Study Guide, Section 3:
Biographical snapshots of some famous (and not-so-famous!) composers
Compiled by Kirk Whipple & Marilyn Morales
Dont plan a musical degree around this very arbitrary collection of facts and dates, but you might just discover something new and interesting about the worlds great music makers! Dont stop here, though. Check out a book about your favorite composer... We left out most of the really good stuff! Notice that major compositions, books, or other important intellectual works are italicized.Study Guide, Section 9C: Last Name List (requires password)
Born: Camprodon, Spain, May 29, 1860
Died: Cambo les Bains, France, May 18, 1909
A student of Liszt, Albéniz supported himself by playing piano on and off ships. Many of his compositions were titled after the ports he visited. Works include Iberia, Books 1, 2, 3, and 4 for piano.
Johann Sebastien Bach
Born: Eisenach, Thuringia, March 21 1685
Died: Leipzig, Germany, July 28, 1750
The world owes a great debt to Felix Mendelssohn for his rediscovery of Bachs music. For seventy-five years after Bachs death little of his music was published or performed. In 1829 Mendelssohn revived Bachs The Passion According to St. Matthew to an enthusiastic Berlin audience. Four years later a performance of The Passion According to St. John was given. By 1850 a growing appreciation of the genius of Bach inspired the formation of the Bach Gesellschaft, an organization dedicated to gathering and publishing all of his works, a project which took fifty years. Other works include The Well Tempered Klavier, six Brandenburg Concertos and Mass in B Minor.
Born: Nijni, Novgorod district, Russia, January 2, 1836
Died: St. Petersburg, Russia, May 29, 1910
A collector and editor of native songs and dances, Balakirev drew inspiration from of the folk music of Russia. He was influenced by Glinka and Liszt. Works include Tamara and Islamey.
Born: March 9, 1910, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Died: New York, New York, January 23, 1981
Barbers most famous work, Adagio for Strings is a favorite piece of Hollywood movie makers. One notable appearance of this elegaic piece was in the movie Elephant Man. Other works of musical importance include Essays for Orchestra Nos. 1 and 2 and his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.
Born: Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary, March 25, 1881
Died: New York City, September 26, 1945
Bartoks music was greatly influenced by his keen interest in the folk music of his country and surrounding areas. He traveled extensively to learn and catalogue these exotic rhythms and melodies. Three of Bartoks greatest works were finished in New York during the last years of his life. He finished Piano Concerto No. 3, Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, and Concerto for Orchestra while sick and living in utter poverty. Concerto for Orchestra was commissioned by Serge Koussevitsky on behalf of the Koussevitsky Foundation. Many piano students are familiar with Bartoks extensive works for students in six volumes, Mikrokosmos.
Count (William) Basie
Born: Red Bank, New Jersey, August 21, 1904
Died: Hollywood, Florida, April 26, 1984
Basies mother was his piano teacher. He received the rest of his musical education by playing with many jazz luminaries. Famous Basie tunes include One OClock Jump, April in Paris, and Jumpin at the Woodside.
Sir Arnold Bax
Born: Streatham, England, November 8, 1883
Died: Cork, England, October 3, 1953
Many of the works of Bax, especially his Symphonies, evoke a Celtic atmosphere.
Born: Henneker, New Hampshire, September 5, 1867
Died: New York, New York, December 27, 1944
An early Beach success was her Gaelic Symphony, based on Irish folk tunes; it was first performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Other works include Mass in E-flat Major, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, and Variations on Balkan Themes for Two Pianos.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Born: Bonn, Germany, December 16, 1770
Died: Vienna, Austria, March 26, 1827
The stormy nature of Beethovens darkest moments might easily be traced back to his horrible childhood. His father, Johann, was a drunken bully. Young Beethoven was forced by his father to practice sometimes until dawn, and as a reward for inevitably missing a few notes - or any other slight provocation - he received a beating. Mozart commented to Beethoven after hearing him perform, "You will some day make a big noise in the world." Beethoven dedicated his first three piano Sonatas, Opus 2 Nos. 1, 2 and 3 to Haydn, who was his teacher. In 1801 Beethoven realized he was going deaf. Some of his greatest works were written after he had completely lost his hearing. Among them were the Waldstein, Appassionata and Moonlight Sonatas for piano; Missa Solemnis, Ninth Symphony, and final String Quartets.
Born: Vienna, Austria, February 9, 1885
Died: Vienna Austria, December 24, 1935
He became most famous for his opera Wozzeck. Other works include opera, Lulu and Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.
Born: La Cote St. Andre, France, December 11, 1803
Died: Paris, France, March 8, 1869
A hopeless romantic, Berlioz was the personification of his era. At age twelve he fell in love with a girl six years his senior. While nothing ever came of it, after two rocky marriages and in the final years of his life, he sought her out. Both in their sixties - and to her complete amazement - Berlioz told her that she had been the only love of his life. One of his most famous works, Symphonie Fantastique, has some rather bizarre programmatic suggestions inspired by his turbulent love - and fantasy - life.
Born: Lawrence, Massachusetts, August 25, 1918
Died: New York, New York, October 14, 1990
Bernstein was a student of Walter Piston, Randall Thompson and Fritz Reiner. West Side Story established him not only as a conductor, but as a popular and skilled composer. Other works include Candide and Mass. He also wrote books, The Joy of Music and The Infinite Variety of Music.
Born: Paris, France, October 25, 1838
Died: Bougival (near Paris), France, June 3, 1875
His opera, Carmen was his biggest hit. He was lucky to see it as he died a scant three months after its premiere. Bizet was much like todays popular musicians in that he wanted people to leave a performance singing his melodies. We dare you to hear Carmen and walk out of the theater without humming or whistling one of the tunes. Go ahead... we double dare you! Other works include LArlésienne Suites Nos. 1 and 2 for Orchestra and Symphony in C Major.
Born: Indianapolis, Indiana, April 21, 1933
Works include compositions for various equal tempered tunings. If you have an hour or two, ask your piano tuner why we tune pianos to 12-tone equal temperament and not 15- or 17-tone equal temperament. For extra credit ask him why 19-tone equal temperament might be better if the piano keyboard could be redesigned. If your piano tuner digs algebra and wants to know more about your questions, tell him to pick up Mr. Blackwoods book, The Structure of Recognizable Diatonic Tunings.
Born: Geneva, Switzerland, July 24, 1880
Died: Portland, Oregon, July 15, 1959
A champion of Jewish music, Blochs works include Schelomo - Rhapsody for cello and orchestra and Israel Symphony. Other works include Concerto Grosso for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, Quintet for Piano and Strings, and an opera, Macbeth.
Born: Hohenkirchen, Germany, September 2, 1661
Died: Lüneberg, Germany, May 18, 1733
Bohms contributions include the development of the organ chorale partita. He wrote many of these.
Born: St. Petersburg, Russia, November 12, 1833
Died: St. Petersburg, Russia, February 27, 1887
Borodin made important contributions to both the fields of science and music. In addition to his musical works, Borodin was a graduate doctor and professor of chemistry. Works include (for orchestra) On the Steppes of Central Asia, Polovtsian Dances (from "Prince Igor"), Symphony No. 2 in B Minor, and an opera, Prince Igor.
Born: Paris, France, August 21, 1893
Died: Mézy, Seine-et-Oise, France, March 15, 1918
Sister of Nadia. Lili Boulangers early death was mourned as a tragic loss to the music world. Her early successes hinted at a brilliant career. Her cantata Faust et Hélène won her the Prix de Rome. She was the first woman to ever receive this prize. Other works include two symphonic poems, Dun soir Triste and Dun matin de printemps.
Born: Paris, France, September 16, 1887
Died: Paris, France, October 22, 1979
Sister of Lili. Conductor and teacher, Boulanger studied with Fauré. She was the first woman to conduct an entire program for the Royal Philharmonic Society. She taught many famous composers and teachers at the Paris Conservatory and her own American Conservatory in Fountainbleau.
Born: Hamburg, Germany, May 7, 1833
Died: Vienna, Austria, April 3, 1897
A prolific composer, the output of Brahms includes Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4, Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, and A German Requiem (for chorus). His two-piano arrangement of his orchestral work Variations on a Theme by Haydn is a favorite of duo pianists. His first symphony is nicknamed "Beethovens Tenth," in tribute to the transition that Brahms made between the classical and romantic eras. Like Beethoven, Brahms had a harsh childhood with difficult parents. Clara and Robert Schumann helped Brahms to become known in musical circles, and the three became famous friends.
Benjamin Britten, Lord of Aldeburgh
Born: Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, November 22, 1913
Died: Aldeburgh, England, December 4, 1976
Works include A Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra, Scottish Ballad for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, and operas Albert Herring and Billy Budd. Brittens opera Peter Grimes brought him international fame and was translated into eight languages.
Born: Cologne, Germany, January 6, 1838
Died: Friedenau (near Berlin), Germany, October 20, 1920
Works include Scottish Fantasy for Violin, Kol Nidrei for Cello, and several Choral Pieces.
Born: Empoli, Tuscany, Italy, April 1, 1866
Died: Berlin, Germany, July 27, 1924
Forced into a musical career at age 7 by his father, Busoni developed formidable pianistic skills and a highly technical compositional style. Works include a famous arrangement of Bachs Chaconne in D Minor.
Born: Lincolnshire, England, 1543
Died: Stondon Massey, Essex, England, July 4, 1623
Byrd was the foremost English composer during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. Byrd wrote several works for keyboard, Motets, Masses and Polyphonic Songs.
Born: Los Angeles, California, September 5, 1912
Died: New York, New York, August 12, 1992
Many composers made their reputation by "pushing the envelope" of conventional musical style and form. Cage gained famed by burning the envelope and asking the audience to question where the envelope went. He studied with Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg. Works include Music of Changes and 4 Minutes and 33 Seconds of Silence.
Born: Paris, France, August 8, 1857
Died: Monte Carlo, April 18, 1944
A French composer of salon music, Chaminade was very popular in England. Her works include Les Amazones.
Born: Paris, France, January 21, 1855
Died: Limay, Sein-et-Oise, June 10, 1899
Works include Symphony in B-flat Major and Poem for Violin and Orchestra.
Born: Zelazowa Wola (near Warsaw), Poland, February 22, 1810
Died: Paris, France, October 17, 1849
Chopins contribution to the piano repertory was unparallelled. He made a specialty of his love for the piano. Most of his 169 works are for solo piano. Works include Sonatas No. 2 and No. 3, 19 Nocturnes and 24 Preludes. The piano is used in his remaining works. Among these are Concertos for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 and No. 2, Rondeau for Two Pianos, and Piano Trio. Chopin was very proud of his Polish heritage, and Poland was (and still is!) proud of him. The national character of Poland comes through very strongly in his music. Chopins Mazurkas and Polonaises are especially demonstrative of the Polish spirit. Chopin first heard the form of the "nocturne" at a concert by John Field in 1832; he subsequently wrote 19 of them. One of the more interesting personal aspects of Chopins life was his involvement with the French novelist who called herself George Sand.
Born: Rome, Italy, January 23, 1752
Died: Evesham, England, March 10, 1832
While Mozart thought that Clementi lacked style as a composer, he admired Clementis technical skills. Works by Clementi include Piano Sonatas and Gradus ad Parnassum.
Born: Brooklyn, New York, November 14, 1900
Died: North Tarrytown, New York, December 2, 1990
Copland is recognized as one of the foremost American composers. His famous works include Appalachian Spring, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, ballets Billy the Kid and Rodeo.
Born: Fusignano, Italy, February 17, 1653
Died: Rome, Italy, January 8, 1713
A violinist as well as a composer, Corelli specialized in works for strings. One of his longer titles is Concerto Grossi con 2 Violini e Violoncello di Concertino Obbligati, e 2 Altri Violini, Viola, e Basso di Concerto Grosso ad Arbitrio che si Potranno Raddoppiare, Op. 6.
César Antonovich Cui
Born: Vilnius, Russia, January 18, 1835
Died: Petrograd, Russia, March 26, 1918
Cui was a student of Balakirev. He wrote many operas including The Mandarins Son, The Prisoner of the Caucasus, and A Feast in Time of Plague. He completed Mussogorskys opera The Fair at Sorotchinsk.
Born: Vienna, Austria, February 20, 1791
Died: Vienna, Austria, July 15, 1857
A student of Beethoven and a teacher of Liszt, Czerny is known most for his pianistic works, including Schule der Fingerfertigkeit and Schule der Gelaüfigkeit. Other works include an arrangement of Rossinis William Tell Overture for 16 Pianists, 4 Hands on 8 Pianos; and pieces for 3 Pianists, 6 Hands on 1 Piano.
Born: Saint-Germain-en-Laye (near Paris), August 22, 1862
Died: Paris, France, March 25, 1918
Though he disliked the term, Debussy was labelled an "Impressionist" along with many painters of his generation. His most famous works for orchestra are LAprès-midi dun faune and La Mer. His piano works include 24 Preludes (Books 1 and 2), Suite Bergamasque (which includes Claire de Lune), and Images. He wrote Lindaraja and En Blanc et Noir for two pianos and Petite Suite for one piano/four hands.
Born: Bradford, England, January 29, 1862
Died: Grez-sur-Loing, France, June 10, 1934
Works for orchestra include On Hearing the First Cuckoo of Spring, Summer Night on the River, Brigg Fair, and In a Summer Garden. He also wrote an orchestral suite, Florida, inspired by the time he spent in the state.
Born: Bergamo, Italy, November 29, 1797
Died: Bergamo, Italy, April 8, 1848
Operas: Don Pasquale, Lucia di Lammermoor. Inspired by the works of Rossini, Donizetti decided to become a composer and write in the style of Rossini. With his masterwork, Don Pasquale, Donizetti established himself as a composer in his own right.
Heinrich Ludwig Egmont Dorn
Born: Königsberg, Germany, November 14, 1800
Died: Berlin, Germany, January 10, 1892
Dorn founded the Rheinische Musikschule, which became the Cologne Conservatory. Works include operas Die Rolandsknappen, Das Banner von England, and Ein Tag in Russland.
Born: Paris, France, October 1, 1865
Died: Paris, France, May 17, 1935
"The Sorcerers Apprentice," which was immortalized in Disneys "Fantasia" (remember Mickey Mouse and all of those crazy brooms?) was his most famous work.
Born: Tschaslau, Bohemia, February 12, 1760
Died: St. Germaine-en-Laye, France, March 20, 1812
Works include Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, 34 Piano Sonatas, and 9 Sonatas for One Piano/Four Hands.
Born: Nelahozeves, Bohemia, September 8, 1841
Died: Prague, Czechoslovakia, May 1, 1904
Introduced to the songs of black singers by one of his music students in Iowa, Dvorak was inspired to subtitle his most famous work, Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, "From the New World." Other works include Slavonic Dances and Cello Concerto in B Minor.
Sir Edward Elgar
Born: Broadheath (near Worcester), England, June 2, 1857
Died: Worcester, England, February 23, 1934
Perhaps Elgars most famous work, Pomp and Circumstance is played at graduations. Other works include Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 2 in E-flat Major.
Born: Liveni-Virnav, Romania, August 19, 1881
Died: Paris, France, May 4, 1955
A very nationalistic composer, Enesco was a great promoter of Romanian folk music. His original works include Variations for Two Pianos, Op. 5; Romanian Rhapsodies No. 1 and No. 2; and an opera, Oedipus.
Manuel de Falla
Born: Cadiz, Spain, November 23, 1876
Died: Alta Garcia, Argentina, November 14, 1946
Works include El Amor Brujo, suite from ballet; The Three-Cornered Hat, suite from ballet; and Nights in the Gardens of Spain for piano and orchestra.
Born: Pamiers, Ariège, France, May 12, 1845
Died: Paris, France, November 4, 1924
Fauré was a teacher of an entire generation of French composers including Ravel. His works include Sonata No. 1 in A Major for Violin and Piano, Ballade in F-sharp Major for Piano and Orchestra, Pelléas et Mélisande, orchestral suite.
Born: Dublin, Ireland, July 26 1782
Died: Moscow, Russia, January 23, 1837
Field was a student, friend and colleague of Clementi. Field was credited with the invention of the nocturne. Chopin liked this musical form so much that he wrote 19 of them after hearing Field. Works by Field include 7 Concertos for Piano an Orchestra and 30 Nocturnes.
Born: Liége, Belgium, December 10, 1822
Died: Paris, France, November 8, 1890
For a composer who did not see public acclaim until the last year of his life, Franck was reputed to have the most sunny disposition. His works include Symphony in D Minor and Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra.
Born: Brooklyn, New York, September 26, 1898
Died: Hollywood, California, July, 11, 1937
I Got Rhythm, Summertime, The Man I Love, Someone to Watch Over Me, Embraceable You, It Aint Necessarily So... George wrote the music, and brother Ira wrote the lyrics to these and many other songs. Larger works by George include Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra and An American in Paris.
Born: Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 11, 1916
Died: Geneva, Switzerland, June 25, 1983
Ginasteras first wife, Mercedes de Toro, was a pianist. He wrote Cello Sonata and Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 2 for his second wife, Aurora Natola, a cellist. He was a great lover and proponent of Argentine folk music. Much of his music was inspired by Argentinean songs and dances. Other works include an opera Don Rodrigo, and (for piano) Danzas Argentines, and Sonatas Nos. 1, 2, & 3.
Born: St. Petersburg, Russia, August 10, 1865
Died: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, March 21, 1936
A student of Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazounov wrote 9 Symphonies. Other works include Suite for Two Pianos, Piano Sonata No. 1 and No. 2, and 7 String Quartets.
Michael Ivanovich Glinka
Born: Novospaskoï, Russia, June 1, 1804
Died: Berlin, Germany, February 15, 1857
Glinka was hailed as "the father of Russian music" for his pioneering use of Russian folk music. Works include operas A Life for the Czar and Ruslan and Ludmila, Symphony in B-flat Major, and 85 songs with piano accompaniment set to poems by Pushkin and Zhukovsky.
Cristoph Willibald Gluck
Born: Erasbach, Upper Palatinate, Bavaria, July 2, 1714
Died: Vienna, Austria, November 15, 1787
Gluck was important to the development of the opera. Among his more famous operas are Orfeo ed Euridice, Iphigénie en Aulide and Alceste.
Born: Paris, France, August 18, 1849
Died: Cannes, France, January 10, 1895
Works include operas Les Bijoux de Jeanette and Pedro de Zalamea, 2 piano trios and over 100 songs.
Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Born: New Orleans, Louisiana, May 8, 1829
Died: Tijuca (near Rio de Janeiro), Brazil, December 18, 1869
A composition student of Berlioz, Gottschalk was also influenced by Chopin and Liszt while in Paris. Much of his music, though, was inspired by childhood memories of Creole and Negro dances and songs. Works include Symphony for 10 Pianos (which was presented in what he called a "monster concert" in Madrid), El Sitio de Zaragoza (later transformed into Bunkers Hill by replacing Spanish tunes with American ones), and The Banjo (arrangements for both one and two pianos).
Born: Paris France, June 17, 1818
Died: Paris, France, October 18, 1893
Gounod made significant contributions to French opera. His most well known opera is Faust. Others include Mireille, Roméo et Juliet and Sapho. He wrote the famous melody over the Bach Prelude in C Major for his Ave Maria.
Born: Lérida, Spain, July 27, 1867
Died: at sea, March 24, 1916
Granados was a victim of the sinking (by a German submarine) of the S.S. Sussex in the English Channel. The first professional attention he received was for his zarzuela Maria del Carmen. Other works include (for piano) Danzas Españolas, Vols. 1, 2, 3, & 4; Goyescas, Vols. 1 & 2; and symphonic poems La Nit del Mort and Dante.
Born: Bergen, Norway, June 15, 1843
Died: Bergen, Norway, September 4, 1907
Grieg is Norways most celebrated composer. He drew much of his inspiration from the people, land and songs of Norway. Works include Piano Concerto in A Minor and Peer Gynt Suites No. 1 and No. 2. One of Griegs friends at the Conservatory at Leipzig was Arthur Sullivan, who was later to become one half of the famous comic opera team of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Born: Elmira, New York, September 17, 1884
Died: New York, New York, April 8, 1920
Works include (for piano) 3 Tone Pictures, Sonata in F, The White Peacock, and Shojo, Japanese pantomimic drama for 4 woodwinds, 4 muted strings, harp and percussion.
Born: New York, New York, March 27, 1892
Died: Santa Monica, California, April 3, 1972
Grofés scoring of Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue brought him fame. Works include Grand Canyon Suite, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, and a symphonic poem, Virginia City - Requiem for a Ghost Town.
George Frideric Handel
Born: Halle, Saxony, February 23, 1685
Died: London, England, April 14, 1759
Handel produced his most famous oratorio The Messiah in twenty-five days. This work was commissioned to raise funds for three charitable organizations. Other works include Water Music, oratorios Saul, Semele, Samson, and Judas Maccabaeus, and several Suites, Chaconnes and Fugues for piano.
Born: Renescure (near Dunkerke), July 2, 1819
Died: Boulogne-sur-Mer, March 19, 1900
Piano students the world over know of Hanons famous training exercises for pianists. Other works include 50 instructional pieces, Méthode Élémentaire de Piano, and a collection of 50 Ecclesiastical Chants.
Born: Chandler, Oklahoma, February 12, 1898
Died: Santa Monica, California, October 1, 1979
Harris was a student of Nadia Boulanger. His works include Symphony Nos. 3, 5 and 6, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, and Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra.
Born: Portland, Oregon, May 14, 1917
Harrison was an early proponent of the music of Ives, Ruggles, Varèse, and Cowell. Works include an opera Rapunzel; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra; and many works for gamelan including Suite for Violin and Gamelan; and Scenes from Cavafy for Baritone, Mens Voices and Gamelan.
Born: Rohrau, Lower Austria, March 31, 1732
Died: Vienna, Austria, May 31, 1809
A very prolific composer, Haydn wrote over 100 symphonies. His most famous works include Symphony No. 45, "Farewell," Symphony in G Major, No. 88 and 12 "London" symphonies. Other works include numerous String Quartets and oratorios The Creation and The Seasons. Haydn was employed by Prince Paul Anton Esterházy for three decades.
Born: Pesth, Hungary, May 15, 1813
Died: Paris, France, January 14, 1888
Heller was highly regarded as a pianist and a friend of Chopin, Liszt, and Berlioz. He wrote several hundred piano pieces including 4 sonatas and 3 sonatinas.
Born: Vienna, Austria, January 6, 1803
Died: Paris, France, January 5, 1888
Besides his fame as pianist and composer, Herz established a successful piano factory and, for his pianos, received first prize at the 1855 Paris Exhibition. His compositions courted popular tastes.
Edward Burlingame Hill
Born: Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 9, 1872
Died: Francestown, New Hampshire, July 9, 1960
Works include Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, and 3, Jazz Study for Two Pianos, and Scherzo for Two Pianos and Orchestra.
Born: Hanau (near Frankfurt am Main), Germany, November 16, 1895
Died: Frankfurt am Main, Germany, December 28, 1963
Hindemith received many offers to return to post war Germany. After escaping the Nazis, however, he became irreversibly connected to America. Works include Mathis der Mahler (symphony as well as an opera), Konzertmusik for string and brass instruments, Der Schwanendreher - Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. Hindemith, quite the violist, performed in string quartets on both violin and viola.
Gustav Theodore Holst
Born: Cheltenham, England, September 21, 1874
Died: London, England, May 25, 1934
Holsts orchestral suite The Planets is his most celebrated work. Other works include opera Sita, choral ballet The Golden Goose, and Double Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra.
Born: Paris, France, August 15, 1890
Died: Paris, France, February 5, 1962
Ibert received the Prix de Rome for his cantata Le Poète et la Fée. Other works include an opera Angélique, Concertino da Camera for Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra, and Histoires, 10 pieces for piano.
Born: Danbury, C&127;nnecticut, October 20, 1874
Died: New York, New York, May 15, 1954
Ives success in the insurance business gave him the financial security to pursue his musical ambitions. He published his most challenging piano work The Concord Sonata at his own expense and gave a copy to anyone who requested one. The movements in this work are named after literary greats Emerson, Hawthorne, The Alcotts, and Thoreau. The second movement requires the application of a strip of wood on the keys to produce tone clusters. Other works include Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Born: probably near Marshall, Texas, November 24, 1868
Died: New York, New York, April 1, 1917
While Joplin wrote a few orchestrated works, the only one to survive was his opera, Treemonisha. Most of his other works are for solo piano including Maple Leaf Rag, The Entertainer, Solace, and Pineapple Rag.
Born: St. Petersburg, Russia, December 30, 1904
Died: Moscow, Russia, February 14, 1987
Kabalevsky received his primary musical education at the Scriabin Music School. He went on to study with Miaskovsky. Works include (for orchestra) The Comedians and 4 Symphonies, operas Colas Breugnon and At Moscow, (for piano) 3 Sonatas, 30 Childrens Pieces, and 24 Simple Pieces for Children.
Born: Tiflis, Russia, June 6, 1903
Died: Moscow, Russia, May 1, 1978
Khatchaturian composed music inspired by the folk songs and dances of his native Armenia. Works include Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and 2 Symphonies.
Born: Keczkemét, Hungary, December 16, 1882
Died: Budapest, Hungary, March 6, 1967
A good friend of Bartoks, Kodaly eulogized him at a memorial concert in Hungary. The two traveled extensively together through Hungary to chronicle its folk music. Kodálys works include Háry Janós, orchestral suite and opera, and Dances from Galánta (for orchestra).
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Born: Brünn, Austria, May 29, 1897
Died: Hollywood, California, November 29, 1957
Korngold was only 11 when his pantomime Der Schneeman was produced at the Vienna Hopofer. Other works include an opera Der Tote Stadt, String Quartets Nos. 1 & No. 2, and Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.
Born: Vienna, Austria, August 23, 1900
Died: Palm Springs, CA, December 22, 1991
Kreneks first wife was Mahlers daughter, Anna. They divorced two years later. Kreneks first musical success was his opera, Jonny Spielt Auf, which was translated into 18 languages. Other works include 3 short operas: Der Diktator, Das Geheime Königsreich, and Schwergewicht oder Die Ehre der Nation.
Born: Ülzen (near Hanover), Germany, September 11, 1786
Died: Copenhagen, Denmark, March 12, 1832
A champion of the works of Beethoven, Kuhlau went to Copenhagen in 1810 to avoid conscription to Napoleons army. Works include operas The Magic Harp, Lulu and The Robbers Castle as well as Sonatinas for Piano and other works for Two Pianos and One Piano/Four Hands.
Born: Lille, France, January 27, 1823
Died: Paris, France, April 22, 1892
Lalos first public success came just before his fiftieth birthday with the premier of his Divertissement for Orchestra. Other works include Symphonie Espagnole for Violin and Orchestra, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra.
Born: Havana, Cuba, August 7, 1896
Died: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, November 29, 1963
With his dance band "Lecuonas Cuban Boys" Lecuona toured South America, Europe and the United States. He wrote Malagueña, La Comparsa, Siboney, Andalucia, and several zarzuelas.
Born: Honolulu, Hawaii, September 2, 1915
Born: Hamburg, Germany, October 19, 1819
Died: Lübeck, Germany, August 26, 1896
Born: St. Petersburg, Russia, May 11, 1855
Died: Polynovka, Novgorod district, Russia, August 28, 1914
Liadov was a teacher of Prokofiev and Miaskovsky. Many of his works possess the imaginative quality of Russian fairy tales. Works for orchestra include Baba Yaga, The Enchanted Lake, and Kikimova.
Born: Raiding, Hungary, October 22, 1811
Died: Bayreuth, Bavaria, July 31, 1886
Liszt earned the reputation of one of the greatest pianists that ever lived. He studied piano with Czerny and composition with Salieri. Before Liszt, the tradition was for the pianist to perform either facing the audience or with his back to it. Aware of his handsome countenance and the effect it had upon his female admirers, he was the first to perform with the piano in the profile position. His Concertos for Piano and Orchestra, No. 1 and No. 2 are among the most challenging in the repertoire. Other works include Hungarian Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, Mephisto Waltz, Piano Sonata in B Minor and Reminiscences of Don Juan for Two Pianos.
Born: Florence, Italy, November 28, 1632
Died: Paris, France, March 22, 1687
In 1672 Lully acquired sole right to form an "Académie Royale de Musique" under the authority of the King of France. Lully had a long partnership with librettist Phillipe Quinault. Subjects of their operas usually glorified the king. Lullys works include operas Les Fetes de LAmour et de Bacchus, Cadmus et Hermione, and Psyché; (ballets) Alcidiane, LImpatience, and Les Arts; also 6 Grands Motets for Two Choirs and Orchestra.
Born: Kalischt, Bohemia, July 7, 1860
Died: Vienna, Austria, May 18, 1911
Obsessed with creating works of grand stature, Mahler focused on large symphonic works. Among his works are 9 Symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde - song cycle for tenor, alto (or baritone) and orchestra.
Born: Policka, Czechoslovakia, December 8, 1890
Died: Liestal (near Basel, Switzerland), August 28, 1959
Martinu was a pupil of Suk at the Prague Conservatory. Although Martinu spent most of his life away from his native country, he remained spiritually and musically faithful to his homeland. He composed Memorial to Lidice in tribute to a village where the Nazis executed all men and boys over the age of 16 in retaliation to the assassination of a local Nazi official. Works include 6 Symphonies, Fantaisie for Two Pianos, Three Czech Dances for Two Pianos, operas The Soldier and the Dancer, Comedy on a Bridge (radio opera), and Greek Passion.
Born: Livorno, Italy, December 7, 1863
Died: Rome, Italy, August 2, 1945
No other two operas in the repertory are paired together as often as Leoncavallos Pagliacci and Mascagnis first effort, Cavalleria Rusticana. Mascagni wrote fourteen other operas, but none of these added to his prominence or wealth. He was quoted as saying "It is a pity that I wrote Cavalleria Rusticana first. I was crowned before I became king."
Born: Montaud, France, May 12, 1842
Died: Paris, France, August 13, 1912
The French critics use the word "Massenetique" to describe beautifully melodic music which, while perhaps shallow, is nevertheless seductive to the listener. Massenets works include the operas Manon, Thaïs, Hérodiade, Werther, Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame, Don Quichotte and Sapho.
William Allaudin Mathieu
Born: July 3, 1937, Cincinnati, Ohio
Mathieu wrote for the Stan Kenton band. He is the author of three books: The Listening Book, The Musical Life and Harmonic Experience. The latter, Mathieus epic treatise on harmony, is dedicated to his teacher, Pandit Pran Nath. Mathieu also studied with Easley Blackwood. Albums include In the Arc of Your Mallet and Available Light. The latter features a track with vocalist Bobby McFerrin. Whipple & Morales have recorded Mathieus Wedding Music for Two Pianos. At the time of this publication a recording featuring Mathieus Gourd Music for solo piano (performed by Whipple), a yet untitled multi-track composition (performed by Mathieu) and Wedding Music is in the works.
Born: Hamburg, Germany, February 3, 1809
Died: Leipzig, Germany, November 4, 1847
While Mendelssohns life was short, he was very happy for most of it. He was born into wealth and position. Unlike many of the great composers he never wanted for money, fame or success in his lifetime. His works include Concerto in E Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Concerto No. 1 in G Minor for Piano and Orchestra, and Songs Without Words for Piano.
Born: Cadigliano, Italy, July 7, 1911
One of the most successful opera composers since Puccini, Menottis works include operas Amelia Goes to the Ball, The Medium, The Consul, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.
Born: Avignon, France, December 10, 1908
Died: Paris, France, April 27, 1992
Messiaen was taken prisoner at the outbreak of World War Two in 1939. He spent two years in a German prison camp in Görlitz, Silesia. There he composed Quartet for the End of Time. For violin, clarinet, cello and piano, it was premiered in Stalag 8A with the composer at the piano. Other works include Visions de lAmen for Two Pianos, opera St. François dAssise, and 7 Haï Kaï for piano, 13 Wind Instruments, Xylophone, Marimba, 4 Percussion Instruments, and 8 Violins. Pupils of Messiaen include composers Boulez, Stockhausen, and Xenakis.
Born: Aix, Provence, September 4, 1892
Died: Geneva, Switzerland, June 22, 1974
Milhauds two-piano arrangement of Scaramouche was originally written for clarinet and orchestra. Other works include Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Le Bal Martiniquais for Orchestra (also for two pianos), Suite Provençale for Orchestra and several String Quartets.
Thelonious "Sphere" Monk
Born: Rocky Mount, North Carolina, October 10, 1917
Died: Engelwood, New Jersey, February 17, 1982
Most of Monks life was spent in Harlem, where he played in nightclubs for a living. Crepuscule With Nellie was named after his wife. Other famous tunes by Monk include Round Midnight, Epistrophy, and Rhythm-a-ning. His tune Criss Cross was used by composer Gunther Schuller in his Variations on a Theme by Thelonius Monk.
Wolgang Amadeus Mozart
Born: Salzburg, Austria, January 27, 1756
Died: Vienna, Austria, December 5, 1791
Mozart was one of the most prodigious and prolific composers of all time. His enormous output of over 600 works includes 20 Sonatas, 25 Concertos for Piano and Orchestra, operas Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro, Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos, Sonatas in D Major and F Major for One Piano / Four Hands, Eine Kleine Nacht Musik for strings, Symphony No. 35 in D Major ("Haffner"), and Symphony No. 41 in C Major ("Jupiter"). Mozarts famous rivalry with composer Salieri was the source of the play and movie "Amadeus."
Born: Karevo, Pskov district, Russia, March 21, 1839
Died: St. Petersburg, Russia, March 28, 1881
Rimsky-Korsakov completed and orchestrated Mussogorskys Night On Bald Mountain. Other works by Mussogorsky include Boris Godunov, opera and Pictures at an Exhibition - for piano, and also orchestrated by Ravel.
Born: Edgeworth, Pennsylvania, November 25, 1862
Died: New Haven, Connecticut, February 17, 1901
Nevin was a popular American composer. His works include pantomime Florianes Dream, cantata The Quest, and piano suites Water Scenes, A Day in Venice, and Maggio in Toscana.
Born: Cologne, Germany, June 20, 1819
Died: Paris, France, October 4, 1880
His opera Tales of Hoffmann was Offenhachs greatest and most enduring work. Other works include comic operas Orpheus in the Underworld, La Belle Hélène and La Vie Parisienne.
Born: Nuremberg, Germany, September 1, 1653
Died: Nuremberg, Germany, March 9, 1706
Pachelbel became a pop star centuries after his death with numerous recordings of one of the few works of his that gets performed today. If you go to enough weddings you will surely hear his Canon in D Major.
Born: Genoa, Italy, October 27, 1782
Died: Nice, Sardinia (now France), May 27, 1840
After hearing Paganini perform, Liszt aspired to become the "Paganini of the Piano." Paganinis gaunt appearance and other-worldly abilities on the violin created rumors and then legends that he was in league with the devil. His works include Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra and 24 Caprices for Violin.
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Born: Jesi (near Ancona), Italy, January 4, 1710
Died: Pozzuoli (near Naples), Italy, March 16, 1736
Pergolesi accomplished much in his short life of twenty-six years. Works include Salve Regina in C Minor, Stabat Mater in F Minor, comedia musicale Il Flaminio and two act intermezzo La Serva Padrona.
Born: Paris, France, January 7, 1899
Died: Paris, France, January 30, 1963
Poulenc was born into a wealthy family of pharmaceutical manufacturers. He became a member of the famous group of composers known as "Les Six," which included Auric, Durey, Honneger, Milhaud, and Tailleferre. Works include a religious opera Dialogues de Carmélites, Histoire de Babar le Petit Elephant for Narrator and Piano, Sonata for One Piano/Four Hands, Sonata for Two Pianos, Elégie for Two Pianos, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, and Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra.
Born: Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine, April 23, 1891
Died: Moscow, Russia, March 4, 1953
Prokofiev studied composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Rimsky-Korsakov, Tcherepnin and Liadov. Prokofievs revolutionary style of writing made him a target from critics around the world and Russian government officials. He was successful during his lifetime, but his music did inspire controversy. Works include Piano Concerto No. 3, Peter and the Wolf, Lieutenant Kije, 8 Sonatas for Piano, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, and Symphonies No. 5 and No. 6.
Born: Lucca, Italy, December 22, 1858
Died: Brussels, Belgium, November 29, 1924
Puccini came from a long line of musicians. If he had followed the traditions of his family he would have been remembered as a small-town teacher and choirmaster. After years of struggle his opera, Manon Lescaut brought him to prominence. His most famous operas include La Boheme, Tosca and Madama Butterfly.
Born: Onega, Novgorod district, Russia, April 1, 1873
Died: Beverly Hills, California, March 28, 1943
Rachmaninoff pulled off a triple play in his careers as composer, pianist and conductor. His works include Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for Piano and Orchestra, The Isle of the Dead, and Suites No. 1 and No. 2 for Two Pianos.
Born: Dijon, France, September 25, 1683
Died: Paris, France, September 12, 1764
Rameau was a composer, organist and music theorist. His writings include Traité de lHarmonie and (an introduction to this work) Nouveau Système de Musique Théorique. Musical works include tragédies en musique Samson, Hippolyte et Aricie, and Castor et Pollux. He also wrote many works for the clavecin, an early keyboard.
Born: Cibourie, France, March 7, 1875
Died: Paris, France, December 28, 1937
When Ravel was writing his epic piano work, Gaspard de la Nuit, one of his stated goals was to write a composition as technically difficult as Balakirevs Islamey. Other works by Ravel include Rapsodie Espagnole (for orchestra, and also for one piano / four hands), Piano Concerto in G Major, Piano Concerto for the Left Hand Alone and (for piano) Jeux deau, and Miroirs.
Born: Brand, Upper Palatinate, Bavaria, March 19, 1873
Died: Leipzig, Germany, May 11, 1916
Works include Piano Quintets, Violin Sonatas, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, and his most distinguished sacred work Psalm C.
Born: Bologna, Italy, July 9, 1879
Died: Rome, Italy, April 18, 1936
Works by Respighi include Toccata for Piano and Orchestra and (for orchestra) Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome and The Birds.
Born: Colfax, California, June 24, 1935
Riley played piano and saxophone in cabarets in Paris and Scandinavia. He followed his musical mentor, Pandit Pran Nath to India to study. Works include In C for Variable Ensemble, "notated in fragments to be played any number of times at will in the spirit of aleatory latitudinarianism, all within the key of C Major, with an occasional F-sharp providing a trompe loreille effect." Another work is Song of the Emerald Runner for voice, piano, string quartet, sitar, tabla, and synthesizer.
Born: Tikhvin, Novgorod district, Russia, March 18, 1844
Died: St. Petersburg, Russia, June 21, 1908
Rimsky-Korsakov was the dean of the national school of composers known as "The Russian Five" founded by Balakirev. Among the most famous students of Rimsky-Korsakov were Liadov, Arensky and Glazounov. Works include Scheherazade, Capriccio Espagnol, Russian Easter Overture, Antar Symphony, and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra.
Born: Sagunto, Valencia, Spain, November 22, 1901
Rodrigo lost his sight as a child. He studied with Dukas. A theme from Rodrigos most famous work Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra was lifted by Chick Corea in Coreas latin jazz fusion piece Spain. Rodrigos guitar concerto is the hands down popular choice for classical guitarists wishing to perform with an orchestra. Other works include Heroico for Piano and Orchestra, and Concierto Andaluz for 4 Guitars.
Born: Pesaro, Italy, February 29, 1792
Died: Passy, France, November 13, 1868
By the time he was thirty-seven Rossini had written thirty-eight operas. After this he never wrote another opera. His most famous operas include The Barber of Seville and William Tell. Other operas include LItaliana in Algeri, Semiramide, La Gazza Ladra, and La Cenerentola
Born: Paris, France, October 9, 1835
Died: Algiers, December 16, 1921
Saint-Saens received critical acclaim and success at an early age. His works include The Carnival of Animals - Suite for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Concerto No. 3 in B Minor for Violin and Orchestra, and Concerto No. 1 in A Minor for Cello and Orchestra.
Born: Legnago (near Verona), Italy, August 18, 1750
Died: Vienna, Austria, May 7, 1825
When he arrived in Vienna, Salieri was befriended and assisted by Gluck. As a pedagogue, Salieris students included Beethoven, Hummel, Schubert, Czerny and Liszt. Works include operas Les Danaïdes, Les Horaces, and Tarare. Incidentally, while the two were rivals, the tale about Salieri poisoning Mozart (popularized in Peter Schaffers play Amadeus), might be entertaining, but it is untrue.
Born: Honfleur, France, May 17, 1866
Died: Paris, France, July 1, 1925
Satie, as famous for his eccentricities as his music, became an inspiration to avant-garde musicians following him. Works include Jack in the Box (later orchestrated by Milhaud), (for piano) Cinq Grimaces, Trois Gymnopedies (Nos. 1 and 3 were orchestrated by Debussy), and Trois Morceaux en Forme de Poire for One Piano/Four Hands.
Born: Palermo, Italy, May 2, 1660
Died: Naples, Italy, October 22, 1725
Domenicos father. Founder of the Neopolitan School of Opera. Works include operas Il Mitridate Eupatore, Il Tigrane, and Il Trionfo Delloneore.
Born: Naples, Italy, October 26, 1685
Died: Madrid, Spain, July 23, 1757
Alessandros son. He wrote over 500 single-movement sonatas for solo keyboard. While these are not of the length or scope of the sonatas of (i.e.) Mozart or Beethoven, they represent a very substantial output.
Born: Vienna, Austria, September 13, 1874
Died: Brentwood, California, July 13, 1951
Schoenbergs "12-tone system" of composition greatly affected 20th century musical thinking: many of his works were constructed using twelve tone "rows" arranged in a definite order, each tone being of equal importance to the others, and no tone being repeated until the others had been used. Works include Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) for String Orchestra, Theme and Variations for Orchestra, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, and Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.
Born: Vienna, Austria, January 31, 1797
Died: Vienna, Austria, November 19, 1828
After writing hundreds of works for a wide variety of soloists and ensembles, Schubert only had one public success in the last year of his short life. On March 26, 1828, a concert in Vienna of his works was enthusiastically received by the public. After Schuberts death it took almost thirty years and the help of Schumann, Mendelssohn and other musical luminaries to make his work known to the world. One of the greatest and most popular of all piano duets is his Fantasy in F Minor for One Piano/Four Hands. Other works include Symphony No. 8 in B Minor ("Unfinished"), Symphony No. 9 in C Major, Incidental Music to Rosamunde and over 600 Songs.
Born: Leipzig, Germany, September 13, 1819
Died: Frankfurt am Main, May 20, 1896
Roberts wife. Acclaimed concert pianist. Between tours and giving birth to numerous children she found time to compose too. Works include Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Piano Trio, Piano Concertino, and Drei Romanzen for Violin and Piano.
Born: Zwickau, Germany, June 8, 1810
Died: Endenich, Germany (near Bonn), July 29, 1856
Claras husband. Newspaper editor. He invented a device designed to strengthen the weaker fourth fingers. It crippled him. After this his wife Clara had to perform all of his pieces. Schumann published a musical journal, Neue Zeittschrift für Musik, which helped the music world to know of such (as yet) unknown composers as Brahms and Chopin. Musical works include 4 Symphonies, Concerto in A Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Concerto in A Minor for Cello and Orchestra, (for piano) Etudes Symphoniques, Carnaval, Fantasiestücke, and Album for the Young.
Born: Aarhus, Denmark, April 28, 1848
Died: Berlin, Germany, November 10, 1909
Works include an opera Hero, and Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. Schytte also wrote numerous small works for piano including Promenades Musicales and Rapsodie Norwégienne, (for one piano/four hands) Bajaderntänze, Kindersymphonie, and Reiseblätter.
Born: Moscow, Russia, January 6, 1872
Died: Moscow, Russia, April 27, 1915
Scriabin died before he could realize his divine "Mystery" and lead his worshippers into a "supreme final ecstasy." The new world, emerging phoenix-like out of the ashes would recognize him as the true Messiah, and he would "sound the final chord of our race, reuniting it with the Spirit." Oh, well...Musical works include Symphony No. 4 "Poem of Ecstasy," Symphony No. 5 "Prometheus," (for piano) 10 Sonatas, 85 Preludes and 24 Etudes.
Born: St. Petersburg, Russia, September 25, 1906
Died: Moscow, Russia, August 9, 1975
Depending upon the unstable political climate in the former Soviet Union, Shostakovich was regarded as either a musical hero or a disgrace to the aesthetic ideal. Works include Symphonies No. 1, No. 5, No. 7 and No. 9; Concerto for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra; and an opera Lady Macbeth of Mzensk.
Born: Hämeenlinna, Finland, December 8, 1865
Died: Järvenpää, Finland, September 20, 1957
Respected as a national hero, Sibelius received the unprecedented honor during his lifetime of being recognized on a stamp in his native Finland. At the end of the nineteenth century and with Finland under the brutal oppression of Nicholas II, Sibelius became inspired to express his Finnish patriotism through his music. Works include Finlandia, Symphonies No. 1, No. 2, No. 4, and No. 7, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, The Swan of Tuonela, En Saga, and Tapiola.
Born: Konigsberg, Norway, January 11, 1856
Died: Oslo, Norway, December 3, 1941
Like Grieg, Sinding was moved by Norwegian folk music. He was also influenced by the music of Wagner, Liszt and Richard Strauss. Works include Piano Trios, Violin Concertos, and his popular piano piece, Rustle of Spring.
Born: Litomischl, Bohemia, March 2, 1824
Died: Prague, Czechoslovakia, May 12, 1884
Smetana founded the first important school of music in Prague. This was to serve as a foundation for later composers including Dvorak. Musical works include his opera The Bartered Bride, The Moldau (Vltava) for Orchestra, and Quartet No. 1 in E Minor ("From My Life").
Padre Antonio Soler
Born: Olot, Gerona, December 3, 1729
Died: El Escorial (near Madrid), Spain, December 20, 1783
Soler became a monk at the monastery of El Escorial in 1752. He was greatly influenced by Domenico Scarlatti. Soler wrote a celebrated treatise on harmony Llave de la Modulación y Antigüedades de la Musica. Musical works include 120 Keyboard Sonatas, 6 Concertos for Two Organs, and 6 Quintets for Strings and Organ.
John Philip Sousa
Born: Washington, D.C., November 6, 1854
Died: Reading, Pennsylvania, March 6, 1932
A violinist who played in theater orchestras, Sousa was appointed director of the United States Marine Band in 1880. For this ensemble he created his most famous Marches.
Johann Strauss Jr.
Born: Vienna, Austria, October 25, 1825
Died: Vienna, Austria, June 3, 1899
Known as "The Waltz King," the younger Strauss got his start in 3/4 time from dear old dad.
Johann Strauss Sr.
Born: Vienna, Austria, March 14, 1804
Died: Vienna, Austria, September 25, 1849
This guy who started the Vienna waltz madness was known as "The Father of the Waltz." He passed on his fondness for triple meter to his son.
Born: Munich, Germany, June 11, 1864
Died: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, September 8, 1949
While his father, Franz, was a public detractor of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss became one of the greatest public supporters of Wagner. Works include (for orchestra) Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegels Merry Pranks, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Don Quixote, (operas) Salome, Elektra, and Der Rosenkavalier.
Born: Oranienbaum, Russia, June 17, 1882
Died: New York, New York, April 6, 1971
Stravinskys teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, coached him in the production of Symphony in E-flat Major and Le Faune et la Bergère. Other works include Petrouchka, Rite of Spring, Fire-Bird Suite, Card Party, Symphony in Three Movements, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, and Concerto in E-flat Major for Chamber Orchestra.
Born: Krecovic, Bohemia, January 4, 1874
Died: Benesov (near Prague), Czechoslovakia, May 29, 1935
Influenced by Dvorak, Suk was a teacher of Martinu. Suk played second violin in the Bohemian Quartet. Works include Serenade in E-flat for Strings and Asrael Symphony.
Born: Lodz, Poland, June 12, 1897
Died: Paris, France, November 15, 1986
Tansman found much inspiration in the works of Stravinsky. His music frequently combined Polish and Jewish musical elements. Works include several orchestral works, ballets, and choral works.
Born: Vladimir district, Russia, November 25, 1856
Died: Dyudkovo, Zvenigorodsk district, Russia, June 19, 1915
A composition student of Tchaikovsky, Tanyev succeeded him as professor of harmony and composition at the Moscow Conservatory. Tanyev wrote a treatise on counterpoint Convertible Counterpoint in the Strict Style. Musical works include Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, Piano Quartet, Piano Quintet, and 10 String Quartets.
Peter Ilitch Tchaikovsky
Born: Votinsk, Russia, May 7, 1840
Died: St. Petersburg, Russia, November 6, 1893
One of the most curious aspects in the life of Tchaikovsy was the relationship he had with his patroness of thirteen years, Madame von Meck. While she greatly admired his artistry - and he greatly appreciated his generosity - the two never met face to face. His works include Symphony No. 6 in B Minor ("Pathetique"), Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor for Piano and Orchestra, Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture, 1812 Overture and The Nutcracker Suite.
Born: Seville, Spain, December 9, 1882
Died: Madrid, Spain, January 14, 1949
Turina authored a 2-volume work Enciclopedia Abreviada de Música. His compositions have the flair and color of the Andalucia region. Works include (for piano) Sinfonia Sevillana and Sevilla, and (for orchestra) Procesión del Rocio.
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Born: Down Ampney, England, October 12, 1872
Died: London, England, August 26, 1958
One of Englands most celebrated composers, Vaughan Williams did not seriously begin composing until his thirties. Works include Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis for Double String Orchestra, A London Symphony, A Pastoral Symphony, Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, and Symphony No. 6 in E Minor.
Born: Le Roncole, Italy, October 10, 1813
Died: Milan, Italy, January 27, 1901
The son of peasants, Verdi grew to become a widely acclaimed and prosperous composer during his lifetime. Works include Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Aida, Otello, and Falstaff.
Born: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 5, 1887
Died: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 17, 1959
Pianist Artur Rubenstein used his contacts in the Brazilian government to get Villa-Lobos a government stipend. This assistance helped Villa-Lobos to launch his musical career. Works include Bachiana Brasileira No. 2, Bachiana Brasileira No. 5 for Soprano and 8 Cellos, Choros No. 6, Choros No. 8 for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Choros No. 10 for Orchestra and Mixed Chorus, O Prole Do Bebe for Piano, and Mandu Carara - Symphonic Poem or Ballet for Two Pianos, Percussion, Large Chorus and Childrens Chorus.
Born: Venice, Italy, March 4, 1678
Died: Venice, Italy, July 28, 1741
Vivaldi, who entered the priesthood in 1693 was known as "The Red Priest" because of his red hair. He was a formidable improvisor and played a strong role in the development of the concerto form and violin concert music. It has been said that Bach was inspired by Vivaldi and copied his "Concerto Grosso" style in the Brandenburg Concertos. While he earned a good deal of money in his life, Vivaldi died poor because of his lavish lifestyle. Works include The Four Seasons and an opera Ottone in Villa.
Born: Leipzig, Germany, May 22, 1813
Died: Venice, Italy, February 13, 1883
At Bayreuth in Bavaria, Wagner oversaw the construction of the greatest opera house ever built (up to that time) so that his operas could be performed to his satisfaction. An intriguing story is his relationship with Cosima, Franz Liszts daughter. Works include operas Tannhaüser, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, Parsifal, and his four part epic The Ring of the Nibelungs: The Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried, and Twilight of the Gods.
Karl Maria von Weber
Born: Eutin, Oldenburg, Germany, November 18, 1786
Died: London, England, June 5, 1826
Weber was the founder of the German romantic opera. Wagner acknowledged his debt to Webers ground breaking efforts. Works include operas Der Freischütz, Euryanthe, and Oberon, Konzertstück for Piano and Orchestra, and Concertos No. 1 and No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra.
Anton von Webern
Born: Vienna, Austria, December 3, 1883
Died: Mittersill, Austria, September 15, 1945
Webern was accidentally shot and killed by an American soldier in Mittersill. He was a composition student of Schoenberg. Webern, Schoenberg and Berg laid the foundations for what became known as the Second Viennese School of Composition. Weberns works include Piano Quintet, several songs, and Im Sommerwind - Idyll for Large Orchestra.
Born: Windischgraz, Austria, March 13, 1860
Died: Vienna, Austria, February 22, 1903
Known for his art songs, Wolfs works include Spanisches Liederbuch, Italienisches Liederbuch, Mörike Lieder, Eichendorff Lieder, and Goethe Lieder.
Born: Havana, Cuba, December 14, 1961
She has performed in solo recitals and concerts throughout the United States. She has a Bachelor's degree in piano performance from Boston University and an Associate's degree from Miami Dade Community College. She studied piano with Maria Clodes Jaguaribe, Roy Bogas, Linda Byrd and Bela B. Nagy and has taken master classes with Michael Tilson Thomas and Claude Monteau. Morales has also studied harmony, composition and improvisation with W.A. Mathieu. Other music teachers include Robert Sirota and Richard Cornell.
A finalist in the Portland, Maine Symphony Piano Competition, Morales participated in the 1990 Jose Iturbi International Piano Competition which was held in Valencia and gave several performances in Spain. She is listed in "Quien Es Quien," the American Hispanic version of "Who's Who."
Kirk Whipple was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, December 13, 1962. He received first prize in the 1996 (San Francisco) Bay Area Keyboard Artists Competition. He also was a first prize recipient in the National Young Artist Competition in Midland, Texas and has performed in solo recitals and concerts throughout the United States. He studied piano with Darlene Bradley-Garza, Frances Kelly and Mark Wetch. Other piano instructors include Roy Bogas, John Browning and James Barbagallo. Whipple studied harmony, composition and improvisation with W.A. Mathieu, and African drumming with Kwaku Daddy.
Whipple participated in the ninth Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition which was held in Moscow and gave several performances in the Soviet Union during the summer of 1990. Other distinctions include "Best Classical Musician, 1989" and "Best Music Teacher, 1990" in the Sonoma County, California Art Awards. A recording of Whipple's holiday piano arrangements, "The White Season" with Morales is available nationally on Yamaha disklavier disk.Kirk Whipple & Marilyn Morales, duo and solo pianists and composers, are the artistic directors of The Unconservatory, a non - profit musical organization founded in California. They have performed extensively throughout the United States and abroad, and have performed disklavier piano concerts on behalf of Yamaha Corporation of America. The two were married May 31, 1992 in a ceremony and concert performance that included the world premier of their original "Concerto in B Minor For Two Pianos and Orchestra."
The duo has compact discs and tape recordings featuring live duo and solo piano performances. Whipple and Morales performed at the 1995 National Mardi Gras Ball in Washington, D.C., and were featured on the Univision network Spanish television show "Sabado Gigante Internacional." An estimated 180,000,000 people watched their two-piano performance and interview with celebrity host Don Francisco. A book of one piano/four hand holiday arrangements for beginning pianists by Whipple & Morales entitled "Christmas Treasures" was released nationally in October of 1998.
Kirk Whipple & Marilyn Morales
Duo & Solo Pianists / Composers / Educators
©KWMM 1999. All Rights Reserved.
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Updated: January 25, 2001 (KB)
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