- Courtesy of the Bettman Archive
About George Gershwin
George Gershwin, born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 26, 1898, began his musical training at 13. At 15, he left high school to work as a Tin Pan Alley "song plugger," and within three years, he had his first song published. Just a few years later, in 1919, Al Jolson's performance of Gershwin's "Swanee" brought the songwriter his first real fame. In 1924, when George teamed up with his older brother Ira, the Gershwins became the dominant songwriters on Broadway.
The extraordinary collaboration between the brothers Gerswhin produced such classic musical comedies as Lady, Be Good! (1924), Oh, Kay! (1926), Strike Up the Band (1927/30), Girl Crazy (1930), and Pardon My English (1933), all of which are featured in new cast recordings for the Nonesuch Records Gershwin Series, along with Standard & Gems, a collection of Gershwin classics performed by Dawn Upshaw, Audra McDonald, Judy Blazer, and others.
Nonesuch has also released two albums of piano music by George Gershwin featuring his original 1920s piano rolls digitally transferred to a contemporary concert grand piano.
George Gershwin died an untimely death of a brain tumor at the age of 38.
September 15, 1995
This second volume of Gershwin’s piano rolls draws from ragtime, early jazz, the blues, and Tin Pan Alley for a vivid sound portrait of the years between 1916 and 1920. As a teenage song-plugger, Gershwin made his name interpreting these lively tunes; over 130 of his performances were made into piano rolls, now restored and made available digitally for the first time on this recording.