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: 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

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: Brian Eno *1948

Brian Eno, born Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, May 15, 1948, in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England, is producer, composer, keyboardist, and singer who helped define and reinvent the sound of some of the most popular bands of the 1980s and ’90s and who created the genre of ambient music.While an… Continue reading The Life You Give: Brian Eno *1948

The Life You Give: Robert Fripp *1946

A truly singular figure in rock music, Robert Fripp is a guitarist, composer, and bandleader who has brought a unique, strikingly intelligent perspective to his work. One of the most technically gifted guitarists in rock, Fripp is the thinking-person's guitar hero, showing no interest in shredding but eager to challenge himself and blaze new trails… Continue reading The Life You Give: Robert Fripp *1946

The Life You Give: Claudio Monteverdi *1567

Claudio Monteverdi, baptized May 15, 1567, Cremona, Duchy of Milan [Italy], is the composer in the late Renaissance, seen as most important developer of the then new genre, the opera. He also did much to bring a “modern” secular spirit into church music.Monteverdi, the son of a barber-surgeon and chemist, studied with the director of… Continue reading The Life You Give: Claudio Monteverdi *1567

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: Billy Joel *1949

Billy Joel, born William Martin Joel, on May 9, 1949, in Bronx, New York, U.S.A., is singer, pianist, and songwriter in the pop ballad tradition whose numerous hit songs in the 1970s and ’80s made him an enduring favourite on the concert circuit.Joel, whose father was a German Jewish immigrant, was raised in Hicksville, a… Continue reading The Life You Give: Billy Joel *1949

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: 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: 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: Germaine Tailleferre *1892

Of significance as the sole female member of the post-World War I group of French composers known as Les Six, Germaine Tailleferre remained a prominent -- if somewhat inaccessible -- musician long after the disintegration of that group during the middle and late 1920s. She left behind, at her death in 1983 at the age… Continue reading The Life You Give: Germaine Tailleferre *1892

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: Giuseppe Tartini *1692

Giuseppe Tartini, born April 8, 1692, in Pirano, Istria, Republic of Venice [now Piran, Slovenia], is the violinist, composer, and theorist who helped establish the modern style of violin bowing and formulated principles of musical ornamentation and harmony.Tartini studied divinity and law at Padua and at the same time established a reputation as a fencer.… Continue reading The Life You Give: Giuseppe Tartini *1692

The Life You Give: Ravi Shankar *1920

Ravi Shankar, born Ravindra Shankar Chowdhury, on April 7, 1920, Benares [now Varanasi], India, is the musician, player of the sitar, composer, and founder of the National Orchestra of India, who was influential in stimulating Western appreciation of Indian music.Born into a Bengali Brahman (highest social class in Hindu tradition) family, Shankar spent most of… Continue reading The Life You Give: Ravi Shankar *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