DAILY FUEL: George Gershwin – America’s Composer Matthew September 26, 2022 American composer GEORGE GERSHWIN was born in Brooklyn on this day in 1898, and attended Yiddish theater performances as a child. After beginning playing piano at age ten, young George left school at fifteen to begin work as a “song plugger” on Tin Pan Alley. He published his first song at age 17, and in 1919 had his first nationwide hit song with “Swanee”, which subsequently became a part of Al Jolson’s live shows and repertoire. Gershwin’s first (and best known) “major work”, “Rhapsody in Blue”, was created in 1924, combining jazz and classical structures and styles in an entirely new way. George Gershwin’s body of work included operas (“Porgy and Bess”), Orchestral works (“An American in Paris”) and a variety of Broadway shows and film scores. Dying at 38, he was the posthumous recipient of a special Pulitzer Prize and, along with brother Ira, the Congressional Gold Medal.