George Gershwin Rodney Greenberg

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George Gershwin (1898–1937), one of the twentieth century's greatest songwriters, was among the first composers to realize the exciting potential of combining elements of jazz and popular song with the forms and instrumentation of symphonic music. Ever defensive about his lack of formal training, by his thirties Gershwin was the dominant voice of the Broadway musical and, following the success of Rhapsody in Blue, enjoyed praise by such 'classical' luminaries as Arnold Schoenberg.

This expert biography places Gershwin's music within the context of his frenetic lifestyle to show how a teenage song-plugger became internationally renowned in a career that spanned a mere two decades. It also brings home the realization that Gershwin's tragic death aged only 38 robbed us of untold musical treasures.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Size: 220 x 156 mm (8 5/8 x 6 1/8 in)
  • Pages: 240 pp
  • 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

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