Lullaby(1919), a meditative piece for string quartet. Originally, a class assignment from his music theory teacher.
Blue Monday, a one-act opera featured in George White's Scandals of 1922 at the Globe Theatre, Paul Whiteman conducting, orchestrated by Will Vodery.
· A Suite from Blue Monday for two pianos was later arranged by Gershwin and has been recorded.
· Reorchestrated by Ferde Grofé and retitled 135th Street in 1925 for a performance at Carnegie Hall.
Rhapsody in Blue, (1924), his most famous work, a symphonic jazz composition for Paul Whiteman's jazz band & piano, premiered at Aeolian Hall, better known in the form orchestrated for full symphonic orchestra. Both versions were orchestrated by Ferde Grofé. Featured in numerous films and commercials.
Short Story, (1925), for violin and piano, an arrangement of two other short pieces originally intended to be included with the Three Preludes. Premiered by Samuel Dushkin at The University Club of New York in New York City.
Concerto in F, (1925), three movements, for piano and orchestra, premiered in Carnegie Hall by the New York Symphony Orchestra, Walter Damrosch conducting.
II. Adagio - Andante con moto - Adagio
III. Allegro agitato
An American in Paris (1928), a symphonic tone poem with elements of jazz and realistic Parisian sound effects, premiered in Carnegie Hall by the New York Philharmonic, Walter Damrosch conducting.
Dream Sequence (1929) A five minute instrumental interlude, meant to portray a mind reeling into the dream state. Different music than the "Rhapsody in Rivets" sequence, which later was expanded and rescored into the Second Rhapsody. Other musical sequences went unused that Gershwin created for Delicious (film), Fox Film Corporation declined to use the rest of his score.
Second Rhapsody (1931), for piano and orchestra, based on the score for a musical sequence from Delicious (film). Working title for the work was Rhapsody in Rivets. Premiered at the Boston Symphony Hall by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky conducting.
Cuban Overture (1932), originally titled Rumba, a tone poem featuring elements of native Cuban dance and folk music; score specifies usage of native Cuban instruments, premiered at the Lewisohn Stadium of the City University of New York, Gershwin conducting.
March from Strike Up the Band (1934) is a very popular musical interlude from the 1927 stage musical of the same title.
Variations on "I Got Rhythm" (1934), a set of interesting variations on his famous song, for piano and orchestra. Premiered at the Boston Symphony Hall by the Leo Reisman Orchestra, conducted by Charles Previn.
Includes a waltz, an atonal fugue, and experimentation with Asian and jazz influences
Porgy and Bess, a folk opera (1935) (from the book by DuBose Heyward) about African-American life, now considered a definitive work of the American theater, premiered at the Alvin Theatre, Alexander Smallens conducting.
Contains the famous aria "Summertime", in addition to hits like "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'" and "It Ain't Necessarily So".
Porgy and Bess has also been frequently heard in the concert hall, one suite fashioned by Robert Russell Bennett, Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture is relatively popular.
Catfish Row (1936), a five movement suite based on material cut from Porgy and Bess before its Broadway premiere.
I. Catfish Row
II. Porgy Sings
V. Good Morning, Brother
Score to Shall We Dance (1937 film), (1937) ENTIRE SCORE: This was the first full movie score composed and orchestrated by Gershwin, excluding the score for Delicious (film) which was almost completely rejected by Fox Studios. This massive score includes a final extended 8-minute orchestral passage based on the title song with an intruiging coda hinting at Gershwin forging a new musical path.
Hoctor's Ballet , this piece features glissandos, rapid shifts in key, and the most extensive parts Gershwin wrote for the harp; written by Gershwin specifically for the ballerina Harriet Hoctor
Premiere live concert performance of Hoctor's Ballet occurred on July 28, 2007 at the Severance Hall Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio; Loras John Schissel conducting the Blossom Festival Orchestra.
Walking the Dog, a humorous piece for chamber orchestra featuring the clarinet and the piano. Besides Hoctor's Ballet, this is the only published musical sequence from the movie Shall We Dance. Originally entitled "Promenade."
Other purely orchestral pieces from the score that remain unpublished:
Overture to Shall We Dance , a propulsive, frenetic movement in Gershwin's urban music mode
Waltz of the Red Balloons , a waltz with unusual tonalities
Rumba Sequence , completely different music than the Cuban Overture
(I've Got) Beginner's Luck (dance) , written to accompany a scene of Astaire's rehearsing to a "record" which eventually skips
They Can't Take That Away from Me : this sequence is in the form of a foxtrot, one of Gershwin's favorites from the score
Slap that Bass , a sparse musical sequence focusing on the rhythm sections of the orchestra
They All Laughed
Dance of the Waves , a barcarole
Graceful and Elegant , a pas de deux
French Ballet Class (for two pianos) , a galop, only about 20 seconds of this was used for the film
Shall We Dance/Finale & Coda , technically a continuation of the Hoctor's Ballet scene, but often noted as a separate musical number
Unknown Spanish Sequence , Gershwin composed a movement for the finale that went unused after he played it for the director, only exists in short score
The score is over 1 hour in length, the longest of all of Gershwin's orchestral works. Other musical numbers not listed here have vocals, but these can be omitted for live performance as vocal lines are doubled on other instruments. All other vocal/orchestral arrangements in the rest of the numbers were by Gershwin, with Robert Russell Bennett and Nat Shilkret acting under Gershwin's direction as assistants in the orchestration process of a few scenes in order to meet deadlines. It is unknown why none of these compositions have seen the light of day in the concert hall.
Most of the musicals Gershwin wrote are also known for their instrumental music, especially the overtures to many of his later shows.