Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (March 4, 1678 – July 28, 1941) was an Italian composer, violinist, and priest whose compositions earned him recognition as one of the greatest composers of Baroque music of his time. Vivaldi composed much of his work for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for orphaned children where Vivaldi had worked for several years. He composed concertos, sacred choral works, and over forty operas. He is best remembered for his violin concertos, The Four Seasons.
Do you know someone who perpetually has a song stuck in their head, or perhaps their limbs? If you or someone you know has air-drum fever, there's a cure. The Y-Drum, from 24 year-old designer Kevin Depape, is a portable drum kit that syncs via Bluetooth to your laptop, phone, or tablet, which means you can drum wherever your Bluetooth password lets you. The kit is easy enough for beginners to understand, and can be customized to your specific preferences so you can build the kit of your wireless dreams.
Aleksandr Hrustevich is a musician from the Ukraine whose speciality is the bayan (that's a Russian chromatic button accordion), an instrument largely unknown in the United States, but gaining momentum in Europe, not least because of Mr. Hrustevich.
"Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can only be felt if you don't set any condition." -Arthur Rubinstein
Happy Birthday Arthur Rubinstein!
Arthur Rubinstein (January 28, 1887 – December 20, 1982) was a Polish-American classical pianist who is widely regarded as one of the great musicians of the twentieth century. Rubinstein is known especially for his masterful interpretation of Frédéric Chopin. His concert career spanned eight decades. Rubinstein's musical prowess as well as his ability to speak eight languages, were largely attributed to his self-described photographic memory. Once, Rubinstein learned the whole of César Franck's Symphonic Variations during his train ride to the concert. Without a piano, he learned the passages by playing them on his lap.
Happy Birthday Alfred Brendel, Maurizio Pollini, and Arturo Benedetti Michangeli!
Take note, musical parents: January 5 seems to be a good day for the birth of prolific pianists! Today is the birthday of three: Alfred Brendel, Maurizio Pollini, and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.
"The human mind is a wonderful thing, it starts working from before you're born and doesn't stop till you sit down to write a song." - Roger Miller
Happy Birthday Roger Miller!
Roger Dean Miller (January 2, 1936 – October 25, 1992) was an American musician, songwriter, and actor, best known for his novelty songs inspired by honky tonk and the Nashville sound sub-genre of country music. His notable recordings include "Billy Bayou", Home", and covers of "Tall, Tall Trees" and "Husbands and Wives". His last popular album was a collaboration with Willie Nelson called Old Friends. In his later career, he acted and wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Big River.
Happy Birthday, Chet Baker!
Chet Baker (December 23, 1929 - May 13, 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and flugelhorn player. Although he was known as a jazz musician, he gained critical praise for his vocal ability, particularly on his album, Chet Baker Sings.
Happy Birthday, Big Mama Thorton!
Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (December 11, 1926 – July 25, 1984) was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. In 1952, Thorton was the first artist to record the song "Hound Dog," which then stayed on the Billboard R&B charts for seven weeks in the following year. The B-side was "They Call Me Big Mama." Three years later, Elvis Presley recorded his version of the song. Thorton was also the artist who wrote and recorded "Ball 'n' Chain", which Janis Joplin made popular in 1967.
"What he had was endless curiosity combined with stubbornness. His work list is astonishing, including oratorios, musicals and concertos, as well as hundreds of jazz compositions. This quiet man of jazz was truly a marvel." –Music journalist Ivan Hewett, on Dave Brubeck.
Today in music, we celebrate Dave Brubeck, who passed away this week on Wednesday morning, a day before his 92nd birthday. Dave was an American jazz musician who is remembered for his influence on progressive jazz and heavily improvisational style. His mother Elizabeth was a pianist, whose classically–trained roots also left their signature on Dave's music. Brubeck also composed orchestral ad sacred music, and wrote soundtracks for the animated show, This is America, Charlie Brown. His most remembered compositions include "Take Five", "Time Out", and "Unsquare Dance."
Happy Birthday, Jim Hall!
Born on December 4, 1930 in Buffalo, New York, James Stanley Hall is a jazz guitarist and composer who is known for his innovative and experimental approach to music. Hall is still performing, at 81 years of age, at the Blue Note in New York City, and continues to play gigs around the world.
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