Alfred Brendel *I 5 1931 — The Life You Give

Alfred Brendel, born January 5, 1931, in Wiesenberg, Czechoslovakia [now Loučná nad Desnou, Czech Republic], is a pianist and writer whose recordings and international concert appearances secured his reputation. He is best known for his interpretations of Ludwig van Beethoven’s music, recording several cycles of the composer’s piano sonatas and concertos.Brendel studied the piano with… Continue reading Alfred Brendel *I 5 1931 — The Life You Give

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

György Cziffra *XI 5 1921 — The Life You Give

György Cziffra was one of the most celebrated and individual piano virtuosos of the postwar decades in Europe, especially noted for his powers of improvisation and as a Liszt pianist.He was born in a shantytown called Angels Court on the outskirts of Budapest to a family of gypsy musicians. The family was desperately poor, and… Continue reading György Cziffra *XI 5 1921 — The Life You Give

Keith Emerson *XI 2 1944 — The Life You Give

Throughout his career with the Nice, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and as a solo artist, Keith Emerson proved himself perhaps the greatest, most technically accomplished keyboardist in rock history. For all his reputation as an innovator and master of classically influenced rock, Emerson began his career playing R&B; the Nice got their first big break… Continue reading Keith Emerson *XI 2 1944 — The Life You Give

Conlon Nancarrow *X 27 1912 — The Life You Give

Conlon Nancarrow was an iconoclastic American composer who wrote in an utterly new way using new instrumental resources. While isolated from the main currents of music, he was virtually ignored by the public and his colleagues until the 1970s. In the 1980s composer György Ligeti said Nancarrow was writing "the best music by any living… Continue reading Conlon Nancarrow *X 27 1912 — The Life You Give

Emil Gilels *X 19 1916 — The Life You Give

Emil Gilels, born Emil Grigoryevich Gilels, Oct. 6 [Oct. 19, New Style], 1916, in Odessa, Ukraine, is the concert pianist admired for his superb technique, tonal control, and disciplined approach.Gilels began piano studies at age 6 and gave his first public concert in 1929 at age 13. In 1933 he gained top honours in the… Continue reading Emil Gilels *X 19 1916 — The Life You Give

Edwin Fischer *X 6 1886 — The Life You Give

Edwin Fischer was a Swiss pianist, conductor, and educator during the first half of the 20th century. He was known for his expressive interpretations of the piano music of J.S. Bach and Mozart.Fischer was born in 1886 in Basle, Switzerland, and he started playing the piano when he was four years old. Both of his… Continue reading Edwin Fischer *X 6 1886 — The Life You Give

Glenn Gould *IX 25 1932 — The Life You Give

Glenn Gould, born Glenn Herbert Gold, September 25, 1932, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is the pianist known for his contrapuntal clarity and brilliant, if often unorthodox, performances.Gould studied piano from the age of 3, began composing at 5, and entered the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto at 10, earning its associate degree in 1946.… Continue reading Glenn Gould *IX 25 1932 — The Life You Give

Ray Charles *IX 23 1930 — The Life You Give

Ray Charles, born Ray Charles Robinson, September 23, 1930, in Albany, Georgia, U.S.A., is the pianist, singer, composer, bandleader, and leading entertainer billed as “the Genius” who was credited with the early development of soul music, a style based on a melding of gospel, rhythm and blues, and jazz music.When Charles was an infant his… Continue reading Ray Charles *IX 23 1930 — The Life You Give

Vladimir Horowitz *IX 18 1903 / The Life You Give

Vladimir Horowitz, born September 18 [Old Style], 1903, in Berdichev, Russia [now in Ukraine], is the virtuoso pianist in the Romantic tradition who was celebrated for his flawless technique and an almost orchestral quality of tone. Horowitz’s performances of works by Franz Liszt, Sergey Rachmaninoff, Frédéric Chopin, Aleksandr Scriabin, Domenico Scarlatti, and Sergey Prokofiev were… Continue reading Vladimir Horowitz *IX 18 1903 / The Life You Give

The Life You Give: Bill Evans *VIII 16 1929

Bill Evans, born William John Evans, August 16, 1929, in Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.A., is the jazz pianist known for lush harmonies and lyrical improvisation, one of the most influential pianists of his time.Evans’s first piano teacher was his mother; he also studied violin and flute. He graduated with a music teaching degree from Southeastern… Continue reading The Life You Give: Bill Evans *VIII 16 1929

The Life You Give: Enrique Granados *VII 27 1867

Enrique Granados, born July 27, 1867, in Lérida, Spain, is the pianist and composer who was a leader of the movement toward nationalism in late 19th-century Spanish music.Granados made his debut as a pianist at 16. He studied composition in Barcelona with Felipe Pedrell, the father of Spanish nationalism in music. He studied piano in… Continue reading The Life You Give: Enrique Granados *VII 27 1867

The Life You Give: Alexis Weissenberg *VII 26 1929

If one wanted to make a biographical feature film about a classical musician, the life of the Bulgarian-American-French pianist Alexis Weissenberg would furnish ideal subject material. Born in Sofia in 1929, Weissenberg was taught to play the piano by his mother. Several members of her family were Vienna Conservatory-trained musicians, and Weissenberg grew up in… Continue reading The Life You Give: Alexis Weissenberg *VII 26 1929

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 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: 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: Sergey Rachmaninoff *1873

Sergey Rachmaninoff, born Sergey Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff, on March 20 [April 1, New Style], 1873, in Oneg, near Semyonovo, Russia, is the composer who was the last great figure of the tradition of Russian Romanticism and a leading piano virtuoso of his time. He is especially known for his piano concerti and the piece for piano… Continue reading The Life You Give: Sergey Rachmaninoff *1873

The Life You Give: Sviatoslav Richter *1915

Sviatoslav Richter, born Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter, on March 7 [March 20, New Style], 1915, Zhitomir, Ukraine, Russian Empire [now Zhytomyr, Ukraine], is the pianist whose technical virtuosity combined with subtle introspection, made him one of the preeminent pianists of the 20th century. Though his repertoire was enormous, he was especially praised for his interpretations of… Continue reading The Life You Give: Sviatoslav Richter *1915