Great Composer Biographies | "Composer is a Nutshell" Biographies
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Here are a few "Composer in a Nutshell" biographies. If your looking a more complete biography with a collection of free printable resources (printable biography, worksheets, and art projects for kids), our "Meet the Composer" Biographies" focus on what teachers want kids to know most.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is remembered as one of the most important composers in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic Era, and continues to be one of the most influential composers of all time. His most popular pieces include his Fifth Symphony, Fur Elise for piano solo, and his Ninth Symphony, which includes the melody Ode to Joy.
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1833. His father gave him his first musical instruction. He grew as a musican and composer, and eventually gave concerts in Hamburg to help support his family. At the age of twenty an article in a musical journal made Brahms famous. Throughout his life he strived to be a successful teacher, conductor and composer. Johannes Brahms died in 1897, a celebrated composer of the Romantic Era. His most famous work is Brahm's Lullaby.
Frederic Chopin was born in 1810 in Poland. As a child young Frederic showed an intelligence that allowed him to absorb everything that he learned. His devotion to his piano studies allowed him to soon surpass the skills of his teacher, and he began to be compared to a young Mozart. The compositions that Chopin wrote as an adult were often called mazurkas and polonaises, which are polish dances. Chopin died in Paris on in 1849 at the age of 38. He is remembered as an important Romantic era composer of works for the piano.
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was born in 1685 in Northern Germany, in the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach. George's father wanted him to be a lawyer, though he was much more interested in music. His mother, however, encouraged his interest in music and allowed him to take keyboard and music composition lessons. On his seventh birthday his aunt gave him a harpsichord, which Handel played whenever he had the opportunity. At the age of twenty-five Handel accepted the position of Kapellmeister to George, Elector of Hanover, who would soon be King George I of Great Britain. By 1740, Handel completed his most memorable work - the Messiah. Handel died in 1759 and was buried in Westminster Abby in London, England. He is remembered as one of the most important composers of the Baroque era.
Scott Joplin, (1867/1868-1917) the second of six children, was born sometime between June 1867 and January 1868 in eastern Texas. He is a ragtime composer and pianist best known for his classic rags, The Entertainer, Maple Leaf Rag and Elite Syncopations. Scott Joplin died in 1917. He is considered one of the three most important composers of classic ragtime.
Johann Pachelbel (Baptized 1653-1706), a composer, organist and teacher, wrote many sacred and secular works during his lifetime. He is best remembered for Canon in D.
Sergei Prokofiev was born in Russia in 1891. He began his piano studies with his mother at the age of three. At the age of five Sergei was already beginning to display unusual musical abilities. By the age of thirteen Sergei entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory having produced a large portfolio of compositions. The music that Prokofiev wrote was new and different. He introduced audiences to strange new harmonies, dynamic rhythms and humor. During this lifetime Prokofiev produced some of the finest works of the Modern musical era, including Peter and the Wolf for chamber orchestra and narrator, and the score for his ballet Romeo and Juliet which included some of his most inspired music. Sergei Prokofiev died in 1953 as one of the most admired music composers of the twentieth century.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor born in Hamburg, Germany, during the Romantic era. Mendelssohn's works includes symphonies, oratorios, concerti, piano music and chamber music. His Wedding March is one of his best known pieces from Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, for which he composed incidental music. He is considered one of the most popular composers of the Romantic era.
John Williams (1932- ) was born in 1932, Floral Park, New York. His family later moved to Los Angeles, California where he would eventually begin studying composition. His first opportunity to compose music for television and film came with the television series Lost in Space, for which he composed the theme song. Recognized for his talents, Wiliams has been invited to compose music for may blockbuster films, including Star Wars, Jaws and Jurassic Park (1993) John Williams is the second most nominated individual after Walt Disney.
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was born in 1678 in Venice, Italy. His father, a barber before becoming a violinist, taught Anotonio to play the violin and then toured Venice performing with him. At the age of fifteen he began training to become a priest, though due to poor health he remained only three years. It was at this time that he decided to pursue a career in music. The music that Vivaldi wrote is joyful, almost playful, revealing his own joy of composing. His The Four Seasons is a set of four concertos for violin. It is his most popular work, and is one of the most performed works of the Baroque Era.