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George Gershwin wrote great songs and shows for the theatre, but he always fancied himself as a serious composer. And he was - in fact, one of the 20th century’s greatest.
Gershwin was intrigued by the modernist works of Berg, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Milhaud, and Schoenberg. He asked Schoenberg - who he also painted - for composition lessons. Schoenberg refused, reportedly saying ‘I would only make you a bad Schoenberg, and you're such a good Gershwin already.’
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