Béla Bartók: 25 March 1881 – 26 Sept 1945

Béla Bartók was a Hungarian composer, pianist and ethnomusicologist (study of world music from all perspectives), and teacher. He showed talent on the piano at an early age and his mother started formally teaching him from the age of five. He composed short pieces including a piece called The Course of the Danube which he performed two years… Read More »

Adriano Banchieri: 3 Sept 1568 – 1634

Adriano Banchieri was born Tommaso Banchieri in Bologna. He was an Italian composer, theorist, organist and poet and was one of the primary developers and composers of madrigal comedies. He produced mostly sacred and secular music. Aged nineteen he became a monk and changed his name to Adriano. He was best known at this time as an organist… Read More »

Michael Balfe: 15 May 1808 – 20 Oct 1870

Introduction Michael Balfe was an Irish singer and composer. His father was a dance master and violinist and as a young boy Michael played the violin for his father’s dance classes. At the age of nine Balfe appeared in public playing the violin and later wrote the ballad ‘Young Fanny’ later named the ‘Lover’s Mistake’. On the death… Read More »

Carl Philipp Emanuel (CPE) Bach: 8 March 1714 – 14 Dec 1788

Introduction Commonly known as CPE Bach, he was the third son of JS Bach and his first wife Maria. He was one of four of Bach’s children to become professional musicians. Despite his fathers influence he became a musician in his own right and was one of the foremost composers of the early classical period. In 1740 Bach… Read More »

Thomas Arne: 12 March 1710 – 5 March 1779

Introduction Thomas Arne was an English composer famous for his patriotic piece ‘Rule Britannia’, which is sung every year on New Years Eve in Great Britain. His father and grandfather were upholsterers and wanted Thomas to study law. However on discovering Thomas’s talent and his leadership of a group of musicians his father allowed him to leave law… Read More »

Jean Baptiste Arban: 28 Feb 1825 – 8 April 1889

Introduction Jean Baptiste Arban was born in Lyon, France. His father was an artificer and his elder brother; Francisque Arban was the famous balloonist. He was a cornetist, conductor and teacher as well as a composer and was the first famous virtuoso of the valved cornet. His influence came from Niccolò Paganini’s technique of the violin. Education &… Read More »

Johann Ernst Altenburg: 15 June 1734 – 14 May 1801

Introduction: Johann Altenburg was a German, trumpeter and organist. His father was a field trumpeter. He is well-known for his six harpsichord sonatas and Concerto for seven trumpets. In 1795 Altenburg published Versuch einer Anleitung zur heroisch-musikalischen Trompeter- und Paukerkunst (An Essay on the Introduction to Heroic and Musical Trumpeters’ and Kettledrummers’ Art) (Halle), this enabled him to achieve his… Read More »

Charles-Valentin Alkan: 13 Nov 1813 – 29 March 1888

Introduction Charles Valentin-Alkan was a composer and virtuoso pianist born to Jewish parents. He had five brothers and one sister all of whom were musicians. Alkan was a child prodigy and entered the Paris Conservatoire at a young age winning many awards. By the age of seventeen he had earned himself a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. Despite… Read More »

Robert Schumann: 8 June 1810 – 29 July 1856

Introduction: Robert Schumann was a German romantic composer known for his piano and orchestral music and songs. His music often represented the different sides to his personality. He was born to wealthy parents Johanna Christiane Schnabel and August Schumann – a bookseller and publisher. Early Life: Schumann started studying the piano aged six. Aged seventeen he was became… Read More »