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: 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: 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: Martha Argerich *1941

Martha Argerich, (born June 5, 1941, Buenos Aires, Argentina), Argentine pianist known for her recordings and performances of chamber music, particularly of works by Olivier Messiaen, Sergey Prokofiev, and Sergey Rachmaninoff.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.… Continue reading The Life You Give: Martha Argerich *1941

The Life You Give: Rubén González *1919

Rubén González was one of the last of Cuba's great Afro-Cuban piano players. Although he had played and recorded with the band led by Enrique Jorrín, the creator of the cha-cha, for a quarter of a century, he had retired from music by the mid-'80s. Things began to change when González recorded with the Afro-Cuban… Continue reading The Life You Give: Rubén González *1919

The Life You Give: Alicia de Larrocha *1923

Alicia de Larrocha's greatest contribution as a musician was her unrivaled advocacy of Spanish and Catalonian piano music. Her interpretations of the music of Albéniz, Granados, Falla, Mompou (a lifelong friend who dedicated several works to her), and Montsalvatge were universally described as brilliant, authentic, and masterful in tonal color, texture, and rhythm. She was… Continue reading The Life You Give: Alicia de Larrocha *1923

The Life You Give: Rick Wakeman *1949

One of the premier rock keyboardists of the progressive era, Rick Wakeman cut his teeth as a London session musician at the tail-end of the 1960s before earning star status as a member of prog rock superstars Yes in 1971. He left the band in 1973 to concentrate on his burgeoning solo career and within… Continue reading The Life You Give: Rick Wakeman *1949

The Life You Give: Erik Satie *1866

Erik Satie, born Eric Alfred Leslie Satie, on May 17, 1866, in Honfleur, Calvados, France, is the composer whose spare, unconventional, often witty style exerted a major influence on 20th-century music, particularly in France.Satie studied at the Paris Conservatory, dropped out, and later worked as a café pianist. About 1890 he became associated with the… Continue reading The Life You Give: Erik Satie *1866

The Life You Give: Stevie Wonder *1950

Stevie Wonder, born Steveland Judkins or Steveland Morris, May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.A., is the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, a child prodigy who developed into one of the most creative musical figures of the late 20th century.Blind from birth and raised in inner-city Detroit, he was a skilled musician by age eight. Renamed… Continue reading The Life You Give: Stevie Wonder *1950

The Life You Give: Carla Bley *1936 or 1938

A highly regarded pianist, composer, and arranger, Carla Bley has been at the forefront of avant-garde jazz and modern creative music since the '60s. She initially emerged as a composer, working closely with her first husband, pianist Paul Bley, as well as progressive artists like George Russell and Jimmy Giuffre. She is a founder of… Continue reading The Life You Give: Carla Bley *1936 or 1938

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: Keith Jarrett *1945

Keith Jarrett, born May 8, 1945, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., is a jazz pianist, composer, and saxophonist considered to be one of the most original and prolific jazz musicians to emerge during the late 20th century. He was also a noted classical pianist.A child prodigy, Jarrett began studying the piano at age three and performed… Continue reading The Life You Give: Keith Jarrett *1945

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: Bartolomeo Cristofori *1655

Bartolomeo Cristofori, born Bartolomeo di Francesco Cristofori, May 4, 1655, in Padua, Republic of Venice, Italy, is the harpsichord maker generally credited with the invention of the piano, called in his time gravicembalo col piano e forte, or “harpsichord that plays soft and loud.” The name refers to the piano’s ability to change loudness according… Continue reading The Life You Give: Bartolomeo Cristofori *1655

The Life You Give: Duke Ellington *1899

Duke Ellington, born Edward Kennedy Ellington, April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., is the pianist who was the greatest jazz composer and bandleader of his time. One of the originators of big-band jazz, Ellington led his band for more than half a century, composed thousands of scores, and created one of the most distinctive… Continue reading The Life You Give: Duke Ellington *1899

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: Carmen McRae *1920

Carmen McRae, born April 8, 1920, New York, N.Y., U.S.A., is the jazz vocalist and pianist who from an early emulation of vocalist Billie Holiday grew to become a distinctive stylist, known for her smoky voice and her melodic variations on jazz standards. Her scat improvisations were innovative, complex, and elegant.McRae studied classical piano as… Continue reading The Life You Give: Carmen McRae *1920

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