The Life You Give: Jacqueline du Pré * 1945

Her story is one of the most legendary of all twentieth century musicians' stories, and also, one of the most tragic. Cellist Jacqueline Du Pré, born on January 26, 1945, in Oxford, England, to Derek and Iris Du Pré. (Despite the family name, Derek Du Pré was not French, but rather of British Channel Island… Continue reading The Life You Give: Jacqueline du Pré * 1945

The Life You Give: Witold Lutosławski *1913

Lutoslawski was the leading progressive figure in Polish music of the second half of the twentieth century. Born in Warsaw, he showed an exceptional musical talent at an early age, with his first compositions dating from 1922. He studied piano, violin, and composition (with Witold Maliszewski, a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov), graduating from the Warsaw Conservatory… Continue reading The Life You Give: Witold Lutosławski *1913

The Life You Give: Marcello Giordani *1963

Marcello Giordani was widely regarded as a standout among his generation's operatic tenors, both for his numerous acclaimed performances at the world's major operatic venues, including more than 240 at the Met, and for his many highly praised recordings. He was well known for several roles in the operas of Verdi and Puccini, but he… Continue reading The Life You Give: Marcello Giordani *1963

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 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: 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 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: Earle Brown *1926

Earle Brown, born Earle Appleton Brown on December 26, 1926, Lunenburg, Massachusetts, was one of the leading American composers of avant-garde music, best known for his development of graphic notation and the open-form system of composition.Brown had been trained in engineering and mathematics before he began to study music theory and composition. In 1952 Brown… Continue reading The Life You Give: Earle Brown *1926

The Life You Give: Mauricio Kagel *1931

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Kagel proved to be one of the most versatile, creative, and witty composers to come of age in the second half of the twentieth century. He studied piano, theory, violoncello, organ, singing, and conducting, and was self-taught as a composer. Kagel also studied philosophy and literature extensively during his college… Continue reading The Life You Give: Mauricio Kagel *1931

The Life You Give: Teresa Carreño *1853

Teresa Carreño, born María Teresa Gertrudis de Jesús Carreño García on December 22, 1853 in Caracas, is the celebrated Venezuelan pianist of great power and spirit, who was known to her public as the “Valkyrie of the piano.”She was given her first piano lessons by her father, Manuel Antonio Carreño, a politician and talented amateur… Continue reading The Life You Give: Teresa Carreño *1853

The Life You Give: Edgard Varèse *1883

Edgard Varèse, born Edgar Varèse on Dec. 22, 1883, in Paris, France, was a composer and innovator in 20th-century techniques of sound production.Varèse spent his boyhood in Paris, Burgundy, and Turin, Italy. After composing without formal instruction as a youth, he later studied under Vincent d’Indy, Albert Roussel, and Charles Widor and was strongly encouraged… Continue reading The Life You Give: Edgard Varèse *1883

The Life You Give: András Schiff *1953

András Schiff is among the most prominent members of a generation of Hungarian pianists born in the years following World War II, along with such artists as Zoltán Kocsis, Dezso Ránki, and Jenö Jandó. Of this remarkable group, Schiff has achieved the strongest international reputation, due not only to his decision to pursue his career… Continue reading The Life You Give: András Schiff *1953

Weekly Woman: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, composer

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, born April 30, 1939 in Miami, Florida, U.S.A., is a composer, and the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in composition.Taaffe began composing as a child, and, by the time she finished high school, she had studied piano, violin, and trumpet. After receiving both a bachelor’s (1960) and a master’s… Continue reading Weekly Woman: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, composer

The Life You Give: Ludwig van Beethoven *1770

Ludwig van Beethoven, born on December 17, 1770, in Bonn, Germany, was a composer, and the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras.Widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived, Ludwig van Beethoven dominates a period of musical history as no one else before or since. Rooted in… Continue reading The Life You Give: Ludwig van Beethoven *1770

Happy Birthday, Elliott Carter! *1908

Elliott Carter, born December 11, 1908, in New York, New York, was a composer, and musical innovator whose erudite style and novel principles of polyrhythm, called metric modulation, won worldwide attention. He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music, in 1960 and 1973.Carter, who was born of a wealthy family, was educated at Harvard… Continue reading Happy Birthday, Elliott Carter! *1908