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Classical Composers (B)

Classical music (and some jazz and folk) from Leonarda
Includes many American composers and works by women

J. S. Bach (1685-1750) Arioso; Ave Maria (arr. Gounod) (flute and piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE333Ave Maria (arr. Gounod) (voice and organ) is on Leonarda CD #LE341.

Agathe Backer-Grøndahl (1847-1907), Norwegian pianist/composer, studied in Norway, Berlin, Weimar (with Liszt) and Florence (von Bülow). Following her debut as a concert pianist at seventeen, she toured throughout Europe, but marriage in and a family eventually kept her in Norway, where she became a very influential teacher and the most important Scandinavian woman composer of her time. Mot Kveld (voice and piano) audio sample  mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE338.

Regina A. Harris Baiocchi (b. Chicago, 1956) has a career in public relations and is an author of short stories and poetry (under her pen name, Ginann), as well as a composer of works for orchestra, chorus, voice, chamber groups, and solo instruments. Her Orchestral Suite was one of four finalist compositions in the 1992 Detroit Symphony Orchestra Unisys African-American Composers Forum competition. Baiocchi attended Roosevelt University (B.A. composition), the Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute of Design, and New York University (Public Relations Certificate). Etude No. 2, subtitled "Equipoise by Intersection," is the second of Two Piano Etudes which combine serial techniques with tonal references and layers of poly-rhythms. Etude No. 2, (solo piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE339.

Leslie Bassett (b.1923): California-born composer Leslie Bassett has spent much of his life at the University of Michigan. Early training on piano, trombone, cello, and other instruments led to Bassett's wartime service in Europe with the l3th Armored Division Band. He pursued music degrees at Fresno State College and the University of Michigan and studied composition with Ross Lee Finney, Arthur Honegger, Nadia Boulanger, Roberto Gerhard, and Mario Davidovsky. Bassett joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1952, chaired the composition department from 1970 to 1985, and helped found the Electronic Music Studio there.

Bassett was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1966 for his Variations for Orchestra, which represented the United States at the UNESCO International Rostrum for Composers in Paris that year. Bassett's Echoes from an Invisible World, commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1976 for the U.S. Bicentennial, was later chosen by the League of Composers and the International Society for Contemporary Music to represent the United States at the 1980 World Music Days in Tel Aviv. Bassett's many grants, awards, and fellowships include those from the Guggenheim Foundation, Walter Naumberg Foundation, National Institute of Arts and Letters, National Council for the Arts and Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, University of Michigan, and the Koussevitsky and McKim Foundations in the Library of Congress. Trio (violin, clarinet and piano) (1980). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE326.

Carlo Bassini (Italy, published 1859) Ave Maria (voice and organ) on Leonarda CD #LE341.

Marion Bauer (1882-1955) was born Walla Walla, Washington where her first music teacher was her oldest sister. (Incorrect birth date is often listed as 1887; she started lying about the date in her twenties.) She reportedly became Nadia Boulanger's first American pupil in exchange for English lessons. In addition to teaching at New York University from 1930-1951, Bauer had a long career as a music critic, author and composer. I Love the Night (voice and piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE338.

Irwin Bazelon (1922-1995), a Chicago native, moved to New York City in 1948. "Bud" Bazelon graduated from DePaul University and later studied composition with Darius Milhaud. Bazelon's music is characterized by a dynamic energy that reflects the rhythmic pulse of city life. His rhythms are often derived from jazz elements, but his music is essentially dramatic in nature. Bazelon was awarded a Serge Koussevitzky Prize in 1982 in recognition of his "valuable contribution to the music of our time." The commissioned work, Fusions, has been performed by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and the University of Chicago Chamber Players. Bazelon has conducted his own works with the National Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Kansas City Philharmonic, and many other orchestras, and recently conducted the European premiere of his De-Tonations and took it on tour in France with the Orchestre National de Lille.

Bazelon has had commissions from the New Orleans Philharmonic, Kansas City Philharmonic, American Brass Quintet, Boehm Quintette, Empire Brass Quintet, and many other groups, and has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ford Foundation, and and other sources. His works have also been recorded on the CRI, Orion, Albany, and Louisville labels. A noted authority on film music, Bazelon has written scores for documentary and art films, industrial films, television, and theatre. He lectures at colleges and universities, and his book, Knowing the Score - Notes on Film Music is widely used on college campuses. Symphony No. 8 for Strings. Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE331.

Amy Beach (1867-1944), who signed her music Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, was a member of the Second New England School of composers. Although strongly influenced by German late Romantic music, she also was among the composers who experimented with the fusion of folk and art music in a search for an American national style, a fact that has only recently been acknowledged. From 1892 almost to her death, Beach quoted, in about thirty compositions, melodies from Irish, Scottish, African American, Native American, and European sources. Franz Boas's The Central Eskimo, published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1888, provided Beach with melodies she used in three works, including the string quartet heard here. String Quartet in One Movement, p. 89. Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE336. Here is another sample mp3 from #double CD #LE353. This double CD can be used in conjunction with the book Women Composers: The Lost Tradition Found.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) "Adagio cantabile" from Pathetique Sonata (solo piano) is on Leonarda CD #LE344.

David Beigelman (1887-1945) was born into a large musical family. A violinist, conductor, composer, and theater critic from Lodz, Poland, he toured Europe and even came to the U.S. as a member of a theater orchestra. In the spring of 1940, the Germans declared part of Lodz a ghetto and moved all Jews and Gypsies to that area. The ghetto became a slave labor camp with more than 75,000 workers.

Beigelman was an active participant in the cultural life of the ghetto, writing orchestra works and songs describing life there, many of which were censored by the authorities and sung in secret. Secret diaries found underground after the war mention Beigelman conducting the first symphonic concert there March 1, 1941, followed by a concert for chorus and orchestra on March 13th. Deported to Auschwitz in 1944, he was then sent to a slave labor camp, where he died of exhaustion in February, 1945. Tsigaynerlid is a tribute to some of the Gypsies in the Lodz ghetto attempting to drown their sorrows in song and dance. Some 500,000 Gypsies were liquidated during World War II. Tsigaynerlid (voices and piano), audio samples mp3 and mp3  from Leonarda CD #LE342.

Augusto Bendelari (Italy, 19th Century) Ave Maria (voice and organ) Leonarda is on CD #LE341.

Blanche, Queen of France (1188-1252) was born in Castile, then a kingdom in what is now central and northern Spain. Upon marriage, she became Queen of France, and governed France as regent during the minorship of her son Louis IX, and then again during his absence due to the 7th crusade. Of noble birth, Blanche was in the position to benefit from an education otherwise unavailable to women, or to most men. Her nobility and its accompanying education and wealth probably helped ensure the survival of her songs through the centuries. Amours, u trop tart me me sui pris (soprano, psaltery, medieval fiddle), audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE340.

Anne Boleyn (1507-1536) was the second wife of King Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I. Her father attained a high position under the young Henry VIII and spent several years as Ambassador to France. Anne lived at the French court from age 12-16. We know she was trained in music and dancing, owned a virginals, (a keyboard instrument similar in sound to a harpsichord), and played the lute. She had an excellent reputation as a composer and performer. This song is said to have been written by her when she was in the Tower of London facing execution for treason, though her only crime was probably her failure to produce a male heir. O Death rock me asleepe (attributed) (soprano, lute, viola da gamba), audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE340. O Death, rock me asleep (another performance, with voice and harpsichord) is on Leonarda CD #LE338.

Victoria Bond (b.1945), conductor/composer, was the first woman appointed EXXON/Arts Endowment Conductor with a major orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, where she worked with André Previn; the first woman to graduate with a Doctorate in orchestral conducting from the Juilliard School; and the first woman to receive a conducting grant from the National Institute for Music Theater to work at the New York City Opera and Artpark with Christopher Keene. Born in Los Angeles to a family of professional musicians, she began composing well before her formal training and studies at the University of Southern California and the Juilliard School.

She has received commissions from the American Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Empire State Institute for the Performing Arts, and Louisville Stage One. Bond has been featured on the NBC Today Show, ABC Weekend Edition, and World Monitor News, and profiled in Musical America, The Wall Street Journal, and Southern Magazine. Now a full-time composer except for conducting guest appearances, Bond was Music Director of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke until recently. She was voted Woman of the Year in Virginia in 1990 and 1991. Sandburg Suite (solo piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE334.

Margaret Bonds (1913-1972) was born in Chicago. She studied composition with Florence Price and William Dawson and became the first black pianist to perform with the Chicago Symphony (1933). She attended Northwestern University, completing her bachelor's and master's degrees in music (1933, 1934). Bonds moved to New York City in 1939, continuing studies at Juilliard with Roy Harris, Robert Starer, and Walter Gossett. She moved to Los Angeles in 1967, where she worked at the Inner City Institute and Repertory Theater. Bonds' compositions include orchestral and choral works, musical theater, art songs, popular songs, chamber music, and solo piano pieces. She collaborated frequently with poet Langston Hughes in some of her best-known works, including the musical Shakespeare in Harlem and the cantata Ballad of the Brown King. Minstrel Man from "Three Dream Portraits" (voice and piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE338. Troubled Water is a concert piece based on the spiritual Wade in the Water. Like many of her other works, it incorporates jazz idioms (solo piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE339.

Lili Boulanger's (1893-1918) mother was a talented singer and her father, who was 79 when Lili was born, taught composition and voice at the Paris Conservatoire. Lili began to go to music classes with her sister Nadia at the age of three and at age six she sight-read Fauré's songs with the composer at the piano. When she was 16 she could play piano, violin, cello and harp and she composed long before she studied composition formally. At 19 she became the first woman to win the Prix de Rome, the greatest recognition a young French composer could attain. The prize provided a year's study in Rome, but Lili's stay was cut short by illness, and she died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. She was able to complete more than 50 works during her short life. Nocturne,  audio sample mp3 and D'un Matin du Printemps,audio sample mp3 are from CD double CD #LE353. Si tout ceci n'est qu'un pauvre rêve from "Clairières dans le Ciel" for voice and piano is on Leonarda CD #LE338. The song cycle Clairières dans le Ciel (soprano and piano) is on Leonarda LP #LPI 118.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Intermezzo in A Major, Op. 118, #2 (solo piano), audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE344.

Alvin Brehm (b.1925) Relentlessly active as composer, performer, teacher, and administrator, Alvin Brehm's credentials are well established in virtually all areas of music. A distinguished composer, Brehm has received numerous commissions from such organizations as the Naumburg Foundation, American Brass Quintet, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Y Orchestra. He has been guest composer at the American Academy in Rome, Chairman of the National Endowment Chamber Music and New Music Committees, Chairman of the New York State Arts Council Music Panel, and Dean of Music at the Purchase campus of the State University of New York. His performance credits as a double bassist include guest appearances with the Guarneri, Budapest, Lenox, and Manhattan Quartets; the Jacques Thibaud Trio; and many other groups. A former artist-member of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, when he is not busy pursuing the muse, Brehm sails a 31 foot sloop, builds furniture, and suffers an addiction to spy stories. Colloquy and Chorale (four bassoons). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE348.

Jane Brockman's (b.1949) music is informed by her extensive work in film, television, and dance, as well as the formal structure of academia. She was the first woman to earn a doctorate in Composition in the 150-year history of the University of Michigan. She has been awarded fellowships to study in Paris and Vienna (Fulbright/Alliance Française and Rackham Prize), as well as grants and honors from the MacDowell Colony, the State of Connecticut, Meet the Composer, and the Composers Conference. Her first orchestra piece won the Sigvald Thompson Prize, and mentors include Ross Lee Finney, Leslie Bassett, George Balch Wilson, Eugene Kurtz and Wallace Berry. She has taught at the University of Connecticut, the Hartt School of Music, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Michigan. After being awarded a Composers' fellowship from Robert Redford's Sundance Institute, she was inspired to leave her tenured professorship to score films in Los Angeles. Today, in Santa Monica, her focus is entirely on concert music. Her music, which is performed all over the world, is widely recorded, and published by Diaphanous Music (distributed by Theodore Front Musical Literature Inc.) and Arsis Press. Character Sketches (solo piano). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE334. Perihelion II (string ensemble). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE327

Max Bruch (1838-1920) was born in Cologne. Hailed as a wunderkind, he won the Frankfurt Mozart Foundation Prize when he was fourteen with a string quartet he had composed. The scholarship money assured him four years of composition and piano studies with Ferdinand Hiller, Carl Reinecke, and Ferdinand Breunung. Bruch established himself as a music teacher and composer in Cologne in 1858, producing his first opera that same year. During the 1860s and 1870s he devoted himself to composition while traveling throughout central Europe. In 1880 Bruch moved to England. He composed his Symphony No. 3 for the New York Symphony Society in 1882 and heard it and his epic cantata Arminius performed in Boston when he visited the United States in 1883. He returned to Europe later that year to assume the leadership of the Orchesterverein in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland), leaving that position in 1891 to join the faculty of the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, where he was professor of composition and later vice president of the school. Max Bruch's long life spanned a period of tremendous dynamism and a wide variety of musical fashions in Western music. Through it all, he remained consistent in his own creative output with many of the conventions of late Romanticism, displaying a fine sense of both melody and classically-derived yet freely-treated form. Noted in his time for his many sacred and secular choral compositions, Bruch is perhaps best remembered today for his works for violin and orchestra such as the Concerto in G Minor and the Scottish Fantasy. Four Pieces from Op. 83 (violin, clarinet, and piano). Audio sample mp3 from  Leonarda CD #LE326.

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) Ave Maria (voice and organ) is on Leonarda CD #LE341.

Walter Burle Marx(1902-1990) listed under Marx.

Henri-Paul Busser(1872-1973) studied at the Paris Conservatory and won the second Premier Prix de Rome in 1893. He became choirmaster at the Opéra-Comique in 1892, and was conductor of the Grand Opéra from 1903-1939 and after the war. Busser taught composition at the Paris Conservatory from 1930-1948. Prélude et Scherzo, Op. 35 (flute and piano) is on CD #LE355.


Links to alphabetical list of composers
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