The Life You Give: Gustav Mahler *VII 7 1860

Gustav Mahler, born July 7, 1860, in Kaliště, Bohemia, Austrian Empire, is the composer and conductor, noted for his 10 symphonies and various songs with orchestra, which drew together many different strands of Romanticism. Although his music was largely ignored for 50 years after his death, Mahler was later regarded as an important forerunner of… Continue reading The Life You Give: Gustav Mahler *VII 7 1860

The Valkyrie (Wagner) premiered today in 1870

Valkyrie, also spelled Walkyrie, Old Norse Valkyrja (“Chooser of the Slain”), in Norse mythology, any of a group of maidens who served the god Odin and were sent by him to the battlefields to choose the slain who were worthy of a place in Valhalla. These foreboders of war rode to the battlefield on horses,… Continue reading The Valkyrie (Wagner) premiered today in 1870

The Life You Give: Mick Fleetwood *VI 24 1947

Mick Fleetwood anchored his namesake band Fleetwood Mac through thick and thin, seeing the group evolve from one of the pioneering British blues combos to the biggest pop/rock band in the world. Fleetwood may have never left his seat behind the drums in Fleetwood Mac but he did occasionally step away from the group. Notably,… Continue reading The Life You Give: Mick Fleetwood *VI 24 1947

The Life You Give: Harry Partch *VI 24 1901

Harry Partch, born June 24, 1901, in Oakland, Calif., U.S.A., is the visionary and eclectic composer and instrument builder, largely self-taught, whose compositions are remarkable for the complexity of their scores (each instrument has its own characteristic notation, often involving 43 tones to each octave) and their employment of unique instruments of his invention. Partch’s… Continue reading The Life You Give: Harry Partch *VI 24 1901

Remembering James Levine *VI 23 1943

James Levine, born June 23, 1943, in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A., is the conductor and pianist, especially noted for his work with the Metropolitan Opera (Met) of New York City. He was considered the preeminent American conductor of his generation.As a piano prodigy, Levine made his debut in 1953 with the Cincinnati Orchestra in Ohio. He… Continue reading Remembering James Levine *VI 23 1943

The Life You Give: Eliades Ochoa *VI 22 1946

From the outset of his career, Eliades Ochoa built his repertoire from Cuban traditional music, in particular son, guarachas, guajiras, and boleros. As a child, he learned to play guitar and tres (an adapted guitar), and also began singing. In 1958 he moved to the city of Santiago and during the following decade, developed a… Continue reading The Life You Give: Eliades Ochoa *VI 22 1946

The Life You Give: Peter Pears *VI 22 1910

Sir Peter Pears, born Peter Neville Luard Pears, June 22, 1910, in Farnham, Surrey, England, is the tenor, a singer of outstanding skill and subtlety who was closely associated with the works of Sir Benjamin Britten. He received a knighthood in 1977.Pears studied at the University of Oxford, at the Royal College of Music, and… Continue reading The Life You Give: Peter Pears *VI 22 1910

The Life You Give: Ray Davies *VI 21 1944

Ray Davies was the lead singer, chief songwriter, and rhythm guitarist in the Kinks, one of the most long-lived of the British Invasion rock groups of the 1960s. In effect, the Kinks had always been merely a backup group for Davies, who wrote and sang nearly all their songs with only the occasional contribution from… Continue reading The Life You Give: Ray Davies *VI 21 1944

The Life You Give: Paul McCartney *1942

Paul McCartney, born James Paul McCartney, June 18, 1942, in Liverpool, England, is the vocalist, songwriter, composer, bass player, poet, and painter whose work with the Beatles in the 1960s helped lift popular music from its origins in the entertainment business and transform it into a creative, highly commercial art form. He is also one… Continue reading The Life You Give: Paul McCartney *1942

The Life You Give: Eva Marton *1943

Hungarian soprano Eva Marton has enjoyed a highly successful career on the world's leading operatic stages since the late '60s. With her powerful, attractive voice she has managed to score numerous successes in the Italian spinto roles of Verdi and Puccini, the heftier roles of Wagner and Richard Strauss, and the more delicate but equally… Continue reading The Life You Give: Eva Marton *1943

The Life You Give: Igor Stravinsky *1882

Igor Stravinsky, born Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky, June 5 [June 17, New Style], 1882, Oranienbaum [now Lomonosov], near St. Petersburg, Russia, is the composer whose work had a revolutionary impact on musical thought and sensibility just before and after World War I, and whose compositions remained a touchstone of modernism for much of his long working… Continue reading The Life You Give: Igor Stravinsky *1882

The Life You Give: Charles Gounod *1818

Charles Gounod, born Charles-françois Gounod, June 17, 1818, in Paris, France, is a composer noted particularly for his operas, of which the most famous is Faust.Gounod’s father was a painter, and his mother was a capable pianist who gave Gounod his early training in music. He was educated at the Lycée Saint-Louis, where he remained… Continue reading The Life You Give: Charles Gounod *1818

The Life You Give: Edvard Grieg *1843

Edvard Grieg, born Edvard Hagerup Grieg, June 15, 1843, in Bergen, Norway, is the composer who was a founder of the Norwegian nationalist school of music.His father, Alexander Grieg, was British consul at Bergen. The Grieg (formerly Greig) family was of Scottish origin, the composer’s grandfather having emigrated after the Battle of Culloden. His mother,… Continue reading The Life You Give: Edvard Grieg *1843

The Life You Give: Hugh Laurie *1959

Hugh Laurie, born James Hugh Calum Laurie, June 11, 1959, in Oxford, England, is comic actor perhaps best known for his role on the television series House (2004–12). Laurie was educated at Eton College and Selwyn College, Cambridge. His father won a gold medal at the 1948 London Olympics as a member of the British… Continue reading The Life You Give: Hugh Laurie *1959

The Life You Give: Richard Strauss *1864

Richard Strauss, born Richard Georg Strauss, June 11, 1864, Munich, Germany, is an outstanding Romantic composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His symphonic poems of the 1890s and his operas of the following decade have remained an indispensable feature of the standard repertoire.Strauss’s father, Franz, was the principal horn player of the… Continue reading The Life You Give: Richard Strauss *1864

“Tristan and Isolde” (Richard Wagner), premiered today in 1865

Tristan and Isolde, Tristan also called Tristram or Tristrem, Isolde also called Iseult, Isolt, or Yseult, principal characters of a famous medieval love-romance, based on a Celtic legend (itself based on an actual Pictish king). Though the archetypal poem from which all extant forms of the legend are derived has not been preserved, a comparison… Continue reading “Tristan and Isolde” (Richard Wagner), premiered today in 1865

The Life You Give: Barbara *1930

Although Barbara certainly didn't like the thought of it, she actually was part of the legendary club formed by her friend Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré, and Edith Piaf. A truly generous and humble woman, Barbara insisted on living up to her audience's expectations and was constantly questioning her success. As an artist, she… Continue reading The Life You Give: Barbara *1930

The Life You Give: Robert Schumann *1810

Robert Schumann, born Robert Alexander Schumann, June 8, 1810, in Zwickau, Saxony [Germany], is the Romantic composer renowned particularly for his piano music, songs (lieder), and orchestral music. Many of his best-known piano pieces were written for his wife, the pianist Clara Schumann.Schumann’s father was a bookseller and publisher. After four years at a private… Continue reading The Life You Give: Robert Schumann *1810

The Life You Give: Prince *1958

Prince, born Prince Rogers Nelson, on June 7 1958, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., is the singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer, dancer, and performer on keyboards, drums, and bass who was among the most talented American musicians of his generation. Like Stevie Wonder, he was a rare composer who could perform at a professional level on virtually… Continue reading The Life You Give: Prince *1958

Happy Birthday, Tom Jones *1940

Tom Jones, born Thomas John Woodward, June 7, 1940, in Pontypridd, Wales, is the singer with broad musical appeal who first came to fame as a sex symbol with a fantastic voice and raucous stage presence. He was known best for his songs “It’s Not Unusual,” “What’s New, Pussycat?,” “Green, Green Grass of Home,” and… Continue reading Happy Birthday, Tom Jones *1940

The Life You Give: Aleksandr Pushkin *1799

Aleksandr Pushkin, born Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin, May 26 [June 6, New Style], 1799, Moscow, Russia, is the poet, novelist, dramatist, and short-story writer, often considered his country’s greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.Pushkin’s father came of an old boyar family; his mother was a granddaughter of Abram Hannibal, who, according to family… Continue reading The Life You Give: Aleksandr Pushkin *1799