treasures.

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