George Gershwin (1898 - 1937) is an American composer that succeeded in many genres. He is famous for his musical comedies ("Funny Face"), pop songs( "Swanee"), orchestral work ("Rhapsody in Blue") and even an opera ("Porgy and Bess.")
Part of the ComposerFan.com family of sites, Gershwin Fan sports biographies of both George and his lyricist brother Ira, a complete listing of works, a collection of midi audio files, an image gallery, and a lively discussion forum. "George Gershwin was born Jacob Gershowitz on September 26, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York. The son of immigrant parents, George became one of America's first premier composers and his compositions are still used today as tool of teachers everywhere as examples of the American entrance to the musical world of Stravinsky, Chopin, Beethoven and Mozart."
George Gershwin Alone is a one-man show about Gershwin's life that recently closed in Chicago. Although you may never get to see the show, I recommend reading the Teacher's Study Guide that includes a short bio and a critical look at Gershwin's legacy. "Perhaps the best way to understand Gershwin is to look at the many ways he has been misunderstood by critics, performers, and other composers."
Be sure to have your speakers on when you enter my pick of the day site: the Official Gershwin Website. Best reason to visit is the Jukebox stocked with samples of forty Gershwin songs from "An American in Paris" to "A Woman is a Sometime Thing." Other great clicks are the illustrated biographies, multimedia timeline, and the film and CD anthology. "While today they [the Gershwin brothers] are best remembered for their individual song hits, their greatest achievement may have been the elevation of musical comedy to an American art form."
Although the Gershwin bio is brief, the links to other American Masters are priceless. As a companion to the its PBS television series of the same name, the American Masters database chronicles the lives of a hundred writers, comedians, stars, composers, film makers, actors, even chefs (Julia Child) and physicists (Albert Einstein.) PBS provides a list of Connected Artists along the right hand side. You can explore more by clicking on the genre button Music just to the right of the timeline.
George Gershwin "grew up in New York City and his precocious talent for music started early on a piano bought for his older brother Ira. . . . At the age of 16 he worked as a song plugger for a Tin Pan Alley publisher . . . ." Don't miss the menu items listed on the left (Biography, Discography, and Audio Clips) or Ira's page which is listed under Related Songwriters on the right-hand side. Also noteworthy is the Tin Pan Alley section (look in the middle of the horizontal menu near the top of the page) which explains its history and impact on the American music scene.