The name of GEORGE GERSHWIN (Jacob Gershowitz) has become synonymous with early twentieth-century American music, combining jazz and classical musical devices. He was the son of Moishe and Rosa Gershowitz, Russian Jews from St. Petersburg who emigrated to America. At the age of 15 he began composing and performing songs, writing for New York publishers in the Tin Pan Alley circle. He created more than 700 songs (often based on lyrics by his brother Ira) that became hits in the genre and entered the repertoire of major musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Janis Joplin, Madonna, Sting and many others. At 18, he was already composing musicals with Ira as a librettist and soon became Broadway’s most popular author. He received the Pulitzer Prize for his production of Of Thee I Sing, and in 1935 appeared his celebrated opera Porgy and Bess, considered one of the most important American works of the twentieth century. In his short life of only 38 years, Gershwin wrote more than 30 music scores for stage works, seven film musicals, and the repertoire and now orchestral opuses Rhapsody in Blue, Piano Concerto in F, An American in Paris, and Cuban Overture.