Claudio Abbado, born in 1933, was a musical conductor. He was born in Milan, Italy to a distinguished musical family and he began training in
piano, composition, and conducting. He was
conductor and director at La Scala, Milan from 1968 until 1986 and principal conductor of the London
Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1987. He became principal conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra in 1971, musical director of the Vienna State Opera in 1986 through 1991, and principal
conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1989. In 1994 he was artistic director of the
Salzburg Easter Festival and triumphed with a spectacular postmodern production of
Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. One of his works was awarded a Grammy Award in 2000.
Adolphe Charles Adam composed the music to Oh Holy Night. It was originally called Cantique de Noël and, in it's day, was denounced for it's "lack of musical taste and total absence of the spirit of religion".
John (Coolidge) Adams is an American composer who was born in 1947 in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. He is Harvard~trained and he taught at San Francisco
Conservatory during the 1970s. His music, notably the opera Nixon in China (1987), is of the
"minimalist' school, stressing relentless repetition.
Richard Addinsell lived from 1904 until 1977. He is remembered in Britain as composer of the Warsaw Concerto for the film Dangerous Moonlight
and as accompanist to Joyce Grenfell. He studied music in Berlin and Vienna and
later enjoyed a career as a composer chiefly for the theatre and the cinema.
Issac Albéniz lived from 1860 until 1909. Albéniz was a child prodigy who played in public at the age of four.
He was a pianist and composer and the leading figure in the creation of a Spanish national style of composition.
Albéniz wrote operas - 5 of which were performed in the 1890's, songs and orchestral music, and is best known for his piano music. Some of his piano music has been arranged by others for orchestral performance.
Thomoso Albinoni lived from 1671 until 1751. Since he was the son of a wealthy paper merchant, he never needed to find a court appointment or church position. He produced over 50 operas, many stage words and more than 40 solo cantatas. Bach used some of Albinoni's melodies as the basis of keyboard fugues. Much of Albinoni's music is similar in sound and texture to his contemporary Vivaldi.
Alkan, Charles-Valentin Alkan was born Charles-Valentin Morhange in Paris in 1813 and was among the most
gifted piano virtuosi of his time. Much of his life, in particular from
1853 onwards, was spent in eccentric isolation. His remarkable
abilities as a pianist, in later years only intermittently displayed,
were coupled with an equally remarkable body of keyboard compositions, neglected until recent
years. In addition to his musical interests, he maintained his classical and biblical studies, the
latter reflecting the Jewish faith into which he had been born and to which he remained loyal
throughout his life.
While Alkan's piano music includes the operatic
fantasias and transcriptions fashionable in his
time, his more remarkable works must be his
virtuoso Etudes, notably the set in all minor
keys, containing a Scherzo diabolique,
Symphony, Concerto, Ouverture and final
Festin d'Esope variations.
The four movement Symphony includes a sober
Marche funèbre. There are Préludes in all keys,
major and minor, many with idiosyncratic titles,
Impromptus, Etudes in all major keys and a set
of 48 Esquisses, the last as original as anything
else he wrote. Much of Alkan's piano music
makes fierce technical demands on any
performer and the larger works are massive in
scale and conception.
The Andrews Sisters were a popular musical group consisting of LaVerne (1915 to 1967); Maxine (or Maxene) (1918 to 1995); and
(Patricia) Patti (born in 1920). They were all born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA of Norwegian~Greek
parentage. They formed a harmony trio in 1932, won some local amateur contests, and gained
national attention with their recording of "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen' (1937). They performed on
radio with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in the 1930s and 1940s and had another big hit with
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" (1940). They appeared as themselves in numerous movies including
Buck Privates (1941), Swingtime Johnny (1943), and Hollywood Canteen (1944). After a brief
retirement in the mid-1950s, they performed in nightclubs until Laverne's death (1967). Maxine
and Patti returned in the early 1970s (with a stand-in for their sister) in a musical, Over Here,
designed to evoke their earlier appeal.
Young Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes
has been called brilliant and insightful by
critics. He is a virtuoso pianist who likes to
Andsnes was born in Karmoy, Norway in
1970. He entered the Bergen Music Conservatory in
1986 where he studied under the Czech Professor,
Leif Ove Andsnes enjoys a fine reputation as a recitalist performing at
many of the major concert halls world-wide. Andsnes is also a great chamber music
enthusiast and is Artistic Director of the Risor Chamber Music Festival.
Additionally, Andsnes has numerous acclaimed recordings to his credit.
In 1996, he introduced the
world to the neglected piano works of
Scandinavian composer Carl Nielsen. In
2000, he made history again with
the world premiere of "True Life Stories", a
new work by British composer Mark Anthony
Turnage. This work, completed in 1999, was
commissioned by the Washington Performing Arts Society on behalf of
the Patrick Hayes and Evelyn Swarthout Hayes Piano Series.
It can be humorously stated that Anonymous was the most long-lived and prolific
composer of Western music. Virtually all chant and much early polyphony was
created by anonymous composers, as was much medieval secular music. There are
a multitude of reasons for this; taken together they can help us paint something of
a portrait of this most enigmatic of "composers."
The anonymous chant composers may not have been composers at all, at least not
in the modern sense. Most of what we know as "Gregorian Chant" was not written
down until probably the ninth century. Before that, it existed as an oral art, passed
from one musician to another. In the earliest traditions it was probably the result
not of composition, but improvisation. By the time it was written down, it was far
removed from what its original creators had first sung. Yet it had attained a place
of authority that was further raised by the legend that it had been created by Pope Gregory I (who was pope from 590 to 604). A fanciful impossibility, but one of the
West's first acts of musical authorship.
By the tenth century, we can point to new sacred compositions by musicians who
wished their names to be attached to their works, something of a novelty.
Interestingly enough, one of these early authors was a woman, Hildegard of Bingen
(1098-1179), who went to the trouble of having all the music that she had written
compiled into manuscripts. This was still somewhat unusual. Even with the birth of
polyphony in the tenth century, we find few pieces with names of authors attached
to them. Two of the most famous, Léonin and Pérotin (both of whom worked in the
Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris at the end of the twelfth and beginning of the
thirteenth centuries) are known because of a later writer's discussion of their
music. It wasn't, in fact, until the fourteenth century that we begin to find a
reliable accounting of musical authorship in sacred music -- though until the
seventeenth century, exact authorship is often open to question due to careless
scribes or unscrupulous publishers.
In the realm of secular music, the situation is similar, and indeed, much of the
music that would have been created does not survive because it was never written
down. This changed in the courts of France starting in the twelfth century. Here,
the aristocracy themselves, male and female, were the creators and performers in
the rich tradition of the troubadours and trouvères. Not surprisingly, since this was
music about, for, and even by the rich and powerful, it was carefully collected and
notated, often with short biographies of the composers. Ironically, by the sixteenth
century, the creation of music was seen as a profession, and beneath the dignity
of the nobility. Because of this, a nobleman or noblewoman would usually not have
taken credit for his or her creations and it may be that some of the anonymous
music of this period is by aristocratic amateurs.
In short, anonymous composers were men and women, highborn and low, but they
were different people at different times, reflecting society's changing feelings about
authorship and the act of creation. It is worth remembering that anonymity was
not always an accident of history. It was usually a reflection of the society in
which the music was created. From Essentials of Music
John Henry Antill, 1904 until 1986, was a composer who was born in Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia. He entered the New South Wales
Conservatory at 21 and studied composition with Alfred Hill, became a member of the
Conservatory orchestra and later of the ABC (now Sydney) Symphony Orchestra. His major work,
the ballet Corroboree (1944), blends Aboriginal and western themes. Other compositions include
operas and choral works, ballet suites, and a symphony.
Louis Applebaum lived from 1918 until 2000 and was a Canadian composer long associated with the prestigious classical repertory company the Stratford Festival.
He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1947 for the score for the film, "The Story of G.I. Joe."
Applebaum was the first director of the Stratford Festival music department and created and ran the Stratford Music Festival. In his 43 seasons at Stratford, he wrote and conducted music for more than 75 productions.
Applebaum also wrote hundreds of scores for radio, television and film, along with ballet music and symphonic, chamber and choral works.
Anton Stepanovich Arensky, was a Russian composer, conductor and pianist who lived from 1861 until 1906. He was a pupil of
Rimsky-Korsakov at St. Petersburg Conservatory and later taught at
the Moscow Conservatory, where his pupils included Rachmaninoff
and Scriabin. His compositions often reflect the influence of other
composers, more particularly that of Tchaikovsky. He was musical director of the Imperial
Chapel in St. Petersburg from 1895 until 1901 and thereafter continued his career as composer,
pianist and conductor, travelling widely in the last two capacities. He died in 1906.
Arensky wrote two symphonies and a violin concerto, as well as a set of variations for strings
on a theme by Tchaikovsky, a work originally for string quartet.
The best known of Arensky's compositions is
his Piano Trio in D minor, the first of two such
works. This was written in 1894 and shows
something of the influence of Mendelssohn.
Harold Arlen (1905 to 1986) was an Oscar-winning songwriter. He worked with Ted Koehler to produce such classics as Stormy Weather, It’s Only a Paper Moon. With Gershwin &
Mercer he wrote That Old Black Magic. Arlen also wrote Somewhere Over the Rainbow in 1939.
Louis Armstrong was simply the greatest jazz instrumentalist to ever live. He was the definition of what it was to be a jazz
musician: joyous, spontaneous, inventive, and creative. Aside from that, no one had the technical ability or amazing quickness
that he had.
Armstrong was from New Orleans, like most early jazz musicians. He was raised by a very poor family, and was sent to reform
school at the age of twelve. However, that marked a turning point in his life, because it was there that he learned to play the
cornet. He was inspired by the early jazz great King Oliver, who became a father figure to him, and developed his musical
ability through live performance.
In 1919, Armstrong left New Orleans and headed for St. Louis to find a new musical life for himself as a part of Fate Marable's
band. He stayed with the group until 1921, when he came to Chicago to join King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band. His extraordinary
playing soon made him a sensation in the city of Chicago. In Chicago, he went on to play with several groups, including Fletcher
Henderson's Orchestra, and Ollie Power's Syncopators.
However, he became frustrated with being a session player and decided to form his own group, "the Hot Five". With the Hot
Five, which was sometimes "the Hot Seven", Armstrong became famous. Later, in 1930, Armstrong led the jjazz revival in Los
Angeles with his group "Louis Armstrong and his Sebastian New Cotton Club Orchestra".
Louis Armstrong was an all-around superstar, whether he was singing, playing his trumpet, or leading his leading one of his
many ensembles. He'll be remembered as being one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, who overcame
racism and poverty in order to become one of the greatest entertainers in history.
Thomas Augustine Arne lived from 1710 until 1778 and was a composer. He was born in London, England and studied at Eton, became skilful as a violinist, then
turned to composing with his first opera Rosamond (1733). He was appointed composer to Drury
Lane Theatre, for which he composed famous settings of Shakespearean songs. He composed Rule, Britannia, originally written for The Masque of Alfred, as well as two oratorios and two operas.
Malcolm Arnold was born in 1921 and was an English composer. He made his early career as
a trumpet-player, principally with the London Philharmonic
Orchestra. Since 1948 he has concentrated on his work as a
composer, writing music that shows his thorough understanding
of the orchestra and in a style that is tonal and often attractive to
a wider audience than is usual in contemporary music. He has
written a large number of film scores, including the music for The
Bridge on the River Kwai and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.
Malcolm Arnold's symphonies have not always
received the attention that is their due. Frequently
heard, however, are the comedy overture Beckus,
the Dandipratt, and the overture Tam o'Shanter. He
has written concertos for a variety of instruments,
including two flute concertos, two clarinet
concertos and a concerto for organ, two trumpets
Vladimir Ashkenazy was born in 1937 and is a pianist and conductor. He was born in Nizhni Novgorod (formerly Gorky), Russia and graduated from
Moscow Conservatory in 1960. In 1962 was joint winner (with John Ogdon) of the
Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, Moscow. He left the Soviet Union in 1963 and made his
London debut that year. He settled in Iceland in 1973 with his wife, an Icelandic pianist, and
became musical director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1987.