Joseph Lamb (1887 to 1960)was an extraordinarily gifted ragtime pianist and composer along with Scott Joplin and James Scott. He differed from them, though, because the art of improvisation completely baffled
him. In response to this, Lamb viewed ragtime as an art form written on paper, instead of a spontaneous one. Though his style
and approach were markedly different from his peers, he still left behind a rich legacy and remained one of the most influential
Franz Lehár, 1870 to 1948 was the son of a bandmaster serving principally in Hungary. He followed
his father's profession, before winning, in 1902, success in the
theatre in Vienna, where he succeeded in the following years in
reviving the operetta, providing music of greater distinction, with
tenor arias written specifically for Richard Tauber.
The reputation of Franz Lehár as a composer of operetta is assured as he wrote nearly forty of them. Of these by the
far the best known is Die lustige Witwe (The Merry
Widow), first staged in Vienna in 1905, the
favourite operetta of Adolf Hitler.
John Lennon, 1940 to 1980,was a pop star, composer, songwriter, and recording artist. He was born in Liverpool, Merseyside, NW England,
UK. and was The Beatles rhythm guitarist, keyboard player, and vocalist, and a partner in the
Lennon--McCartney song-writing team. He married Japanese artist Yoko Ono in 1969. On the birth of his
son, Sean (born in 1975), he retired from music to become a house-husband. Five years later he recorded
(Just Like) Starting Over, but he was shot and killed by a deranged fan just before its release. His
death affected millions of people, record sales soared, and he continues to be admired by new
generations of fans.
Alan Jay Lerner, Playwright, born August 31, 1918, New York, New York; died June 14, 1986
Composer, born June 10, 1904, Vienna, Austria; died February 14, 1988
Frederick Loewe, an unheralded Vienna-born composer, and Alan Jay Lerner, the lyricist-playwright son of the proprietors of an American chain of
women's clothing shops, with sketches and lyrics for two Harvard Hasty Pudding shows among his major credits, met by chance at New York's Lambs
Club in 1942. Had they not, Brigadoon would never have emerged from the mists of the Scottish Highlands to make the world feel "Almost Like Being in
Love" . . . no one would have been there to "Paint Your Wagon" . . . My Fair Lady would still be a less than lyrical English girl from George Bernard
Shaw's Pygmalion who couldn't sing a note. . . we might never have thought to "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" like "Gigi" . . . and Camelot would most
likely have stayed within the pages of Arthurian legend.
When the two, who were destined to enrich the American musical theater with some of its most poignant, rousing, and memorable lyrics, engaging
books and powerful musical scores, had that chance meeting more than 50 years ago, neither was widely known. Loewe's Great Lady had had a brief run
on Broadway in 1938. Lerner had added radio scripts to his Hasty Pudding Club show credits. But later collaborations after one brief failure, What's Up?
(1943), and the moderately successful The Day Before Spring (1945), which ran five months on Broadway, made musical history.
Alan Jay Lerner was one of three sons of Joseph J. Lerner, who founded Lerner Stores, Inc. He was educated in England and at the Choate School in
Wallingford, Connecticut, before entering Harvard. He studied at the Juilliard School of Music during vacations from Harvard. After graduating in 1940 with
a B.S. degree, he wrote advertising copy and radio scripts for such programs as the "Philco Hall of Fame."
Frederick "Fritz" Loewe was the son of Edmund Loewe, an eminent operetta tenor. When he was two, Frederick accompanied his father on a tour of the
United States. The youngster played piano at four and, at nine, composed the tunes for a music hall sketch in which his father toured Europe. At 15, he
wrote "Katrina," a popular song that sold 3,000,000 copies in Europe. He had begun his own concert career as soloist with some of Europe's leading
symphony orchestras at the age of 13 after having studied with the noted European musician Ferruccio Busoni and Eugene d'Albert. In 1923, young
Loewe was awarded the Hollander Medal in Berlin and studied composition and orchestration with Nickolaus von Reznicek.
The following year, the younger Loewe accompanied his father to America. Since neither a concert he gave at New York's Town Hall, nor a subsequent
week's engagement at the Rivoli Theater led to further concert engagements, he tried teaching music and playing at Greenwich Village night clubs. When
music failed to earn him a living, he worked as a busboy in a cafeteria and as a riding instructor at a New Hampshire resort. He took up flyweight boxing
and failed, then went West, cowpunching, gold mining, and carrying mail on horseback over the Montana mountains before returning to New York where
he found work as a piano player. In 1935, Loewe's song "Love tiptoes Through My Heart" was accepted for the musical Petticoat Fever. His own musical,
Salute to Spring, was presented in St. Louis in 1937. The next year, his Great Lady reached Broadway, but ran for only 20 performances.
The first Lerner-Loewe collaboration was a musical adaptation of Barry Connor's farce The Patsy for a Detroit stock company in 1942. They called it Life
of the Party and it enjoyed a nine-week hit that encouraged them to continue with the musical comedy What's Up? which opened on Broadway in 1943.
Lerner wrote the book and lyrics with Arthur Pierson, and Loewe composed the music. It ran for 63 performances and was followed in 1945 by their The
Day Before Spring.
It was when the curtain went up to the haunted strains of bagpipes on the night of March 13, 1947, and the mist-shrouded Scottish Highland village of
Brigadoon first appeared, that the team of Lerner and Loewe also emerged as potentially legendary. The musical, which after its original 581
performances on Broadway, toured extensively and has been revived frequently, won the "best musical"award from the New York Drama Critics Circle the
year it opened and was hailed as having "evoked magic on Broadway."
Between Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon, the next team effort by Lerner and Loewe, Lerner wrote Love Life, with music by Kurt Weill, which was
selected as one of the best plays of the 1948-49 Broadway season, plus the story, screenplay and lyrics for the films Royal Wedding and Brigadoon and
the story and screenplay for An American in Paris, for which he won an Oscar in 1951.
Paint Your Wagon rolled in in 1951, and then, five years later, on March 15, 1956, My Fair Lady opened and became one of the most spectacular
successes--artistic and financial--in the history of the American theater. Playing a record 2,717 performances on Broadway alone, it went on to break all
other existing world records. This musicalization of Shaw's classic Pygmalion was named "outstanding musical of the year" by the New York Drama
Critics Circle--and by millions of theater goers.
Lerner and Loewe's next collaboration was on the film adaptation of the Colette novel Gigi, another success filled with songs destined to become
There was more collaborating to come--the film version of the Antoine de Saint-Exupery fable The Little Prince in 1972, but the 1960 Broadway hit
Camelot which brought Arthurian England to life for its most shining hour, rang the curtain down on the phenomenon of Lerner and Loewe. Loewe, who
had suffered a heart attack in 1958, went into retirement.
In tribute to his long time former partner, Lerner wrote, "There will never be another Fritz. . . . Writing will never again be as much fun . A collaboration as
intense as ours inescapably had to be complex. But I loved him more than I understood or misunderstood him, and I know he loved me more than he
understood or misunderstood me."
Anatol Konstantinovich Liadov lived from 1855 until 1914. He was the son of a conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, and was trained at the Conservatory, where he was briefly
a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov and later a member of the teaching staff.
He was associated with Balakirev and subsequently became a
member of Belyayev's circle, helping, in particular, in the establishment
of the publishing-house that Belyayev established for Russian
He was a thoroughly competent musician, conductor and composer, but did not apply himself
consistently to work. His failure to supply music for the Dyagilev ballet in Paris in 1910 allowed
Stravinsky his first chance with the Ballets russes. His compositions are characteristic of the
period in Russian nationalism, when nationalism was joined with technical competence inculcated
at the Conservatories.
The best known orchestral compositions by Liadov
are the descriptive Russian fairy-tale pieces
Kikimora, Baba-Yaga and Volshebnoye ozero
(The Enchanted Lake). His last orchestral work
was the symphonic poem Skorbnaya pesn (Nénie).
All are very much in the nationalist tradition
exemplified by Rimsky-Korsakov.
Liadov wrote a number of shorter piano pieces,
including Fugues and a set of Canons, testimony to
his contrapuntal ability. Other pieces have
characteristic titles, examples of pleasing and well
crafted compositions for which there was a ready
Liadov wrote a setting of the final scene of Schiller's Die Braut von Messina (The Bride from
Messina) for his Conservatory graduation. Of some 26 songs, eighteen are Children's Songs.
(Walter) (Wladziu Valentino) Liberace, American pianist and showman. Lee, as he was known, was the master of Las Vegas.
Hundreds of thousands flock to his museum there (operated by his brother,
George) to see Liberace’s garish suits, trademark candelabra, and learn of
the myths behind this hugely successful star of television, stage and
concerts the world over.
György Sándor Ligeti, a composer, was born in 1923 in Dicsöszent-Márton, Hungary. He studied and later taught at the Budapest
Academy of Music. After leaving Hungary in 1956, he worked at the electronics studio in Cologne,
then settled in Vienna, where he developed an experimental approach to composition. His first large
orchestral work, Apparitions (1958--9), made his name widely known. In Aventures (1962) he uses
his own invented language of speech sounds. He has also written a choral requiem, a cello concerto,
and music for harpsichord, organ, and wind and string ensembles.
Dinu Lipatti was born in Bucharest and lived from 1917 until 1950. He was a pianist and composer who studied in Paris with Cortot and Boulanger, and after
World War 2 established an international reputation as a gifted pianist, especially in the works of
Chopin. His compositions include a Symphonie concertante for two pianos and strings, and a
concertino for piano and orchestra. His career was cut short when he died of a rare form of cancer.
Franz Liszt was born in Raiding, near Ödenburg, October 22, 1811 and died in Bayreuth, July 31, 1886. He was a Hungarian composer and pianist who was a major influence during the romantic period. Liszt was an outstanding pianist at seven, composed at eight and made concert appearances at nine. In addition to being a piano virtuoso, he was also a critic, conductor, city music director, literary writer and transcriber of the works of other composers. He transcribed Beethoven's Symphonies for the piano.
Franz Liszt began his career as the outstanding concert pianist of the century,
who, along with the prodigious violinist Niccoló Paganini (1782-1840), created the cult of the
modern instrumental virtuoso. To show off his phenomenal and unprecedented technique, Liszt
composed a great deal of music designed specifically for this purpose, resulting in a vast amount of
piano literature laden with dazzling scales, trills, arpeggios, leaps, and other technical marvels. In this
vein, Liszt composed a series of virtuosic rhapsodies on Hungarian gypsy melodies, the best-known
being the all too familiar Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. Liszt developed the rhapsody as a form of serious music.
This kind of music is worlds apart from the
generally more introspective, poetic music of pianist-composer Frédéric Chopin.
Liszt was wildly handsome and hugely talented. He was extremely popular in Paris during the 1830's. It is said that women actually fainted at his piano recitals. He was the first to position the piano so that its lid reflected the sound and the audience could see his profile as he performed.
Liszt was the first to write a tone poem, which is an extended, single-movement work
for orchestra, inspired by paintings, plays, poems or other literary or visual works, and attempting to
convey the ideas expressed in those media through music. Such a work is Les Préludes, based on a
poem in which life is expressed as a series of struggles, passions, and mysteries, all serving as a mere
prelude to . . .what? The Romantic genre of the symphonic poem, as well as its cousin the concert overture, became very
attractive to many later composers, including Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, Dvorák, Sibelius, and Richard Strauss.
British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is one of the most successful composers of this era with hugely successful commercial hits such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunset Boulevard, Cats, Phantom of the Opera and Evita.
Cats, the longest-running
production in Broadway history, closed after 7,397 performances on June 25, 2000.
Pietro Antonio Locatelli lived from 1695 until 1764. He was born in
Bergamo, later moving to Rome, where he might have studied with
Corelli, but more probably was a pupil of Valentini. He was an Italian composer of sonatas and concerti, but he was best known as a virtuoso
violinist playing mostly in Amsterdam where he settled in 1721. He won a
reputation as a virtuoso, performing in Italy, in Bavaria and in Berlin. In 1729 he settled in
Amsterdam, where he taught and conducted an amateur orchestra and was able to pursue his
wider cultural interests.
Locatelli wrote a number of concerti grossi, following the example of Corelli. The first set,
published in Amsterdam in 1720, include twelve fugues. L'arte del violino (The Art of the
Violin), published in 1733, contains twelve violin concertos and 24 Caprices, precursors of
Paganini's famous set for unaccompanied violin. A further set of six concertos was published
two years later and a set of six, published in 1744, is scored for four violins, two violas and
basso continuo. Locatelli combines the Roman style of Corelli with, in his solo concertos, the
virtuosity of Vivaldi in Venice.
In his Concerti grossi, works for string orchestra
with a smaller group of soloists, Locatelli at first
follows the pattern of Corelli, with one or two
violas added to Corelli's solo group of two violins,
cello and harpsichord. There is also a Concerto
grosso that includes a group of solo wind
instruments, in addition to solo violin concertos.
Some of these works have programmatic titles. His
L'arte del violino (The Art of the Violin) includes 24
Caprices for unaccompanied violin, challenging
works that have been regarded by some as
foreshadowing the Caprices of Paganini in the
following century. Locatelli also published sets of
trio sonatas and solo sonatas, including a set of the
latter for flute and basso continuo.
Frederick "Fritz" Loewe lived from 1904 until 1988. He was a composer, born in Vienna, Austria and at age 13 he was the
youngest pianist to solo with the Berlin Symphony. At age 15 he composed Katrina (1919), which
sold two million copies of sheet music in Europe. Although he had studied with great European
masters of the piano, when he came to the U.S.A. in 1924 he failed as a piano virtuoso. He took up
a series of odd jobs--prospecting for gold, professional boxing--but by the mid-1930s he had launched
his career as a composer for the musical theater. Not until he teamed up with lyricist Alan Jay
Lerner in 1942, however, did he find his true talent; their first big success was Brigadoon (1947) and
this was followed by such classic stage and film musical scores as My Fair Lady (1956), Gigi (1958),
and Camelot (1960). This last led to their falling-out and they did not collaborate again until in 1973
when they made a stage version of their film musical, Gigi. Their last collaboration was The Little
Prince (1974), after which Loewe retired.
Jean Baptiste Lully lived from about 1632 until 1687 and was considered to be a baroque composer. He was an
Italian-born French court composer who molded Italian opera music to suit the French text. He was the first to compose French overtures, which served
as model for subsequent composers, especially J. S. Bach. He changed his name from the Italian Giovanni Battista Lulli when he became a French citizen.
Lully was conducting a Te Deum to celebrate Louis XIV's recovery from illness. He was
banging loudly on the floor with a staff when he struck his foot with such force that it developed an
abscess, from which the unfortunate Lully died shortly after.
James Melvin Lunceford was born. June 6, 1902, Fulton, Miss., U.S. and died on July 12, 1947, Seaside, Ore. He was an American jazz
dance-band leader whose rhythmically appealing, well-disciplined orchestra performed arrangements by trumpeter Sy Oliver and
others to popular acclaim from 1934 to 1945 and influenced both swing and post-World War II dance bands.
Lunceford, during his youth, acquired proficiency on all reed instruments, but he seldom played with his band because he preferred
to conduct. He taught and organized a student orchestra in a Memphis, Tenn., high school before beginning his professional career
as a bandleader in 1929. Practiced showmanship, precise ensembles, and a medium two-beat swing tempo rather than exciting
soloists were the Lunceford band's trademarks. The band's most popular songs included Organ Grinder's Swing (1936) and For Dancers Only (1937). The Lunceford band was considered to be on a par with bands led by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and
Benny Goodman during the 1930s, and in 1940 the ensemble won a celebrated "battle of the bands" from a field of 28 groups,
among them Basie's, Goodman's, and Glenn Miller's. Arranger Oliver left Lunceford in 1939, and by 1942 the band's popularity had
declined. Following Lunceford's death while on tour, pianist Edwin Wilcox and saxophonist Joe Thomas led the band for several
Witold Lutoslawski lived from 1913 until 1994. He was born and studied in Warsaw, winning a
distinguished international reputation particularly from the 1950s
onwards, a leading composer among a group of creative artists of
outstanding ability, remarkable in his handling of forms and textures of
The genius of Lutoslawski was early evident in his
1938 Symphonic Variations. The years after the
war brought a return to more conventional national
modes of composition, heard in his Little Suite and
Concerto for Orchestra. Later works have allowed
a more experimental approach on a broader
palette, to be heard in his Funeral Music of 1958,
his Second Symphony and the Prelude and Fugue
for thirteen string instruments.
Characteristic works for voice and orchestra include Paroles tissés for tenor and chamber
orchestra, and Three Poems by Henri Michaux for twenty voices and orchestra.