Anton Webern *XII 3 1883 — The Life You Give

Anton Webern, born Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern, December 3, 1883, Vienna, Austria, is the composer of the 12-tone Viennese school. He is known especially for his passacaglia for orchestra, his chamber music, and various songs (Lieder).Webern’s father, a mining engineer, rose to the highest rank of his profession, becoming chief of mining in the… Continue reading Anton Webern *XII 3 1883 — The Life You Give

Interrupted/Innerupted: Symphony No. 8, Franz Schubert

Take a moment, hook in your best pair of headphones, maybe even close your eyes, and listen to the first haunting bars of Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished” Eighth Symphony. It begins with a single, hushed melodic line in the low strings which quickly gives way to shivering violins and darkly pulsating bass pizzicati. Then, a lamenting… Continue reading Interrupted/Innerupted: Symphony No. 8, Franz Schubert

Alfred Schnittke *XI 24 1934 — The Life you Give

Alfred Schnittke, born Nov. 24, 1934, Engels, Volga German Autonomous S.S.R. [now in Saratov oblast, Russia], is the postmodernist Russian composer who created serious, dark-toned musical works characterized by abrupt juxtapositions of radically different, often contradictory, styles, an approach that came to be known as “polystylism.”Schnittke’s father was a Jewish journalist who had been born… Continue reading Alfred Schnittke *XI 24 1934 — The Life you Give

Benjamin Britten *XI 22 1913 — The Life You Give

Benjamin Britten, born Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten Of Aldeburgh, November 22, 1913, in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, is the composer of the mid-20th century, whose operas were considered the finest English operas since those of Henry Purcell in the 17th century. He was also an outstanding pianist and conductor.Britten composed as a child and at… Continue reading Benjamin Britten *XI 22 1913 — The Life You Give

Meredith Monk *XI 20 1942 — The Life You Give

Meredith Monk, born Meredith Jane Monk, November 20, 1942, New York City, New York, U.S.A., is the performance artist, a pioneer in the avant-garde, whose work skillfully integrated diverse performance disciplines and media.Monk studied piano and eurythmics from an early age. She earned a B.A. in 1964 from Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York. From… Continue reading Meredith Monk *XI 20 1942 — The Life You Give

Paul Hindemith *XI 16 1895 — The Life You Give

Paul Hindemith, born November 16, 1895, in Hanau, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is the one of the principal German composers of the first half of the 20th century and a leading musical theorist. He sought to revitalize tonality—the traditional harmonic system that was being challenged by many other composers—and also pioneered in the writing… Continue reading Paul Hindemith *XI 16 1895 — The Life You Give

Johann Strauss II *X 25 1825 The Life You Give

Johann Strauss II, born October 25, 1825, Vienna, Austria, “the Waltz King,” is the composer famous for his Viennese waltzes and operettas.Strauss was the eldest son of the composer Johann Strauss I. Because his father wished him to follow a nonmusical profession, he started his career as a bank clerk. He studied the violin without… Continue reading Johann Strauss II *X 25 1825 The Life You Give

Sofia Gubaidulina *X 24 1931 — The Life You Give

Sofia Gubaidulina, born October 24, 1931, Chistopol, Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic [now Tatarstan, Russia]), is the composer whose works fuse Russian and Central Asian regional styles with the Western classical tradition.During her youth, Gubaidulina studied music in the city of Kazan, the capital of her home republic. She had lessons at the Kazan Music… Continue reading Sofia Gubaidulina *X 24 1931 — The Life You Give

Charles Ives *X 20 1874 — The Life You Give

Charles Ives, born Charles Edward Ives, October 20, 1874, in Danbury, Connecticut, U.S.A., is the significant composer known for a number of innovations that anticipated most of the later musical developments of the 20th century.Ives received his earliest musical instruction from his father, who was a bandleader, music teacher, and acoustician who experimented with the… Continue reading Charles Ives *X 20 1874 — The Life You Give

Camille Saint-Saëns *XI 9 1835 — The Life You Give

Camille Saint-Saëns, in full Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, (born October 9, 1835, Paris, France—died December 16, 1921, Algiers [Algeria]), composer chiefly remembered for his symphonic poems—the first of that genre to be written by a Frenchman—and for his opera Samson et Dalila. Saint-Saëns was notable for his pioneering efforts on behalf of French music, and he was… Continue reading Camille Saint-Saëns *XI 9 1835 — The Life You Give

Steve Reich *X 3 1936 — The Life You Give

Steve Reich, born Stephen Michael Reich, October 3, 1936, in New York, New York, U.S.A., is the composer who was one of the leading exponents of Minimalism, a style based on repetitions and combinations of simple motifs and harmonies.Reich was the son of an attorney and a singer-lyricist. He majored in philosophy at Cornell University… Continue reading Steve Reich *X 3 1936 — The Life You Give

Dmitri Shostakovich *IX 25 1906 — The Life You Give

Dmitri Shostakovich, born Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich, on September 12 [September 25, New Style], 1906, in St. Petersburg, Russia, is the composer renowned particularly for his 15 symphonies, numerous chamber works, and concerti, many of them written under the pressures of government-imposed standards of Soviet art.Shostakovich was the son of an engineer. He entered the Petrograd… Continue reading Dmitri Shostakovich *IX 25 1906 — The Life You Give

Arnold Schönberg *IX 13 1874 — The Life You Give

Arnold Schoenberg, born Arnold Franz Walter Schönberg, September 13, 1874 in Vienna, Austria, is the composer who created new methods of musical composition involving atonality, namely serialism and the 12-tone row. He was also one of the most-influential teachers of the 20th century; among his most-significant pupils were Alban Berg and Anton Webern.Schoenberg’s father, Samuel,… Continue reading Arnold Schönberg *IX 13 1874 — The Life You Give

The Life You Give: Anton Bruckner *IX 4 1824

Anton Bruckner, born Josef Anton Bruckner, Sept. 4, 1824, in Ansfelden, Austria, is the composer of a number of highly original and monumental symphonies. He was also an organist and teacher who composed much sacred and secular choral music.Bruckner was the son of a village schoolmaster and organist in Upper Austria. He showed talent on… Continue reading The Life You Give: Anton Bruckner *IX 4 1824

The Life You Give: Karlheinz Stockhausen *VIII 22 1928

Karlheinz Stockhausen, born Aug. 22, 1928, in Mödrath, near Cologne, Germany, is the composer, and important creator and theoretician of electronic and serial music who strongly influenced avant-garde composers from the 1950s through the ’80s.Stockhausen studied at the State Academy for Music in Cologne and the University of Cologne from 1947 to 1951. In 1952… Continue reading The Life You Give: Karlheinz Stockhausen *VIII 22 1928

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