Leonard Berstein: Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, teacher, and pianist. He wrote the music to West Side Story.


George Gershwin: Gershwin was from New York City in the USA. He was born in 1898 during the Romantic Era, but 2 years later the Modern Era began, so he is considered to be a Modern composer. As a child he like to roller skate through Harlem and sit outside of restaurants and clubs and listen to the music he heard coming from them. His family bought a piano for his brother, Ira, but he started playing it right away, much to the surprise of his family. At the age of 15 he got a job in Tin Pan Alley playing the piano at a publishing company. He is famous for writing Rhapsody in Blue and the opera Porgy and Bess.

Hildegard von Bingen: Hildegard was from Bringen, Germany. She was born 1098, so she lived during the Medieval period. She was born the 10th child in her family, so she had to live a life dedicated to the church. When she grew up she became a nun.  She had visions, which she believed was God "talking" to  her. She was famous for starting her own convent(place where nuns live), writing vocal music for the church, and writing books on her visions and medicinal uses of nature.


Charles Camille Saint Saens: Saint Saens(1835-1921) was a French composer from the Romantic Era(1800-1900).  He was one of the greatest child prodigies of his time. He started playing piano at age 2, composing at age 4 and performing at age 5. He is famous for writing The Carnival of the Animals and the symphonic poem, Dance Macabre. Carnival of the Animals was originally written as a joke, to make fun of some of his friends. After it's premiere he didn't allow any of the song to be performed or published during his lifetime, except for The Swan. He felt like it didn't represent his true writing style and would hurt his reputation as a serious composer. However, it is now considered to be a work of brilliance. 

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie:  Dizzy(1917-1993) was an American(South Carolina) jazz composer and trumpet player.  He was known for his ballooning cheeks and bent trumpet.  He helped invent a new kind of jazz called bebop with fellow jazz musicians Charlie Parker and Theolonius Monk.  He was the first jazz musician to be sent over seas with the support of the US government to spread American music around the world. His many compositions include Salt Peanuts and Manteca.


John Phillip Sousa:  Sousa(1854-1931) was a Romantic composer from Washington D.C., USA. He played the violin, trombone, and other instruments. He joined the US. Marine band at age 13 after his dad found out that he was going to run away with the circus. After 7 years in the Marine band, he left, but later came back as their leader. He is famous for composing marches, which is how he earned the name "March King". His most famous march is The Stars and Stripes Forever. The "sousaphone" was names after John Philip Sousa because he was the one that asked for a marching tuba to be created.

Aaron Copland:  Copland(1900-1990) was a Modern composer from New York. He played the piano, conducted, and taught. He studied composition in Paris, France. A trip to Mexico inspired him to write his piece, El Salon Mexico. He focused most of his composing on American sounds, as opposed to copying sounds from European composers. He even included jazz rhythms in some of his music. He is known for composing Fanfare for the Common Man, and the ballets Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring. 


Ludwig van Beethoven: Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer and pianist.  His father, who was not a nice guy, started teaching him the piano at age 4. Eventually he moved to Vienna, Austria where he spent the rest of his life. While there he got to play for Mozart and study with Joseph Haydn. Beethoven composed Classical music.  He started to go deaf halfway through his life and eventually became completely deaf.  He composed some of his best music during his later years when his hearing was a problem.  He composed 9 symphonies, Moonlight Sonata, and Fur Elise.

Johannes Brahms: Brahms(1833-1897) was a German composer and pianist of the Romantic era.  By the age of 20 he was an established pianist and was putting on concerts around Germany. He got to meet many well known musicians and composers along the way, including Franz Lizst and Robert and Clara Schumann. Robert Schumann played a big part in making Brahms famous by writing an article in a magazine. People hoped that Brahms would be the next Beethoven and he always felt like he was living in Beethoven's shadow. He moved to Vienna, Austria and spent the rest of his life there. He is known as one of the 3 "Bs"-Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.  He composed 21 Hungarian Dances and Brahms' Lullaby.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mozart(1756-1791) was a classical composer and musician from Austria (not Australia!).  He was a prodigy(He understood music at age 3, played the violin perfectly at age 4, and wrote his first concerto at age 6).  He was famous for writing many famous operas, such as The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, and Don Giovanni.  He also wrote variations on a famous French song that we know today as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

The Beatles: The Beatles were a British rock band from Liverpool, England made up of John Lennon (died in 1980), Paul McCartney (still living), George Harrison (died in 2001), and Ringo Starr (still living).  They were famous during the 1960's, which means they are from the modern period.  They became popular in the USA after doing a performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Love Me Do was their first hit song.


George Frideric Handel: Handel was a baroque composer from Germany. He played the harpsichord and organ. He moved to London, England to write operas and decided to stay there permanently. England had become his new home. He is buried in Westminster Abbey, a famous church in London, England.  He wrote Water Music and Messiah, which includes the very famous Hallelujah Chorus.   

John Williams: Williams is a modern composer from the USA. He is a piano player. He is most famous for writing music for movies.  Some his most work includes writing the music for Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park. He has also written the theme to the NBC news and 3 Olympic themes (1984, 1988, and 1996). In addition to composing, he was the conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra for 13 years.


Johann Sebastian Bach:  Bach was a baroque composer/musician from Germany. His main instrument was the organ, but he also played the harpsichord and violin. He traveled around a lot always looking for the best music job he could find.  He married twice and had a total of 13 children.He is famous for writing the Brandenburg Concertos and Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

Frederic Chopin:  Chopin was a romantic composer/musician from Germany. He played the piano and almost all of his compositions were for the piano. While in Paris, France, he met and became best friends with Franz Liszt, one of the greatest romantic pianists. Chopin is famous for writing dances (mazurkas and waltzes; Minute Waltz), etudes (short pieces used to teachRevolutionary Etude), and nocturnes ("night piece").


Jazz History: Jazz is usually dated back to when there were slaves in the United States. Many times, slaves were not allowed to speak to each other while they worked, so they would sing. These "work songs" were often sung in a call and response style, along with a lot of improvisation (making it up as you go). On Sundays, during their free time, the slaves would congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans (where jazz was formed). They would sing, dance, and play drums. Eventually people began taking different sounds from the salves, as well as other musical sounds, and combining them together to create different styles of music. Ragtime(Scott Joplin), Dixieland, and the blues were among the earliest forms of jazz. The 1920's and 1930's was the swing era. The dance music was played by big bands. Louis Armstrong was one of the major stars during this period. The 1940's brought bebop (bop) with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.  The sounds of bop reflected the country's feelings of the war. The 1950's were filled with sounds of cool jazz (Miles Davis). The country was now relaxed and so was the music. Free jazz was popular during the 1960's (John Coletrane) and Fusion during the 1970's (Chick Corea) where electric instruments were added to the typical jazz instruments.  

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington: Duke was a jazz musician, composer, and band leader from Washington DC. He learned to play the piano when he was a teenager. His band, The Washingtonians (later changed to The Duke Ellington Orchestra), ended up with THE job that every jazz band wanted: working at the Cotton Club. Following the Cotton Club, Duke and his band toured the US. They lived in a train car because segregation caused them problems at times. At one time Duke had wanted to be an artist, so color often played a role in his music: Mood Indigo, Magenta Haze, and Black and Tan Fantasy. 


Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Tchaikovsky was a Romantic composer from Russia. He played piano and conducted...sometimes! He was afraid his head would 
fall off while he conducted. He composed 1812 Overture and ballets(Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker Suite).

Igor StravinskyStravinsky was a Modern composer from Russia. He played piano and conducted. He composed ballets: Firebird Suite- Serge Diaghilev asked Stravinsky to turn the Russian folktale, The Firebird, into a ballet. This is what made Stravinsky famous. Rite of Spring-caused a riot because the music sounded different from what they were used to hearing and the dancing looked different from what they were used to seeing.

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