1. Obscure Music Monday: Holmès' Violon d'amour

    Augusta Holmès (Dec. 18, 1847 - Jan. 28 1903) was a pianist and composer, born in Paris, and of Irish descent. Despite showing great talent as a child, she wasn't allowed to take piano at the Paris Conservatory. Instead she took private piano lessons with Mademoiselle Peyrnnet, and later on, harmony and counterpoint with Henri Lambert, and composition lessons with Hyacinthe Klosé. Holmès became...
  2. Obscure Music Monday: Prokofiev's Two Poems

    Sergei Prokofiev (April 23, 1891 - March 5, 1953) was a Russian and Soviet pianist, composer, and conductor.  A graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Prokofiev is undoubtedly one of the most well known composers of the 20th century, and many of his works are staples in the repertoire, including his concertos for violin, cello, and piano,  seven symphonies, and many ballets...
  3. Obscure Music Monday: Smyth's 3 Songs, No. 3: On The Road

    Dame Ethel Mary Smyth DBE (April 22,1858 - May 8, 1944) was an English composer and member of the women's suffrage movement. The fourth of eight children, Smyth showed a keen interested in music as a career. Her father, a major general in the Royal Artillery, was not particularly supportive, though that didn't stop her from pursuing music anyway. Smyth studied...
  4. Obscure Music Monday: Boulanger's Dans l'immense tristesse

    Marie-Juliette Olga "Lili" Boulanger (Aug. 21, 1893 - March 15, 1918) was a French composer, and  the younger sister of the famed composition teacher/composer Nadia Boulanger. Born in Paris, Lili Boulanger was a child prodigy; at the age of two, it was discovered that she had perfect pitch. Her parents, both musicians, encouraged her musical education, and she accompanied her sister Nadia...
  5. Obscure Music Monday: Bridgetower's Henry: A Ballad

    George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (Oct. 11, 1778 – Feb. 29, 1860) was an Afro-European violinist and composer born in Poland, though he spent a much of his life in England. Bridgetower showed much promise as a young violinist, giving concerts at only ten years old. in 1791, after giving many successful concerts around Europe, the British Prince Regent, the future...
  6. Obscure Music Monday: Dukas' Sonnet de Ronsard

    Paul Abraham Dukas (Oct. 1, 1865 - May 17, 1935)  was a French composer, professor, and critic, born in to a Jewish family. The second of three children, Dukas didn't show any extraordinary musical talent, despite taking piano from a young age, until his teenage years, when he started to compose while recovering from an illness. When he was 16...
  7. Obscure Music Monday: Elgar's A Song of Autumn

    Sir Edward Elgar, 1st Baronet (June 2, 1857 - February 23, 1934) was an English composer, born to musically inclined parents Edward's father, William, was a piano tuner, and apprenticed at a music publishing house, in addition to being a violinist, and organist at a church. Edward was given piano and violin lessons growing up, but didn't have any real formal training; the most formal training he got was some advanced violin lessons in London, but he never attended a conservatory or anything similar. In addition to playing violin professionally, Elgar also conducted a group at an asylum, where he wrote and arranged music for their irregular instrumentation, which helped him gain a better understanding of writing for particular instruments, and was an important piece of his musical development.  Continue reading →
  8. Obscure Music Monday: Poldowski's Spleen

    Poldowski (May 16, 1879 - Jan. 28, 1932) was the professional pseudonym for Régine Wieniawksi, daughter of Polish violinist and composer Henryk Wieniawski. Born in Ixelles, Brussels, her mother was English and had family associations with various composers and musicians. Continue reading →
  9. Obscure Music Monday: Cook's Three Negro Songs

    Will Marion Cook (Jan. 27, 1869 - July 19, 1944) was an African-American violinist, conductor, and composer born in Washington, D.C. His father was dean of the Howard University School of Law, but died when Cook was ten. He was then sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Chattanooga Tennessee, who were able to buy their way out of slavery. He said that was his "soul period", and where he experienced "real Negro melodies". Continue reading →
  10. Obscure Music Monday: Lie's Sne

    Sigurd Lie (May 23, 1871 - Sept. 30, 1904) was a Norwegian composer, violinist. and conductor. His parents were musically inclined, and were supportive of Lie's musical studies. Continue reading →

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