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8 composersyou've never heard of

We have heard the names of Bach, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky. But there are so many more composers we don't ever hear about.

Learn about these 8 composers and answer these questions along the way.

ClaudioMonteverdi

AntonioSalieri

Moritz Moszkowski

HenryPurcell

Maria TeresaAgnesi Pinottini

IgnacyPaderewski

Sir EdwardElgar

GeorgeCrumb

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MORITZ MOSZKOWSKI

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Moritz Moskowski was born in in 1854 in Prussia (now Poland). He began piano lessons at an early age. In 1873 he made his first successful appearance as a pianist and began touring. He was also known as a conductor and composer during the Romantic Era.He wrote some orchestral pieces, but most of his work was for piano.By age 54, he was suffering from poor health. He died in 1925 from stomach cancer. He was 70 years old.

Spanish Dances

Etincelles

ANTONIO SALIERI

Antonio Salieri was born in the Republic of Venice (now Italy) in 1750. His first music lessons were at home from his older brother.He is best known for his operas, but he also wrote sacred music and orchestral works. As a Classical Era composer, he was good friends with Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart.He died in 1825 in Vienna, Austria. He was 74 years old.

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Venetian Symphony, 1st movement

CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI

Claudio Monteverdi was an Italian composer, choirmaster, and string player in the early Baroque Era. He was born in 1567.His first job was with the Duke of Mantua. Eventually he became the music director at St. Mark's Church in Venice, the most important musical job in Italy at that time. (He also continued to compose some music for the Duke of Mantua as well.) He died in 1643 at age 76.Monteverdi composed many madrigals (songs for a small group of singers), sacred music, operas, and more. His compositions bridge the Renaissance and Baroque eras of music.

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Ciaccona

From his opera "L'Orfeo"

St. Mark's Basilica, Venice, Italy

HENRY PURCELL

Born in 1659 in London, England, Henry Purcell was the most important English composer of his time. He began composing music by the time he was 11. He wrote sacred anthems for church, incidental music for several plays, operas, and much more (including an anthem for the coronation of King James II).Purcell died in 1695 at age 36.This Baroque composer's most recognizable piece is "Trumpet Voluntary" which is still played for weddings today.

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Trumpet Voluntary

Dido's Lament from the opera Dido and Aeneas

SIR EDWARD ELGAR

A composer of the late Romantic Era, Elgar was born in 1857 in England. Apart from violin lessons he had as a child, he taught himself about music.He wrote choral music and orchestral music. He was one of the first composers to take the gramaphone seriously and conducted a series of recordings of his works. He is best known for his "Enigma Variations," "The Dream of Gerontius," and his "Pomp and Circumstance" which is still played at graduations today.Elgar was knighted in 1904. He died in 1934 at age 76 of cancer.

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Pomp and CircumstanceMarch No. 1(The familiar part is at 1:50)

Nimrodfrom the Enigma Varioations

Elgar's birthplace in Worchestershire, England

IGNACY PADEREWSKI

Ignacy Paderewski was a Polish pianist, composer, and politician.He was born in 1860 in what was then the Podolia Governate of the Russian Empire. He took piano lessons as a boy and began studying music at the Warsaw Conservatory at age 12. He became known as a virtuoso pianist and toured in many countries.He also composed piano pieces, the opera Manru, orchestral works, and more. He wrote during the Romantic Era.Following World War I and the creation of the country of Poland, Paderewski was named the Prime Minister in 1919 and signed the Treaty of Versailles. He died in 1941 at age 80.

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Minuet in G(Paderewski playing in a1937 movie)

Violin Sonata

The Podolia governate is now part of Ukraine.

Maria Teresa Agnesi Pinottini

Maria Teresa Agnesi was born in Milan, Italy, in 1720. She and her older sister were provided a good education. Not much is known about her life. Much of her music has been lost, although there are records that they were written. In addition to being a late Baroque and early Classical composer, she was also a singer and harpsichordist. She performed for various members of European nobility. The holy Roman empress, MariaTeresa of Austria, was her patron and helped her financially. She found more success in Austria and the region of Lombardy than in her home of Milan.She wrote 6 operas as well as numerous pieces for keyboard and for voice.She died in Milan in 1795 at age 74.

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Harpsichord Concerto

Sofonisba Overture

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The region of Lombardy was under Austrian rule during Maria Teresa's life (except for a short period when it was part of France under Napoleon).

GEORGE CRUMB

George Crumb was an avant-garde composer of the 20th century. He was born in 1929 in Charleston, WV. He parents both played in the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. George began composing at an early age and had 2 of his works performed by the Charleston Symphony while he was still a teenager.He earned his living by teaching college. Many of his compositions are experimental. His "Black Angels," written in 1970 to protest the Vietnam War, was composed for string quartet and water glasses. Some of his scores are almost works of art themselves.Crumb died in 2022 at age 92.

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Black Angels

American Songbook

Examples of George Crumb's scores