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 Life You Give: George Walker *VI 27 1922

Although he started out as a highly promising concert pianist in a grand style (some of his most prominent concerts featured concertos by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Brahms), George Walker was writing substantial music from his mid-twenties. By the time he was 40, he had solidly established himself as a flexible, fully contemporary composer and it… Continue reading The Life You Give: George Walker *VI 27 1922

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: 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: 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: 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: 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

Birthdates years ago today — Breonna Taylor 1993; Violinist Laurie Anderson 1947; Pianist Martha Argerich 1941; Poet Federico García Lorca 1898

Martha Argerich Laurie Anderson Martha Argerich Federico García Lorca Breonna Taylor Martha Argerich Martha Argerich

The Life You Give: Cecilia Bartoli *1966

Cecilia Bartoli, born June 4, 1966, in Rome, Italy), is an operatic mezzo-soprano who achieved global stardom with her outstanding vocal skills and captivating stage presence. Both of Bartoli’s parents were members of the Rome Opera chorus, and she joked that when she was a child, her babysitters were the likes of Rossini and Verdi.… Continue reading The Life You Give: Cecilia Bartoli *1966

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: Mikhail Glinka *1804

Mikhail Glinka, born Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka, May 21 [June 1, New Style], 1804, in Novospasskoye, Russia, is the first Russian composer to have won international recognition and the acknowledged founder of the Russian nationalist school.Glinka first became interested in music at age 10 or 11, when he heard his uncle’s private orchestra. He studied at… Continue reading The Life You Give: Mikhail Glinka *1804

The Life You Give: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau *1925

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, born May 28, 1925, in Berlin, Germany, was an operatic baritone and preeminent singer of lieder, distinguished for his lyrical voice, commanding presence, and superb artistry. Fischer-Dieskau studied with Georg Walter before serving in World War II and with Hermann Weissenborn afterward. In 1947 he made his concert debut in Johannes Brahms’s Ein… Continue reading The Life You Give: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau *1925

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: Teresa Stratas *1938

Stratas was one of the controversial stars of the latter half of the twentieth century, and one whose personality and life, like that of Callas, another great soprano of Greek descent, are inextricably linked with her performances in the minds of many members of the public. Also like Callas, she had a special magnetism as… Continue reading The Life You Give: Teresa Stratas *1938

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: Richard Wagner *1813

Richard Wagner, born Wilhelm Richard Wagner, on May 22, 1813, in Leipzig, Germany, is the dramatic composer and theorist whose operas and music had a revolutionary influence on the course of Western music, either by extension of his discoveries or reaction against them. Among his major works are The Flying Dutchman (1843), Tannhäuser (1845), Lohengrin… Continue reading The Life You Give: Richard Wagner *1813