Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) was born in Germany and began learning music from his father at a young age. While still a boy, he became a traveling performer and earned enough to support his family. Beethoven eventually moved to Austria and became the first musician to make a living without being employed by the church or nobility. Beethoven is considered to be a brilliant composer and pianist, even as he became deaf in the later years of his life. He composed some of his best works after he had total hearing loss.
Information from Teacher Pay Teachers store- Sara Bibee
Aaron Copland is one of the most famous American composers of all time. Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York, and went to France as a teenager to study music with Nadia Boulanger, who helped Copland create his own style.
Copland wrote music with a very "American" sound. Some of his most famous pieces are his ballets -- Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring. Billy the Kid and Rodeo are about the Wild West. Copland also wrote music for movies -- Of Mice and Men and Our Town, among others.
One of Copland's best known compositions is Fanfare for the Common Man. Copland wrote it after the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra asked several composers to write fanfares during World War II. Copland's music has become a great part of American history.
Clara Wieck-Schumann was born to musician parents in Leipzig, Germany on September 13th, 1819. Clara studied music at an early age and performed her first piano recital at age 11. She also studied voice, violin, score reading, and composition.
Robert Schumann, another composer and musician, came to study music with Clara's father and Clara and Robert soon fell in love. Robert asked Clara to marry him, but Clara's parents objected to the marriage since Robert was 9 years older than she. A few years later Clara and Robert did Marry and had eight children together.
Throughout her life, Clara was well-known as a piano soloist. Clara wrote 66 pieces, including works for piano and orchestra. When her husband died, Clara committed the rest of her life to performing his music. Clara died in Germany on May 20th, 1896.
information provided by: dsokids.com
5/22/1813 - 2/13/1883
Born in Germany
German born composer Richard Wagner is best known for his operas. Before composing his own works, he was a theatrical and operatic producer. He was also a conductor and wrote articles and essays on drama and music, something he continued to do throughout his lifetime.
Wagner was largely self-trained as a musician, but had tremendous talent. In 1837 he composed Rienzi, his first successful operatic work. This was followed by The Flying Dutchman, Tannhauser and Lohengrin. His masterpiece, however, is the Ring of the Nibelung, a cycle of four operas that tells the story of mythological German gods and beings. Composition of this series took over twenty-five years. The use of leitmotifs helps to unite these four operas. A leitmotif is a musical phrase that is related to some aspect of the drama - perhaps a character, place, thought or thing. Another important aspect of his music is infinite melody; in his Ring operas, the music never stops until the final curtain has dropped. And, the orchestra is equally as important as the singers and drama. Wagner wanted a theatre that would meet the considerable needs of these operas and eventually built Bayreuth, a theater in which his works are still performed today.
As is the case with many geniuses, Wagner could be a difficult person. He ran up enormous debts, which he expected others to pay off. When he did have money, he spent it recklessly. He had a huge ego and once asked a man whom he barely knew for money. When this was denied, he was incensed and replied, “It probably will not happen again that a man like me will apply to you.”
Wagner’s music was loved by some and hated by others, but it had, and continues to have, a tremendous effect on all audiences and musicians.
-Classics for Kids
8/25/1918 - 10/14/1990
Born in America
Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and grew up in the Boston area. His father sold wigs and beauty supplies, and wanted his oldest son to take over the business. But after Leonard -- or Lenny, as all his friends called him -- composed the class song for his high school graduation, he went on to Harvard and majored in music.
Leonard Bernstein got his big break when he was the 25-year-old assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. At the last minute, he stepped in to conduct a concert in Carnegie Hall that was broadcast live over the radio all across America. The audience loved him, and the event made front page headlines in the newspaper.
When Bernstein was eventually named music director of the New York Philharmonic, he was the first American to become permanent conductor of a major American orchestra. Leonard Bernstein used television, which was brand new at the time, to bring classical music to a very wide audience through his "Young People's Concerts."
Bernstein also loved to compose musical theater. His musicals include "On The Town," "Wonderful Town," and "West Side Story."
-Classics for Kids
March 4, 1678 - July 27 or 28, 1741
Born in Italy
Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy, which is where he spent most of his life. His father taught him to play the violin, and the two would often perform together.
Antonio continued to study and practice the violin, even after he became a priest. He was called the "Red Priest" because of his flaming red hair. However, after a while, his bad asthma kept Antonio from saying Mass.
After that, Vivaldi spent all his time writing music and teaching. He taught at an orphanage for girls, and wrote a lot of music for the girls to play. People came from miles around to hear Vivaldi's talented students perform the beautiful music he had written.
Many people think Vivaldi was the best Italian composer of his time. He wrote concertos, operas, church music and many other compositions. In all, Antonio wrote over 500 concertos. His most famous set of concertos is The Four Seasons.
2/29/1792 - 11/13/1868
Born in Italy
Gioachino Rossini, the most popular opera composer of his day, was born in Pesaro, Italy. Like many composers, Rossini learned about music from his parents. Gioachino's father played the horn and the trumpet, and his mother was an opera singer. When Gioachino was a little boy, he learned to play the piano and to sing.
In Rossini's day, the opening of a new opera was as exciting as the opening of a new movie is for us. Rossini wrote his first opera when he was 18 years old. His most famous opera is The Barber of Seville. And after composing the opera William Tell in 1829, when he was 37, Rossini stopped writing operas.
After that, Rossini didn't compose again for years. When he was much older, he wrote some music for the church, and he wrote a lot of small pieces to entertain his friends. Because those pieces were not very serious, he jokingly referred to them as "Sins of Old Age."
-Classics for Kids
I'm sure you will recognize Rossini's William Tell Overture Finale!
Get on your feet and get moving to this Just Dance video of Rossini's William Tell Overture!
10/10/1813 - 1/27/1901
Giuseppe Verdi was born in the Italian town of Le Roncole. When he showed early talent, a music-loving grocer paid for his music education.
Back then, Italy was not a united country, and a lot of it was under Austrian rule. Nabucco, one of the earliest operas that Verdi wrote, included a chorus of Hebrew slaves longing for their country "so beautiful and lost." Italians latched onto Verdi's "Chorus of Hebrew Slaves" as an unofficial anthem for a nation that wasn’t even born yet.
Verdi and his music became part of the Italian struggle for independence. Even his name became a political statement. The letters V-E-R-D-I are the first letters of the phrase "Vittorio Emanuele, Rei D'Italia," which translates to "Victor Emanuel, King of Italy." Victor Emanuel was the man Italians wanted to be their ruler. When Italians shouted "Viva Verdi (long live Verdi)!" their Austrian rulers didn't know that they were talking politics, not opera, because the Austrians knew how much the Italians loved opera.
Verdi was one of the greatest opera composers who ever lived, and one of the few composers to die rich and famous!
Piotr (or Peter, as we would say in English) Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, a town in Russia's Ural Mountains. When he was 8 years old, his family moved to the capital city of St. Petersburg. Even though Tchaikovsky was a good musician as a kid, that wasn't considered an "acceptable" profession, so his parents made him study law instead.
But even in law school, Tchaikovsky continued to study music. Eventually, he gave up his legal job and went to the St. Petersburg Conservatory. After he graduated, he moved to Moscow to teach at the new conservatory there. It's now named for him.
For years, Tchaikovsky had a patroness named Nadezhda von Meck -- a wealthy widow who was a big fan of Tchaikovsky's music. She regularly sent him money so that he could concentrate on composing without having to worry about making a living. But Nadezhda von Meck didn't want to meet Tchaikovsky. For 14 years, they only communicated by writing letters to each other. Tchaikovsky dedicated his Fourth Symphony to his patroness.
Tchaikovsky traveled all over Europe for performances of his music. In 1891, he even came to America for the opening of Carnegie Hall, where he was invited to conduct his music.
-Classics for kids
If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music.