August 5, Birthday of Betsy Jolas (b. 1928)

Born in Paris between WWI and WWII, Betsy Jolas grew up in an enviable milieu. Her mother was a well-known translator and her father founded the literary magazine, “transition,” which published James Joyce’ Finnegan’s Wake as a “Work in Progress.” Her studies at the Paris Conservatory were interrupted by WWII and she and her family decamped to the US, where she completed her studies at Bennington. After the War, in 1946, her family returned to Paris, where Jolas continued her studies at the conservatoire with Darius Milhaud, Simone Plé-Caussade and Olivier Messiaen. She replaced Olivier Messiaen at the conservatory and has been on the faculty there since 1975. She has won many prizes and is both a Chevalier in the French Légion d’Honneurand and is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Points d’aube


String Quartet No. 3



D’un opéra de voyage (1967)


Quatuor II for soprano, violin, viola & cello


Enfantillages


POINTS D`OR concerto for saxophone(s) & 15 instruments

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July 30, birthday of Alexina Diane Louie (b. 1949)

Alexina Diane Louie, OC OOntFRSC (born July 30, 1949) is a Canadian composer. She is of Chinese descent who has written many pieces for orchestra, as well as pieces for solo piano.

“O Moon”

I Leap Through The Sky With Stars

Warrior

Music for Piano

July 29, birthday of Sophie Menter (1846 — 1918)

From wikipedia: Sophie Menter (29 July 1846 — 23 February 1918) was a German pianist and composer who became the favorite female student of Franz Liszt.[1] She was called l’incarnation de Liszt in Paris because of her robust, electrifying playing style[1] and was considered one of the greatest piano virtuosos of her time.[2] She died at Stockdorf, near Munich.

Etude in A flat op. 9

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April 25, Birthday of Szőnyi Erzsébet (b. 1924)

There is scant information on Wikipedia about Hungarian composer, Szőnyi Erzsébet except to say she has composed a lot including 8 operas. More information can be found on the website for the International (Zoltán Kodály) Society. Many of her works appear on Youtube, however, and maybe her music represents the evolution of classical music that Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók. This ranges from transcriptions of folk melodies into quite complex chamber music. Enjoy.

Hárfás kvintett
Zeneiskola koncertje
Trio Concertino
koncert II. rész

November 4, birthday of Gena Branscombe

Gena Branscombe (4 November 1881 – 26 July 1977) was a Canadian pianist, composer, music educator and choir conductor who lived and worked in the United States.

Love in a Life: I thought once how Theocritus
Ah! Love, I Shall Find Thee

October 28, birthday of Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel (b. 1980)

Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel is a Berlin-based Danish singer/songwriter. Since Wikipedia doesn’t list many women composers, I also search it for singer-songwriters on any given day. Agnes grew up in a musical household. Her mother played Bartok and Chopin and she learned to play piano at a very early age. Her piano teacher told her to only play things she liked, which is probably why she stayed with it. This piece is nice and atmospheric, which is usually what I listen for first in any new piece of music. I found two versions of it on Youtube, one really trippy and the other a bit more poppy. I like them both. How about you?

Fuel to Fire

Fuel to Fire (Official Video)

October 20, birthday of Sandra Dickinson

Today’s composer should bring a few smiles to the faces of my British readers.  The composer Sandra Dickinson, a British-American actress, born in Washington, DC, grew up near here in Maryland, and moved to England where she has had an interesting career.  Fans of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” will recognize her as Trillian, the earth woman Zaphod Beeblebrox picks up on earth, stealing her away from Dent, Arthur Dent.

For her second marriage, she married the fifth Doctor Who, Peter Davidson.  After their divorce, she married Mark Osmond, another British singer/actor.

Before “Hitchhiker’s” she made her debut on British television in a commercial for Bird’s Eye Beefburgers, directed by Alan Parker (who later did Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”)  In the 1980s, she and Davidson composed the theme to a children’s television show named “Button Moon.”

Birdseye Beef Burger: “Ganster 1970”

Theme from Button Moon

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