Saturday January 20, 2018 8:23 pm

"MR.MUSIC" - America's most popular and beloved composer
GEORGE GERSHWIN: Highlights of his life and times  

In the early 1920s, GERSHWIN collaborates with dancer-producer GEORGE WHITE on the vaudeville production of Scandals of 1920 (and the subsequent shows in the series through 1924), for which he writes songs that have since become famous - like Stairway  to Paradise and Somebody Loves Me; he becomes more exposed to "jazz" as interpreted by bandleaders like PAUL WHITEMAN, and attempts to write a "jazz opera" called Blue Monday - which fails. In 1923 he accompanies EVA GAUTHIER in a "Recital of Ancient  and Modern Music" that combines jazz with concert repertory.

G e r s h w i n   is    a c c l a i m e d   b y   t h e   c r i t i c s !

1920: The League of Nations is inaugurated; the first commercial radio station begins broadcasting in Pittsburgh; the 19th Amendment gives women the vote; Russia becomes first country to legalize abortion; prohibition begins.
1921: gershwin-sheik Band Aid plasters become available; Rudolf Valentino is a hit as The Sheik; Wassily Kandinsly founds the Academy of Arts and Sciences of all the Russias in Moscow; Russia suffers great FAMINE; Canadian scientists isolate INSULIN from human pancreas.
1922: gershwin-bbc2 USSR is proclaimed; Egypt declares independence; jazz becomes the rage in northeastern US; the British Broadcasting Company is founded; James Joyce publishes Ulysses in Paris, which is banned in the US and UK.
1923: gershwin-charleston The great Tokyo EARTHQUAKE kills 200,000; Germany is devastated by hyperinflation ($1 = 4,200 billion German Mark!!); Lenin retires due to poor health; Cotton Club opens in Harlem; the Charleston becomes the rage in dance; the YANKEE Baseball stadium opens; Henry Luce founds TIME Magazine; Cecille B. De Mille’s The Ten Commandments premieres in NY. gerhswin-time
1924: Gershwin begins work on Rhapsody in Blue on January 7, which premieres February 12 at the Aeolian Hall in NY to great critical acclaim; a few months later, he is commissioned by Walter Damrosch, conductor of the New York Symphony, to write his first truly symphonic work – Concerto in F(originally planned as the New York Concerto"); he and Ira produce their first full collaboration, Lady Be Good – which includes Fascinatin’ Rhythym, The Man I Love.

Lenin dies; Hitler writes Mein Kampf in prison; Republican Calvin Coolidge wins US election; MGM is founded; Native Americans are granted full citizenship; first Winter Olympics are held in Chamonix, France; Surrealist Movement is founded in France

1925: gershwin-chrylser Gershwin begins work on Concerto in F in July, which premieres on December 3, 1925 at Carnegie Hall with Walter Damrosch conducting; produces more musical comedies with Ira -Primrose, Tell Me More, Tip Toes, Three Piano Preludes.  

Ho Chi Minh founds Vietnamese Nationalist Party; Lux soap goes on sale; George Balanchine becomes principal choreographer of Ballets Russes; the new style, Art Deco, is introduced in Paris; the world’s first motel opens in San Luis Obispo; the Chrysler Corporation is founded; Josephine Baker is a hit in Paris; Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin is acclaimed.

1926 – 31: George and Ira produce more musical comedies: Oh, Kay! (1926), Strike Up the Band, Funny Face (1927), Rosalie, Treasure Girl (1928), Show Girl (1929), Girl Crazy (1930), Of Thee I Sing and songs and incidental music to the film Delicious (1931). Gershwin favorites: Someone to Watch over Me, Funny face, ‘S Wonderful, I’ve Got a Crush on You, Embraceable You, and I Got Rhythym are all from this period.In 1926, he reads Dubose Heyward’s Porgy and Bess. In 1928, he visits Europe where renews acquaintances with Ravel, Milhaud, Poulenc, Auric, Prokokiev, Alban Berg and William Walton; Rhapsody in Blue is performed by the Pasdeloup Orchestra and in April, a ballet rendering of Rhapsody is performed ; in May European premiere of Concerto in F takes place; he takes home with him a draft of An American in Paris, which premieres on December 13 at Carnegie Hall, Walter Damrosch conducting the New York Philharmonic. In 1930, he composes his Second Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra.

As these events take place in the rest of the world:

1926: gershwin-hirohito Emperor Hirohito’s reign begins in Japan; STALIN era begins in the USSR; Spanish architect Gaudi dies; Rudolf Valentino dies at 31; Skaggs establishes Safeway Stores; the British Commonwealth of Nations is established.
1927: gershwin-jolson3

Al Jolson stars in the first talking picture – THE JAZZ SINGER; Martha Graham opens her School of Contemporary Dance; architect Mies van der Rohe launches the INTERNATIONAL STYLE; gershwin-menuhin10-year old Yehudi Menuhin causes a sensation in Paris with his performance of Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole; Charles Lindbergh takes the Spirit of St. Louis on the first solo transatlantic flight; Isadora Duncan dies.

1928: Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin; first black and white TV sets go on sale in the US; Albert Szent-Gyorgi discovers Vitamin C; Republican Herbert Hoover wins US election; Walt Disney creates first Mickey Mouse cartoon; peanut butter goes on sale in the US. gershwin-mickeyskate
1929: gershwin-moma2 gershwin-oscarNazis become poweful in Germany; Popeye the Sailor is created by Elzie Seger; the Museum of Modern Art is founded in NY; the first Academy Awards are given in the US; STOCK MARKET crashes.


1930: Stalin orders collectivization of farms; US passes protectionist Smoot-Hawley bill and the Great Depression begins; worldwide unemployment soars; Chrysler Building is completed in NY; Pluto is discovered by American Clyde Tombaugh.
1931: Banks fail in Europe; Charlie Chaplin’s City of Lights is a big success; Alka Seltzer is introduced in the US; first movie starring Bela Lugosi is made; CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) are first produced for use in aerosols; Star Spangled Banner becomes US national anthem; Empire State Building, the world’s tallest, opens. gershwin-empire2
1932: Gershwin premieres Second Rhapsodywith the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Serge Koussevitsky in January; takes a pleasure trip to Havana in February, the inspiration for Cuban Overture which premieres with the New York Philharmonic under Albert Coates in August.

Agricultural depression hits US and Europe; first dishwasher goes on sale; RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL opens in NY; neon lights illuminate first f l a s h i n g advertisements in London’s Picadilly Circus; FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT wins US election.

1933-35: Gershwin signs contract for creation of Porgy and Bess after years of negotiation (1935); begins work on Porgy and Bess (1934); completes composition in early 1935, completes orchestration in September and rehearsals begin; October 10, Porgy and Bess opens at the Alvin Theater.

And the following events take place during this period:

1933: FDR holds series of radio fireside chats; US abandons gold standard; Nazis win German elections and Fascism sweeps Europe; exodus of German artists takes place; Imperial Chemicals Inc. makes first synthetic detergent.
1934: Mao Tse Tung begins the Long March; Donald Duck makes movie debut; Hitler becomes German President. gershwin-donald2b
1935: gershwin-kodakgershwin-benny3 introduces Kodachrome; Benny Goodman is "King of Swing";

gershwin-astaireFred Astaire and Ginger Rogers star in Irving Berlin’s Top Hat; Broadway is devastated by the Depression; FDR establishes the Federal Theater Project to provide employment for hundreds of out-of- work theater professional.

1936: gershwin-astaire3a George and Ira negotiate contract with RKO to do songs for Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical Shall we Dance; in August they move to the greener pastures of Hollywood, settling at Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills; George meets Arnold Schoenberg.

Spanish Civil War breaks out; FDR wins second term; Black American Jesse Owens wins 4 gold Olympic medals in Berlin; Salvador Dali opens International Surrealist Exhibition in London wearing a diving suit; Hitler opens first VW factory in Saxony; King Edward VIII abdicates.

1937: The Duke of Windsor marries Wallis Simpson; gershwin-goldgatethe Golden Gate Bridge opens to traffic in San Francisco; the first dry photocopier is devised by a Chester Carlson, law student; AEG/Telefunken makes first magnetic tape recorder; Amelia Earhart disappears; Bessie Smith dies; Jean Harlow, Hollywood’s first sex goddess, dies; Picasso displays his painting GUERNICA.

George and Ira deliver songs for Shall We Dance, A Damsel in Distress and The Goldwyn Follies; In February, George experiences a blackout during his performance of Concerto in F with the LA Philharmonic; he later suffers from severe headaches which are incorrectly diagnosed. On July 9, he lapses into a coma, undergoes brain surgery at the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles on July 10 for removal of a tumor. But it is too late. George Gershwin dies on the morning of July 11, 1937.


- © GJCajipe/FanFaire

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