Ludwig Van Beethoveen was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany, gave
his first public performance at the age of eight. After leaving home he was
later employed as a court musician in Bonn in 1787, and during this time he
studied under both Haydn and Mozart. During the last 10 years of his life, unable
to hear, he composed his most important work. Despite his rapid hearing loss,
he continued to compose with fury. To this day, he is considered the greatest
composer of all time.
Johann Sebastian Bach was born in 1685 in Germany, and has
been praised for his musical complexities and innovations. With a beautiful
soprano singing voice, and being an orphan at the age of 10, he found himself a
place at a school in Lüneburg. Though with age his voice did change and he found
himself studying the violin and harpsichord. Better known as an organist than a
composer, he continued to work through his diminishing eyesight. An expert
storyteller, and a genius at creating different emotions. Mastering the fugue,
he is thought to be the best composer of the Baroque period.
Antonio Vivaldi born 1678 in Venice, Italy, a renowned
composer known for his Baroque concertos. He became known as “the Red Priest”
because of his red hair at the age of 25. He was also named “the Master of the
Violin” that same year in Venice. Many of Vivaldi’s works were not recovered until
the 20th century and have been heavily revived since WWII. Gloria and The Four
Seasons are known to be his most famous pieces.
George Frideric Handel was born in Germany in 1685 and
revealed his first opera in 1705. Credited with founding the New Royal Academy
of Music in 1727 after producing several operas of his own. As popularity of
the opera diminished, Handel turned to the oratorio. He loved to use rich
melodies, and knew how to use tone for drama in his pieces. His most famous
piece is Messiah, an oratorio, written in 1741. He died at the age of 74 on
April 14, 1759 at his home. Handel’s home from 1723 – 1759, on Brook Street in
London was turned into a museum of his legacy and work in 2001.
Arcangelo Corelli was born in 1653 to a wealthy, yet not
noble family. Remembered as a violinist, composer and then a teacher. At the
age of 19 he had his first major success in Paris. He so immensely built upon,
perfected and popularized the Concerto Grosso principle, though he did not
invent it. distinguished by a beautiful flow of melody showing qualities of
restraint, balance, consistency, and attention to detail.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Austria in 1756. Born
into a musically inclined family, he had an older sister, Maria Anna, but he
was the only son. He began performing as a child prodigy at age 6 alongside his
sister. Emperor Joseph II chose Mozart to be his chamber composer in 1787. Mozart
created and perfected the symphony, opera and concerto. In the fall of 1791 he
was bedridden due to increasing illness. He died on December 5, 1791 at the age
Sergei Rachmaninov was born in Russia in 1873. He attended
the Moscow Conservatory and won a medal for his first opera. He then rose to
fame as a composer and concert pianist. In 1905 he became a conductor at the
Bolshoi Theatre. His works are often characterized by deep emotion and haunting
themes. Thought of as one of the last effective composers of the Romantic
period although his music was mostly written in the 20th century. He
died at his home in Beverly Hills in 1943.