Josquin des Prez : Passed away in the year 1521, the 27th of August

Josquin des Prez, also spelled Desprez, des Prés, or Després (born c. 1450, Condé-sur-l’Escaut?, Burgundian Hainaut [France]—died Aug 27, 1521, Condé-sur-l’Escaut), one of the greatest composers of Renaissance Europe. In an era when music was generally performed a few times before being replaced by something newer, Josquin des Prez was a rarity: a composer who … Continue reading Josquin des Prez : Passed away in the year 1521, the 27th of August

Ernst Krenek : August 23, 1900 – December 22, 1991

Ernst Krenek (August 23, 1900 – December 22, 1991) was an Austrian, later American, composer of Czech origin. He explored atonality and other modern styles and wrote a number of books, including Music Here and Now (1939), a study of Johannes Ockeghem (1953), and Horizons Circled: Reflections on my Music (1974). Krenek's music encompassed a variety … Continue reading Ernst Krenek : August 23, 1900 – December 22, 1991

Remembering Ustad Bismillah Khan : shehnai master

Bismillah Khan was named Qamaruddin to sound like his elder brother's name Shamsuddin. However, when his grandfather Rasool Baksh Khan saw him as a baby he uttered the word "Bismillah" and hence he came to be known as Bismillah Khan. His father used to be a shehnai player in the court of Maharaja Keshav Prasad … Continue reading Remembering Ustad Bismillah Khan : shehnai master

pet sound : roomful of teeth

Roomful of Teeth is a GRAMMY-winning vocal project dedicated to mining the expressive potential of the human voice. Through study with masters from singing traditions the world over, the eight-voice ensemble continually expands its vocabulary of singing techniques and, through an ongoing commissioning process, forges a new repertoire without borders. Founded in 2009 by Brad Wells, the band gathers annually at … Continue reading pet sound : roomful of teeth

Leif Segerstam : conductor, composer

Most people have heard of "Beethoven's 5th" but they may not know that he wrote nine symphonies.  Far fewer will know how many symphonies Mozart (41) or Haydn (104) wrote.  But at one point in music history the symphony was the basic genre-form for orchestra. The symphony prospered in the 18th century and was still a vibrant … Continue reading Leif Segerstam : conductor, composer

Honoring Oscar Levant : pianist, wit, and possible genius

I first heard of Oscar Levant (December 27, 1906 – August 14, 1972) when I was probably 12 or 13 and becoming aware of music as a growing obsession.  I had recently discovered George Gershwin, thanks to my sister who had a LP of piano rolls of Gershwin playing Rhapsody in Blue.  I would hang out … Continue reading Honoring Oscar Levant : pianist, wit, and possible genius

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji : born 14 August

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (born Leon Dudley Sorabji; 14 August 1892 – 15 October 1988) was an English composer, music critic, pianist and writer. He was one of the 20th century's most prolific piano composers. As a composer and pianist, Sorabji was largely self-taught, and he distanced himself from the main currents of contemporary musical life … Continue reading Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji : born 14 August