George GershwinRodney Greenberg

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George Gershwin (1898–1937), during his short but prolific career, produced a varied body of work that combined symphonic composition with the musical styles popular in his era, including jazz and Negro spirituals. Known primarily for his jazz-tinged orchestral work Rhapsody in Blue, his folk opera Porgy and Bess, and his many wonderful songs featured in the films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Gershwin and his lyricist brother Ira were key figures in the songwriting circles of pre-war America. Rodney Greenberg’s lively biography paints a vivid picture of this exciting era in the development of American music, and places Gershwin’s life and career within the social and cultural contexts in which he flourished.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Size: 220 × 156 mm (8 5/8 × 6 1/8 in)
  • Pages: 240 pp
  • Illustrations: 80 illustrations
  • ISBN: 9780714847726

Rodney Greenberg has produced and directed over 300 television music programmes, including the televised Promenade Concerts and three documentaries on George Gershwin.

"An excellent critical account of Gershwin's musical development in the social and musical context of the first three decades of the century."—BBC Music Magazine

"Sharply observed..."—Billboard

"...An insightful, well written book..."—Jewish Chronicle

"A handsome, illustrated Gershwin biography."—Daily Telegraph

"My best tip for Xmas stockings would be Rodney Greenberg’s concise and well organised study of the life and music of everybody’s centennial hero, George Gershwin."—BBC Music Magazine

On the 20th Century Composers Series

"As a series, Phaidon's 20th Century Composers has brought remarkable variety and a welter of information, both necessary and delightfully trivial. Intended both for the general reader and for the more enthusiastically musical."—The Scotsman