August 1, birthday of Augusta Read Thomas

Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964) is an American composer, professor, and has also been the conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

To The Sailors


July 31, birthday of Suzanne Giraud

Suzanne Giraud (born 31 July 1958) is a French music educator and composer of contemporary music. (Wikipedia)

QUATRE FLUIDES for Clarinet & String orchestra


July 30, birthday of Julia Tsenova

Julia Tsenova (1948-2010) is the first Bulgarian composer I’ve come across.  I’m excited to have found her as the harmonies of Bulgarian shout-singing caught my attention some 30 years ago.

Swan Song


July 29, birthday of Dorothy Parke

Dorothy Parke (29 July 1904 – 5 February 1990) was a composer from Northern Ireland, who wrote a number of popular songs of her day for children.  Could only find this one on youtube.

To The Sailors


July 28, Julie Rivé-King, American Composer

Julie Rivé-King was an American composer pianist and composer (Wikipedia) who died on this date in 1937.  Her parents fled Louisiana after a cholera epidemic took three of their children. They moved to Cincinnati where Julie was born in 1954. Her parents took her to Europe where she studied with Franz Liszt. Back in America she toured extensively, married her manager, and became a composer and teacher. The piece below is a cute little march, dating from 1879, when she was 24.


March of the Goblins


July 26, birthday of Ada Gentile

Ada Gentile is an Italian pianist and composer (Wikipedia).  She was educated at the St. Cecilia Conservatory of Music in Rome, where she later became deputy director. As I’ve written before,  St. Cecilia church is where Respighi was music master.  It sits atop the ruins of an ancient Roman necropolis and house.


Adagios for String Orchestra (1993-4)


July 25, birthday of Melinda Kistétényi

Melinda Kistétényi (1926-1996) (Wikipedia) was a famed Hungarian organist and composer. However, I can’t find a performance of Youtube of any work of hers on which she is the original composer. There are many works, though, of her performing and what makes her a composer, according to one site I found, was her ability to improvise. The first piece below, “A keresztfához megyek”, in an improvisation on a church song, that seems to translate to “I’m going to the wooden cross.” Following that is an improvisation on “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

“A keresztfához megyek…”

July 24, birthday of Alissa Firsova: Les Pavots Op. 1

Alissa Firsova (Russian: Алисса Фирсова; born 24 July 1986) is a Russian British classical composer, pianist and conductor. (Wikipedia)

What I find fascinating is that she won the Proms Young Composer composition in 2001 at the ripe old age of 15. Here is that piece:

Les Pavots

This is a later work, Bergen’s Bonfire, op 31. Shows how’s she’s mastering composition. I’m happy to see that millenials are also interested in carrying classical music forward.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: F is for Elena Olegovna Firsova

A2Z-BADGE-0002015-LifeisGood-230_zps660c38a0 This is day 6 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge in which I attempt to blog every day (excepting Sundays) throughout the month of April. For this challenge, I am curating a collection of “classical” music pieces, which are lesser known or by lesser known composers (to me at least).Today’s composer is Elena Olegovna Firsova (b. 1950).

Before the Thunderstorm (1994)”

This piece is very 20th Century a-tonal and it sets to music a poem by the poet Osip Mandelstahm.

The composer’s Wikipedia page Elena Firsova