Featured Composers

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was a German composer of baroque music, organist, harpsichordist, violinist, music teacher and conductor. He is regarded by most musicians as one of the greatest and most influential composers in the history of classical music because of the inventiveness with which he combined melody, harmony and rhythm, but also various music styles from his time and dance forms, which inspired many composers after him and whatever they tried to match.

Bach, with Claudio Monteverdi and Jean-Philippe Rameau, are considered the highlight of the musical baroque (ca. 1600 - ca. 1750). So much so that the end of baroque music, ended with the death of Bach. His surviving music, which was only published in large numbers from around 1800, has also proved to be of great significance for many composers after him.

Bach's music was not only inventive, but also has great emotional expressiveness. This rare combination ensured that composers saw him as an inspiration. Public worship has almost taken on religious forms in the last century. A special turn for a man who didn't find it all that impressive: "All you have to do is hit the right note." That is exactly what he did.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer, musician, virtuoso and conductor. His style ties in directly with that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn, with whom he is counted among the First Viennese School. He brought classicism to completion and introduced romance. He is counted among the most influential composers. His oeuvre had a dominant influence on nineteenth-century music.

Beethoven's oeuvre is generally divided into three periods. The early, in which he wrote many commissioned works and was strongly influenced by Mozart and Haydn, is about to end when his deafness starts. In the middle period, with highlights such as the opera Fidelio and the Third Symphony "Eroica", he established his fame. Because of his large-scale, often politically motivated works, this time is now often referred to as the "heroic". However, Beethoven also wrote pieces such as the Sixth "Pastoral" symphony - very different in atmosphere, though no less passionate.

Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist from Romanticism. He is generally regarded as the greatest composer that Poland has produced and is one of the greatest music poets in history. His music, a personal fusion of Western European classical elements and the traditional Polish, makes more use of the expressive and technical properties of the piano than the music of any other composer. Many of his works, such as the folk-inspired Mazurkas, he performed himself. He wrote others for his students. Due to his poor health, he quit tours early, and enthusiastically shifted his priorities to pedagogy. His Etudes are not only technically challenging, but at the same time innovative and sensitive. Despite the sometimes large gestures - Chopin really does the full width of the keyboard although his compositions are very sophisticated. Friend and colleague Franz Liszt wrote a book about Chopin. "A thousand subtle shades that mix, cross and contradict each other, sometimes mask each other - it is almost impossible to decipher them in one go.

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the greatest piano virtuosos of all time. He was also a successful and prominent piano teacher and a major music reformer and innovator; the symphonic poem and the piano recital are attributed to him. From a early age, Franz was very gifted. When he was only nine years old, he gave a big concert on the piano in Baden.

Listz's classical compositions have been influenced by numerous composers. Niccolò Paganini, Frédéric Chopin, Vincenzo Bellini, Robert Schumann and Hector Berlioz, among others, provided a lot of inspiration. He appreciated his contemporaries Ludwig von Beethoven and Franz Schubert, whom he met both, less. Also the opera music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Carl von Weber didn't have to have much of Liszt. Conversely, Liszt's work had a great influence on music in the twentieth century and on later composers, of whom Claude Debussy is a well-known name.

Liszt was what was called a homo universalis in the time of the Renaissance: a versatile scholar. He studied theology and philosophy and was very interested in love and religion. Franz walked a lot, taught, wrote prose and worked for some time as a journalist ... In short, Liszt was a versatile cosmopolitan.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was a composer, pianist, violinist and conductor from the principality of Salzburg. He excelled in every current form of music of his time, in particular in opera, the symphony, the piano concerto and chamber music. The music he composed as an adult, rooted in Austrian and Southern German traditions but colored by Italian opera, is characterized by her melodic beauty, formal perfection and richness of harmony and texture. Together with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven, he is regarded as a composer who devised new musical concepts within a tradition and influence for the composers who followed him. Together with Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven, he forms the First Viennese School in terms of music history.

In 1787 Ludwig von Beethoven left for Vienna to be taught by Wolfgang Amadeus, but it is not documented whether the two have actually met. During his short life, Mozart wrote more than 600 music compositions. Among his most famous music pieces are "Ein kleine Nachtmusik", "Piano Sonato 8", "Requiem" (in which he has incorporated the style of Johann Sebastian Bach) and "Symphony 40".

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840) was an Italian violinist and composer, whose virtuosity on his instrument has become legendary, partly due to carefully cultivated mysteries about his personality.

At the age of eleven he first acted as a violinist, after having received music lessons from his father and lessons on both guitar and violin. From 1797 he traveled through Europe and performed in Vienna and Paris, among others. His fame grew because of this. In 1831 he went on tour in England for the first time. Many people believed that Paganini was a "devil violinist." Paganini strengthened the legends by playing in cemeteries for the dead at night. He also had the habit of painting his face white for a concert in order to appeal even more to the imagination as a highly romantic suffering artist. Although there is no medical certainty about it, it is believed that he suffered from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Marfan syndrome. This explains the very long fingers (arachnodactylia) and the elastic connective tissue that enabled him to exercise extreme virtuosity in violin playing.

Sergey Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was a Russian composer, pianist and music teacher. He is considered one of the most important pianists of the 20th century and was a continuation of Russian Romanticism as a composer. His well-known works include the second and third piano concertos, the prelude in C minor from Morceaux de Fantaisie, his second symphony and Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini.

During his conservatory time, Rachmaninoff composed his first piano concert (1891). This work is known as opus 1. In 1892 he graduated - a year earlier than the average student - and was awarded the prestigious gold medal. Only two students preceded him in the history of the conservatory. In 1895, he started composing his first symphony in the hope that it would bring him even more success. However, the symphony received devastating criticism after its first performance in 1897, presumably due to poor performance; according to his wife because of the fact that the conductor, was drunk. Rachmaninoff became severely depressed but after several attempts of treatment, he started composing again, resulting in the famous second piano concerto. Shortly afterwards he wrote the sonata for cello and piano, which is today considered one of the most important cello pieces of the 20th century.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was a Russian composer, considered one of the greatest composers of the time of high romance. He was honored everywhere, but was a lonely and lonely person. He died of cholera in St. Petersburg at the age of 53. However, this cause of death is repeatedly questioned. The rumor that he committed suicide by poisoning is very persistent. The theory is that he would have done this after being sentenced by a "honorary council" of former college friends on homosexual behavior. His brother Modest, who released a biography about him, is said to have attempted to keep the suicide a secret.

He wrote six symphonies, symphonic poems, ten operas, piano works, string quartets and violin music. The First Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto, the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the 1812 Overture and his ballet music, e.g. Swan Lake or The Nutcracker, are often performed. Tchaikovsky successfully linked influences from Western European classical music with Russian music. His musical preferences were Mozart and Mendelssohn.

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was an Italian violinist, priest and composer. He is best known for Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons), a cycle of four violin concerts, but has written over 700 compositions for many instrumental together with vocal genres.

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in Venice. His father, who was a hairdresser and violinist, helped him with his music career and signed him up at the Cappella di San Marco, where father Vivaldi himself was a prominent violinist. In 1703 Vivaldi became a priest. He was soon nicknamed Il Prete Rosso ("the red priest"), presumably because of his red hair. From 1704 he no longer had to attend Holy Mass due to his ill health: he suffered from asthma. But according to some, he was no longer allowed to celebrate Mass because, if he got inspiration for a new piece of music, he would just write it down during Mass. He quickly rose in prestige international and came to be a violinist in a girls orphanage at 25. For them, Vivaldi wrote most of his concerts, cantatas and sacred music and many of these orphans began to gain appreciation and esteem abroad, too.

In 1705 the first collection (raccolta) of his work was published and many more would follow. When he wasn't on one of his many travels, Vivaldi performed various duties in the orphanage. In 1713 he was given responsibility for all musical activities in the institute.