Category Archives: Composers

Wagner: Richard: 22 May 1813 – 13 Feb 1883

Introduction Richard Wagner is famous as one of the most controvesial but influential composers. He was born in Germany and wrote many operas. He wrote both the libretto and the music. Unlike many of his fellow composers, Wagner didn’t show any interest in music at an early age. His siblings, however, all received piano lessons. His elder sisters… Read More »

Le Couppey: Felix: 14 April 1811 – 4 July 1887

Introduction Not a great deal is known about the French composer Felix Le Couppey. He was born in Paris in 1811, and he went to the Paris Conservatoire. Career By the age of seventeen he became the assistant teacher of Harmony at the Paris Conservatoire. Le Couppey went on to win awards at the Paris Conservatoire. These included… Read More »

Hall: Robert Browne: 30 June 1858 – 8 June 1907

Introduction Robert Browne Hall or R.B. Hall as he was known was an American composer of marches, brass band music and he was a cornet virtuoso. He has sixty two marches to his name. Life & Career He rarely left his native state of Maine. Despite this, his popularity was worldwide, so much so that the English often… Read More »

Leoncavallo: Ruggero: 23 April 1857 – 9 August 1919

Introduction Ruggero Leoncavallo was an Italian composer of Italian opera and a librettist for most of his operas. He was considered by some to be the best librettist of his time after Arrigo Boito. His ultimate fame lies in his opera ‘Pagliacci’, despite writing many others. Early Life Leoncavallo was born in Naples, his father was a police… Read More »

Strauss: Johann Snr: 14 March 1804 – 25 Sept 1849

Introduction Johann Strauss was an Austrian Romantic composer famous for the Viennese waltz. Despite his resistance his sons also became famous musicians. He most famous piece is the ‘Radetzky March’, we have various arrangements on It was written to commemorate the Field Marshall Radetsky’s victory at the Battle of Custoza. Early Life Strauss parents were innkeepers, however,… Read More »

Morton: Jelly Roll: 20 Sept c1890 – 10 July 1941

Introduction Born in New Orleans, Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe became known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton. He achieved fame as a ragtime jazz pianist and composer. Career Jelly Roll started his career in 1914 whilst living with his church-going great grandmother. He had to lie to his family about his first job as it wasn’t in the most salubrious… Read More »

Johnson: Charles Leslie: 3 Dec – 28 Dec 1950

Introduction Charles Leslie Johnson was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1876.  He was a prolific composer of ragtime music. By the age of six he was playing the piano (belonging to his neighbour). Then just a few years later he was studying classical piano, harmony, and music theory. Johnson published over three hundred songs, almost forty being… Read More »

Tobias Hume: c.1579 – 16 April 1645

Introduction Tobias Hume was a Scottish composer and little is known about his life. His year of birth is based on his entry into the London Charterhouse (a home for “distressed” gentlemen and the admittance age was at least fifty years old). Career Hume spent many years trudging across Europe as a mercenary serving in both the Swedish… Read More »

Joplin: Scott: c1868 – 1 April 1917

Introduction On the turn of the twentieth Scott Joplin was known as the ‘King of Ragtime’. He was born in Texas to a musical family who were railway labourers. His father Giles played the violin and his mother Florence sang and played the banjo. He went on to write over one hundred ragtime pieces. Career As a boy,… Read More »

Hook: James: 13 June 1746 – 1827

Introduction James Hook was born in Norwich, England in 1746. He displayed an extraordinary musical talent early in life being able to play the harpsichord at the age of four and he was playing concerts in public at the age of six!! His music was entertaining and had an up-to-date, fresh appeal. It certainly wasn’t pedantic and dull… Read More »