Born Jacob Gershwine in Brooklyn on 26 September 1898. He changed the spelling of his name after becoming a professional musician.
In 1924 Gershwin composed his first classical piece ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, however he had already started his career in musical theatre and had a growing back-catalogue.
A year later in 1925, he completed his Concerto in F for Piano, a work that saw the return of a traditional classical concerto form, yet with the flare and distinct jazz influence so unique to Gershwin. Orchestra Vitae will perform Gershwin’s Piano Concerto with soloist Fionnuala Ward on Friday 2nd March 2018.
Gershwin first worked with Fox Film Corporation in 1929 when he was contracted to compose the score for the movie ‘Delicious’. However , only two of his pieces made the final film, which resulted in Gershwin refusing to work with Fox Film for seven years.
In 1936 he was commissioned by RKO Pictures to compose the score for ‘Shall we Dance’ starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The score marries Jazz with Ballet and took him several months to write and orchestrate.
In June 1937 Gershwin died of a brain tumour, having had it misdiagnosed several times.