Geroge and Ira, Feature for WDR

As Germans hail Bach, Brahms and Beethoven, Americans adore Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin. These three composers are considered the pride of American music. They developed a distinct American style mixing elements of European classical music with elements of Jazz. The oldest of the three was George Gershwin who would have been 100 on September 26. Almost everyone knows his Rhapsody in Blue or his opera Porgy and Bess. Fewer people are aware of the fact that Gershwin had a supporter in both works. In the case of the Rhapsody in Blue, his brother Ira came up with the title, and for the opera, Ira wrote the lyrics to several songs. Ira was two years older than georg and served as his lyricist for almost 20 years. When georg died of a brain tumor in 1937, he started cooperating with composers like Kurt Weill, Harold Arlen, and Aaron Copland. Although Ira survived his brother by 46 years, he never gained the same popularity, partially because he was a quiet and private person. As a tribute to George Gershwin's Centennial, Georg Hirsch has followed the tracks of both Gershwin brothers.

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