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Happy New Year! Do like the Austrians do and listen to some (J) Strauss.

Hey, Johann Strauss II! That is an *excellent* mustache/beard/overgrowth combo you have going there. Serious hipster action! Welcome to the year 2012, where to this day, peeps rock out to your music at their New Years celebrations. Specifically, people in Austria. More specifically, people reveling at the Vienna Royal Orchestra’s New Year Concert extravaganza. Johann Strauss II was the son of (you guessed it!) Johann Strauss I, who was the leader of the Strauss Orchestra.

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Composer of the Week: Frederick Delius

b. January 29, 1862 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England d. June 10, 1934 Grez-sur-Loing, France Born to German parents, Frederick Delius was born Fritz Albert Theodore Delius; he anglicized his name in the early 1900s. Delius spent time apprenticing with his father, a wool distributor, before leaving for the United States to run an orange plantation in Florida. He spent a year-and-a-half there and was endlessly fascinated with the songs of the plantation workers he saw

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Composer of the Week: Franz Schubert

Franz Peter Schubert, a chamber music extraordinaire and one of the few truly Viennese composers, lived a short but very prolific life. He’s our Composer of the Week and he rocks! b. January 31, 1797 in Vienna, Austria d. November 19, 1828 Schubert was the youngest of five out of nine surviving children. He was taught to play the violin by his schoolmaster father and piano by his oldest brother. It became apparent quite quickly

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Composer of the Week: Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich was a dynamic composer who delicately balanced performing in his preferred avant-garde fashion, writing commissioned communist-sympathetic works for films, plays and ballets, along with the overall requisite that he show Leninist support. How tiring it must have been! Shostakovich is our dynamo Composer of the Week. b. September 25, 1906, St Petersburg d. August 9, 1975, Moscow Dmitri Shostakovich was regarded as the greatest symphonist of the 20th century and his musical talents

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Composer of the Week: George Crumb

b. Oct. 24, 1929 in Charleston, West Virginia George Crumb, American composer extraordinaire, engaged in quite an extensive musical education — he studied at the Mason College of Music in Charleston, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the Berlin Conservatory. Crumb received a Rockefeller grant in 1964 and was a composer in residence at the Buffalo Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. Most of Crumb’s music

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Composer of the Week: Bernard Herrmann

b. June 29, 1911 in New York, NY d. December 24, 1975 in Los Angeles, CA Bernard Herrmann began studying composition and conducting at NYU while still in high school. He went on to Juilliard where he remained for two years, however, he found the school to be too conservative. In 1933, Herrmann formed the New Chamber Orchestra, which was comprised of unemployed musicians. He used this group to practice his conducting abilities as well

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Composer of the Week: Antonin Dvorak

Antonin Dvorak was basically a rock star. So much so that some computer keyboards were named after him. b. September 8, 1841 in Prague d. May 1, 1904 in Prague Dvorak was an early musical talent and made quick gains on the violin upon beginning his studies at age 5. He studied at the only organ school in Prague and later became accomplished on the violin and viola. He played in the Bohemian Provisional Theater

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Composer of the Week: Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms was a star of the Romantic Era and was also really super cool. His emphatically expressive music is an absolute pleasure to listen to. b. May 7, 1833 in Hamburg, Germany d. April 3, 1897 in Vienna, Austria Brahms began studying piano at age six and also studied cello and horn. As a young person he enjoyed romantic German poetry and the music of Bach and Beethoven. He also collected manuscripts of European

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Composer of the Week: Ludwig van Beethoven

We’re squeezing in one last Fantasia salute before the month ends! Beethoven’s segment of the film truly rocks, so we couldn’t pass this one up. Yay Beethoven and yay Fantasia! b. December 16, 1770 in Bonn, Germany d. March 26, 1827 in Vienna, Austria Ludwig van Beethoven was regarded as the most important composer in the transition between the Classical and Romantic period of music and is also thought to be the most important composer

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Composer of the Week: Paul Dukas

Paul Dukas wrote the iconic and amazing work The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. As we continue our salute to Disney’s Fantasia, he is our Composer of the Week! b. Oct 1, 1865 in Paris d. May 17, 1935 in Paris Paul Dukas studied piano as a child but was not particularly talented. Upon falling ill at age 14, Dukas began composing. He subsequently began studying formally at a conservatory, where he learned about orchestration and conducting in

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