1. Achille-Claude Debussy was born on August 22, 1862. He began piano lessons at the age of seven. In 1871, he started to study with Marie Mauté de Fleurville, who claimed to have been a pupil of Chopin’s, although there is no evidence to corroborate her story. Regardless, Debussy was obviously talented and he entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1872, where he would remain for 11 years.
1. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (the traditional Western spelling) was born in 1840 in Votkinsk, Russia. He began taking piano lessons in 1845; however, formal music education was not available in Russian schools at this time so his parents never considered that he might pursue a career in music. Instead, they prepared him for a life of civil service; he began his formal education at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in 1850, which he attended for nine years.
1. Johannes Brahms was born on May 7, 1833. His father was a town musician who played a variety of instruments, mostly horn and double bass.
2. Brahms began playing piano at the age of 7. By the time he was a teenager, he was helping the family financially by performing in inns, brothels, taverns and along the city docks. Brahms is also believed to have begun composing early in his life, but destroyed his early compositions. He did not become famous as a composer until April and May of 1853, when he was on a concert tour as accompanist to the Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi.
3. In 1853, Brahms met Robert Schumann. Schumann was so impressed with Brahms’ compositions that he wrote an article in his Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, praising the young composer’s genius and heralding him as the one who could overthrow the New German School of Liszt and Wagner.
The Romantic period, which took place from 1820 to 1900, was part of the Romantic movement that occured as a reaction to the reason and rationality celebrated during the Enlightenment. The movement induced changes in the art, literature, music, and even politics of the era—feelings, freedom, and emotions were embraced over structure and rules. Poets, artists and musicians celebrated the awe of nature, the terror and strangeness of the supernatural, and the exotic qualities and limitlessness of the world around them.
Clara Wieck was a child prodigy virtuoso pianist and composer in Leipzig in the early 1800s.
Clara Wieck and Robert Schumann met at a concert Clara was playing a concert for a mental institute more specifically Colditz Castle. She was just 9 years old at the time and a decade later, they married.
At the age of 13, she was one of the first to perform from memory, which is now standard practice for all pianists.
In one of the greatest pairings of the greatest virtuosos, Niccolo Paganini agreed to play a concert with Clara while both were on tour in Paris. It was also the greatest pairing of virtuosos that no one heard, as thousands fled Paris because of a cholera outbreak. more “10 Facts about Clara Schumann”…
As a young aspiring trombone player, exploring the world of Gustav Mahler, I listened to his 5th Symphony at least 20 times before I understood any of it. One night, after returning from an audition in Los Angeles, I listened to his 5th Symphony on repeat all the way back to San Francisco. At about 2am, and the 3rd repeat of the symphony I was finally able to wrap my head around it. The next hour listening to that symphony was truly one of the most enjoyable moments of my life. Here are some things that I’ve learned about Mahler that you may not have known: more “10 Facts about Mahler”…