The songwriter of the month for September, 2016 is George Gershwin.
George Gershwin, born as Jacob Gershwin, was born on September 26, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents emigrated from Russia and married in New York in 1895. Their first son, Israel (Ira) was born in 1896. The parents bought a piano and paid for lessons for Ira, but it was George who fell in love with the piano and took up the lessons. A prodigious talent, he studied classical piano by day and fell in love with popular music by night.
Like many young budding songwriters, George got his first job early, aged 15, at Tin Pan Alley as a song plugger. He published his first song at the age of 17 and earned fifty cents for his effort.
In the next 22 years, he was the great composer of the Jazz Age, writing songs for Broadway musicals, films (with his brother Ira writing lyrics) and the opera Porgy and Bess. He also wrote concert pieces, including An American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue and Piano Concerto in F.
George Gershwin died from a brain tumor in Las Angeles on July 11, 1937. He was 39 years old.