Jean Sibelius: The Dances of Courtship

When Janne Sibelius and Aino Järnefelt gazed at each other across a family dinner, love was definitely in the air. “My eyes never left you,” Sibelius wrote later, and her brother Arvid loudly proclaimed, “Don’t look at my sister like [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 10th, 2015
A Nordic Fairytale Jean Sibelius and Aino Järnefelt

At age 23, Jean Sibelius “was pale and good-looking, slender and sensitive. He seemed to all a strange and attractive being. And of course, we were all in love with him…And he was lovable. Refined, attractive, polite, he had that [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | November 29th, 2015
Little Chunk of Wood and Little Song Bohuslav Martinů and Vítĕzslava Kaprálová

In 1937, Bohuslav Martinů visited the city of Prague to prepare for the premiere of his opera Julietta. During that visit, he met the highly talented composer Vítĕzslava Kaprálová, who had written her first two compositions for piano solo by [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | November 11th, 2015
A distinct division of Labor Bohuslav Martinů and Charlotte Quennehen

Ernest Hemingway once famously wrote, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” For [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 30th, 2015
Louis Vierne: Born Unlucky

Louis Victor Jules Vierne was seemingly born under an unlucky star! He emerged into this word nearly blind on 8 October 1870. Two serious operations in 1877 finally enabled him to read large print, and he eventually learned Braille in [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 12th, 2015
A Revolutionary Union César Franck and Eugénie-Félicité-Caroline Saillot-Desmousseaux

César Franck had a rather ambitious and overbearing father! Determined to make the most profitable use of his son’s musical talents, he forced him into a career as a virtuoso pianist. Studies at the Liège and Paris Conservatory set the [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 9th, 2015
Applause is like Oxygen Sergey Rachmaninoff and Marietta Shaginyan

Sergey Rachmaninoff was deeply wounded when critics admired him as a pianist but never acknowledged him as a composer. Battling severe bouts of depression he dejectedly confided in Marietta Shaginyan “that he would concentrate fully on playing and would stop [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 11th, 2015
Uncommon Men Aaron Copland and Victor Kraft

Aaron Copland (1900-1990), widely regarded as one of the most respected American classical composers of the twentieth century, conducted his “personal life with the characteristic modesty, tactfulness, and serenity that marked his professional life as well.” Copland was described as [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 30th, 2015