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    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.
         Abbado's birthday

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    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".

    Adam is best known for his ballet Giselle
         Adam's birthday

         Listen to Adam's music

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    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.
         Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2000-01 seasonal repertory

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    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.
         Addinsell's birthday

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    Johann Joachim Agrell was a Swedish composer in the service of the Court at Kassel.
         Agrell's birthday

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    Issac AlbénizIssac 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.

    Albéniz worked with Liszt, d'Indy and Dukas.
         Albéniz's birthday

         Anniversary of Albéniz's death

         Albéniz MIDI Section

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    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.
         Albinoni's birthday

         Anniversary of Albinoni's death

         Listen to Albinoni's music

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    Hugo Alfvén was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1872 and composed melodies so Swedish that they seem to be folk music.

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    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.

    Alkan died in 1888.

         Alkan's birthday
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    Leroy Anderson had intended to become a mathematician...and it shows in pieces like The Syncopated Clock, which combines a cute melody with a very strict mechanical meter.

    Anderson served as arranger and assistant conductor to the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler and many of his works were first performed and recorded with the Boston Pops.
         Anderson's birthday

         Books and CD's by Anderson

         Listen to Anderson's music

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    Andrews Sisters

    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.
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    Young Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has been called brilliant and insightful by critics. He is a virtuoso pianist who likes to take chances.

    Andsnes was born in Karmoy, Norway in 1970. He entered the Bergen Music Conservatory in 1986 where he studied under the Czech Professor, Jiri Hlinka.

    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.
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    Best 100 Classical Pieces of the Millenium

    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

         Books and CD's by Anonymous

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    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.
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    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.
         Anniversary of Applebaum's death

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    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.
         Arensky MIDI Section

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    Guido D'Arezzo was the Greek priest who lived in the first century A.D. He invented the four-line staff to be used for written notes.
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    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.
         Arlen's birthday

         Anniversary of Arlen's death

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    Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's nickname is a contraction of "satchel mouth" which is a description of his trumpeter's mouth. Satchmo, a great jazz trumpeter, lived from 1900 until 1971.

    There is a statue of Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong in New Orleans.

    Many of his previously unpublished manuscripts and letters appear in "Louis Armstrong, In His Own Words" (Oxford University Press).

    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.
         Armstrong's birthday

         anniversary of Armstrong's death

         News Item about Armstrong

         Read quotes by and about Armstrong

         Louis Armstrong Online

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    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.
         Arne's birthday

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    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 and strings.

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    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.
         Ashkenazy's birthday

         Grammy Winner, Forty-Second Annual Awards

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    A line of music

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