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

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: 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: 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: Edward Elgar *1857

Sir Edward Elgar, born Edward William Elgar, June 2, 1857, in Broadheath, Worcestershire, England, is the composer whose works in the orchestral idiom of late 19th-century Romanticism—characterized by bold tunes, striking colour effects, and mastery of large forms—stimulated a renaissance of English music.The son of an organist and music dealer, Elgar left school at age… Continue reading The Life You Give: Edward Elgar *1857

The Life You Give: György Ligeti *1923

György Ligeti, born György Sándor Ligeti, May 28, 1923, in Diciosânmartin [now Tîrnăveni], Transylvania, Romania, is a leading composer of the branch of avant-garde music concerned principally with shifting masses of sound and tone colours.Ligeti, the great-nephew of violinist Leopold Auer, studied and taught music in Hungary until the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, when he… Continue reading The Life You Give: György Ligeti *1923

The Life You Give: Milton Babbitt *1916

Milton Babbitt, born Milton Byron Babbitt, on May 10, 1916, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., is the composer and theorist known as a leading proponent of total serialism—i.e., musical composition based on prior arrangements not only of all 12 pitches of the chromatic scale (as in 12-tone music) but also of dynamics, duration, timbre (tone colour),… Continue reading The Life You Give: Milton Babbitt *1916

The Life You Give: Peter Tchaikovsky *1840

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, also spelled Chaikovsky, Chaikovskii, or Tschaikowsky, born April 25 [May 7, New Style], 1840, in Votkinsk, Russia, is the most popular Russian composer of all time. His music has always had great appeal for the general public in virtue of its tuneful, open-hearted melodies, impressive harmonies, and colourful, picturesque orchestration, all of… Continue reading The Life You Give: Peter Tchaikovsky *1840

The Life You Give: Johannes Brahms *1833

Johannes Brahms, (born May 7, 1833, Hamburg [Germany]—died April 3, 1897, Vienna, Austria-Hungary [now in Austria]), German composer and pianist of the Romantic period, who wrote symphonies, concerti, chamber music, piano works, choral compositions, and more than 200 songs. Brahms was the great master of symphonic and sonata style in the second half of the… Continue reading The Life You Give: Johannes Brahms *1833

The Life You Give: Valery Gergiev *1953

Valery Gergiev, born May 2, 1953, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R., is a conductor, known for his charismatic stage presence and passionate performances, who became artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre (previously called Kirov Theatre) in St. Petersburg in 1996.Gergiev was the son of Ossetian parents and spent much of his youth in the Caucasus.… Continue reading The Life You Give: Valery Gergiev *1953

The Life You Give: Sergey Prokofiev *1891

Sergey Prokofiev, born Sergey Sergeyevich Prokofiev, on April 23 1891, in Sontsovka, Ukraine, is the composer who wrote in a wide range of musical genres, including symphonies, concerti, film music, operas, ballets, and program pieces.Prokofiev (Prokofjev in the transliteration system of the Russian Academy of Sciences) was born into a family of agriculturalists. Village life,… Continue reading The Life You Give: Sergey Prokofiev *1891

The Life You Give: Ethel Smyth *1858

Dame Ethel Smyth, born Ethel Mary Smyth, on April 22, 1858, in London, is the composer whose work was notably eclectic, ranging from conventional to experimental.Born into a military family, Smyth studied at the Leipzig Conservatory and was encouraged by Johannes Brahms and Antonín Dvořák. She first gained notice with her sweeping Mass in D… Continue reading The Life You Give: Ethel Smyth *1858

The Life You Give: Florence Price *1887

The first African-American woman whose music was played by a major symphony orchestra, Florence Price was a pioneering figure in 20th century American music. In the 21st century, her music has been performed increasingly often, especially since a large cache of her compositions was rediscovered in 2009.Price was born Florence Beatrice Smith in Little Rock,… Continue reading The Life You Give: Florence Price *1887

The Life You Give: André Previn *1929

Known as a successful classical conductor, jazz pianist, and composer of jazz, classical, and film music, André Previn frequently bridged the gap between popular and so-called "serious" music, and in doing so broadened the horizons of both. A German-American who fled Nazi Germany with his family in his youth, he went on to win four… Continue reading The Life You Give: André Previn *1929

The Life You Give: Herbert von Karajan *1908

Herbert von Karajan, born April 5, 1908, in Salzburg, Austria, is the orchestra and opera conductor who was a leading international musical figure of the mid-20th century.A child prodigy on the piano, Karajan studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He made his professional conducting debut in 1929 at Salzburg, and he was appointed to a… Continue reading The Life You Give: Herbert von Karajan *1908

The Life You Give: Sergey Rachmaninoff *1873

Sergey Rachmaninoff, born Sergey Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff, on March 20 [April 1, New Style], 1873, in Oneg, near Semyonovo, Russia, is the composer who was the last great figure of the tradition of Russian Romanticism and a leading piano virtuoso of his time. He is especially known for his piano concerti and the piece for piano… Continue reading The Life You Give: Sergey Rachmaninoff *1873

The Life You Give: Joseph Haydn *1732

Joseph Haydn, born Franz Joseph Haydn, on March 31, 1732, in Rohrau, Austria, is the composer who was one of the most important figures in the development of the Classical style in music during the 18th century. He helped establish the forms and styles for the string quartet and the symphony.Early yearsHaydn was the second… Continue reading The Life You Give: Joseph Haydn *1732

The Life You Give: Pierre Boulez *1925

Pierre Boulez, born March 26, 1925, in Montbrison, France, is the most significant French composer of his generation, as well as a noted conductor and music theorist who championed the work of 20th-century composers.Boulez, the son of a steel manufacturer, majored in mathematics at the Collège de Saint-Étienne, where he also took music lessons; he… Continue reading The Life You Give: Pierre Boulez *1925

The Life You Give: Béla Bartók *March 25 1881

Béla Bartók, Hungarian form Bartók Béla, (born March 25, 1881, Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary, Austria-Hungary [now Sânnicolau Mare, Romania]—died September 26, 1945, New York, NewYork, U.S.), Hungarian composer, pianist, ethnomusicologist, and teacher, noted for the Hungarian flavour of his major musical works, which include orchestral works, string quartets, piano solos, several stage works, a cantata, and a… Continue reading The Life You Give: Béla Bartók *March 25 1881

The Life You Give: Modest Mussorgsky *1839

Modest Mussorgsky, born Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, on March 9 [March 21, New Style], 1839, in Karevo, Russia, was the composer noted particularly for his opera Boris Godunov (final version first performed 1874), his songs, and his piano piece Pictures from an Exhibition (1874). Mussorgsky, along with Aleksandr Borodin, Mily Balakirev, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, and César Cui,… Continue reading The Life You Give: Modest Mussorgsky *1839

The Life You Give: Johann Sebastian Bach *1685

Johann Sebastian Bach, born March 21 [March 31, New Style], 1685, in Eisenach, Thuringia, Ernestine Saxon Duchies [Germany], was a composer of the Baroque era, the most celebrated member of a large family of north German musicians. Although he was admired by his contemporaries primarily as an outstanding harpsichordist, organist, and expert on organ building,… Continue reading The Life You Give: Johann Sebastian Bach *1685