The Life You Give: Sam Cooke *1931

Sam Cooke, born Samuel Cook, on January 22 1931, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, U.S.A., was singer, songwriter, producer, and entrepreneur who was a major figure in the history of popular music and, along with Ray Charles, one of the most influential Black vocalists of the post-World War II period. If Charles represented raw soul, Cooke symbolized… Continue reading The Life You Give: Sam Cooke *1931

Happy Birthday, Plácido Domingo! *1941

Plácido Domingo, born January 21 1941 in Madrid, Spain, is singer, conductor, and opera administrator whose resonant, powerful tenor voice, imposing physical stature, good looks, and dramatic ability made him one of the most popular tenors of his time.Domingo’s parents were noted performers in zarzuela, a form of Spanish light opera. The family moved to… Continue reading Happy Birthday, Plácido Domingo! *1941

Martha Argerich — Early Recordings

A prodigy, Argerich was performing professionally by age eight. In 1955 she went to Europe, where her teachers included Friedrich Gulda and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. She won two prestigious competitions in 1957 at age 16: the Geneva International Music Competition and the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition. In 1965 she won the Chopin Piano Competition… Continue reading Martha Argerich — Early Recordings

The Life You Give: Marilyn Horne *1934

Marilyn Horne, born January 16, 1934 in Bradford, Pennsylvania, was one of the most admired singers of her generation, and was a major factor in the bel canto revival of the 1960s. While she was especially associated with the works of Rossini and Handel (she persuaded the Metropolitan Opera to mount Rinaldo for her in… Continue reading The Life You Give: Marilyn Horne *1934

The Life You Give: Morton Feldman *1926

Morton Feldman, born on January 12 1926, in New York, N.Y., U.S.A., was an avant-garde composer. He studied composition with Wallingford Riegger and Stefan Wolpe. In the 1950s, much more influenced by Abstract Expressionist painters than by other composers, he began using a method of graphic notation that included such devices as indicating the length… Continue reading The Life You Give: Morton Feldman *1926

The Life You Give: Blixa Bargeld *1959

A powerfully influential figure in experimental and avant-garde rock, Blixa Bargeld is best known as one of the founders of the pioneering industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, as well as for his work with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.Blixa Bargeld was born Christian Emmerich in the Friedenau quarter of Berlin, Germany on January 12, 1959.… Continue reading The Life You Give: Blixa Bargeld *1959

The Live You Give: Sherrill Milnes *1935

Sherrill Milnes was born on January 10, 1935, and grew up on a dairy farm in Downers Grove, Illinois. Despite a childhood devoted to daily chores, he took voice lessons and studied piano, violin, viola, double bass, clarinet, and tuba. But when it came time for college, he pursued pre-medical studies. After a year and… Continue reading The Live You Give: Sherrill Milnes *1935

The Life You Give: Rod Stewart *1945

Over the course of his career, Rod Stewart has been lauded as the finest singer of his generation; he's written several songs that turned into modern standards; he's sung with the Faces, who rivaled the Rolling Stones in their prime; and he's had massive commercial success. He's one of rock & roll's best interpretive singers… Continue reading The Life You Give: Rod Stewart *1945

The Life You Give: Waltraut Meier *1956

Though she has achieved much acclaim for her Wagnerian roles -- and rightly so, mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier possesses a vast repertory -- not to mention a consummate skill -- in Italian, French, and even Russian opera, from Bizet's Carmen and Tchaikovsky's Jeanne d'Arc to Verdi's Azucena (Il Trovatore) and Saint-Saëns' Dalila (Samson and Dalila). She… Continue reading The Life You Give: Waltraut Meier *1956

The Live You Give: Giacinto Scelsi *1905

Giacinto Scelsi, Conte Giacinto Scelsi di Valva, born Giacinto Francesco Maria Scelsi, on January 8 1905, in La Spezia, Italy, is the composer, disciple of Schoenbergian serialism, who became interested in Eastern music, and developed a variety of pre-minimalism, writing works based on one note, and also wrote surrealist poetry in French, becoming a cult… Continue reading The Live You Give: Giacinto Scelsi *1905

The Life You Give: David Bowie *1947

David Bowie, born David Robert Jones, on January 8, 1947, London, England, is the singer, songwriter, and actor who was most prominent in the 1970s and best known for his shifting personae and musical genre hopping.To call Bowie a transitional figure in rock history is less a judgment than a job description. Every niche he… Continue reading The Life You Give: David Bowie *1947

The Life You Give: Aleksandr Scriabin *1871

Aleksandr Scriabin, born Aleksandr Nikolayevich Scriabin, on Jan. 6, 1872, in Moscow, Russia, was a composer of piano and orchestral music noted for its unusual harmonies through which the composer sought to explore musical symbolism. Scriabin was trained as a soldier at the Moscow Cadet School from 1882 to 1889 but studied music at the… Continue reading The Life You Give: Aleksandr Scriabin *1871

The Life You Give: Maurizio Pollini *1942

Pollini made his debut at age nine. He graduated from the Milan Conservatory in 1959 and won the Ettore Pozzoli Competition that same year, followed by the Warsaw Chopin Competition in 1960. He appeared on the stage more frequently during the second half of the 1960s, playing in the United States for the first time in 1968. In subsequent years he became known for his recordings and performances of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

The Life You Give: Alfred Brendel *1931

Alfred Brendel, born January 5, 1931, in Wiesenberg, Czechoslovakia [now Loučná nad Desnou, Czech Republic], is a pianist and writer whose recordings and international concert appearances secured his reputation. He is best known for his interpretations of Ludwig van Beethoven’s music, recording several cycles of the composer’s piano sonatas and concertos.Brendel studied the piano with… Continue reading The Life You Give: Alfred Brendel *1931

The Life You Give: Nikolai Medtner *1880

Russian composer Nikolai Karlovich Medtner (or Metner) was born January 4 1880 in Moscow, to parents of German descent who had lived in Russia for several generations. The family background was musical; his mother's brother was Fedor Gedike (Theodore Goedicke), a minor Romantic composer and professional pianist. He received early piano lessons from his mother… Continue reading The Life You Give: Nikolai Medtner *1880

The Life You Give: Grace Bumbry *1937

Grace Bumbry is a pioneering Mezzo & Soprano. Few mezzo-sopranos have successfully made the transition to becoming top sopranos. Grace Bumbry managed that. She was also a major figure in helping black singers find their rightful place on the opera stage in an era where segregation ran rampant.Born on Jan. 4, 1937, the mezzo was… Continue reading The Life You Give: Grace Bumbry *1937

The Life You Give: Patti Smith *1946

Punk rock's poet laureate Patti Smith ranks among the most ambitious, unconventional, and challenging rock & rollers of all time. When she emerged in the '70s, Smith's music was hailed as the most exciting fusion of rock and poetry since Bob Dylan's heyday. With her androgynous, visual presentation echoing her unabashedly intellectual and uncompromising songwriting,… Continue reading The Life You Give: Patti Smith *1946

The Life You Give: Pablo Casals *1876

Pablo Casals, born Pau Casals i Defilló, on December 29, 1876, in Vendrell, Spain, was cellist and conductor, known for his virtuosic technique, skilled interpretation, and consummate musicianship.Casals made his debut in Barcelona in 1891 after early training in composition, cello, and piano. After further study in Madrid and Brussels he returned to Barcelona in… Continue reading The Life You Give: Pablo Casals *1876