Jean-Honoré Fragonard (April 5, 1732-August 22, 1806) was a French painter and printmaker, whose paintings are known for their discrete eroticism and intimacy. Some of his most important works include The Swing (1769), The Reader (1772), and Progress of Love (1771-73). He is considered part of the Rococo period. Fragonard's career was cut short by the French Revolution.
Happy birthday Muddy Waters!
Muddy Waters (April 4, 1915-April 30, 1983) was an American musician, commonly thought of as the father of Chicago blues. He has countless hits, but some of his most influential songs were “Rollin’ Stone,” “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.” After achieving initial commercial success in Chicago, it is said that Muddy’s appearance in England in 1958 was what ignited the British blues and rock and roll explosion of the 1960s. Muddy spent about twenty years on the backburner at Chess Records, but regained popularity in the 1970s and maintained much of it until his death in 1983.
Marlon Brando (April 3, 1924 - July 1, 2004) was an actor originally from Omaha, Nebraska. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential film actors of all time. His most notable works include A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), On the Waterfront (1954), and The Godfather (1972). He was known as a "bad boy" for his temperament on and off set, but was nonetheless always highly regarded as an actor.
Hans Christian Andersen (April 2, 1805-August 4, 1875) was a poet and author born in Odense, Denmark, most known for his fairy tales. Coming from a modest background, many of his stories address adversity and climbing the social ladder. Works of his that have become most popular in the United States and other parts of the West include "The Snow Queen," "The Ugly Duckling," "The Little Mermaid," and "The Princess and the Pea." After spending his formative years at schools in Copenhagen, Andersen spent much of his life in Germany where his stories had garnered exceptional attention and popularity.
Happy birthday Sergei Rachmaninoff!
Sergei Rachmaninoff (April 1, 1873 – 28 March 1943) was a Russian pianist, composer, and conductor. He is known as Russia's last great romantic composer. Part of the Russian bourgeoisie, he left Russia at the start of the Bolshevik Revolution. Once in the United States, he spent much of his time in the company of other Russians. His work was largely influenced by Russians, including Tchaikovsky and Rimsy-Korsakov. He is known for his virtuosic compositions which made use of his talent for performance.
Christopher (Ronald) Walken, born March 31, 1943, is an American film actor from Astoria Queens. He has been in show business since he was a young boy, starting as an extra in films, catalogs, and as the regular narrator of The Wonderful John Acton. He is perhaps best known for Annie Hall (1977) and The Deer Hunter (1978), for which he won an Academy Award. He usually portrays mentally unstable characters or the villain, and has commented on being typecast on numerous occasions.
Happy birthday Tracy Chapman!
Tracy Chapman (March 30,1964) is an American singer-songwriter who broke out in 1988 with the hits "Fast Car" and "Talkin' Bout A Revolution." Her socially conscious work is widely critically acclaimed, having been listed on Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." Her breakout album Tracy Chapman won three Grammys. She keeps her private life private, but is active in the public sphere, performing at many events in support of human rights.
Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (March 29, 1869-January 1, 1944) was an English architect. The majority of his work went to English country houses, but he is also known for his contributions to New Delhi, a subsection of Delhi, India. He also designed many cemeteries, the Liverpool Catholic Cathedral, the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. He received recognition while he was alive; he was knighted after the First World War. He was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Happy birthday Rudolf Serkin!
Rudolf Serkin (March 28, 1903 – May 8, 1991) was a Russian-Jewish pianist, born in Eger, Bohemia, in what is now the Czech Republic. Serkin began studying piano at the age of nine, and by twelve, was performing at the Vienna Philharmonic. To escape Nazi persecution, he and his family moved to Switzerland in the 1930s. He performed in New York's Philharmonic Orchestra and later became head of the piano department at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he spent the majority of his career. He taught many burgeoning pianists throughout his career and continued to tour and record until 1989.
Happy birthday Sarah Lois Vaughan!
Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was a jazz vocalist who was among the first to straddle pop and critical acclaim. She got her start singing and playing organ in her church’s choir in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey. After winning an amateur contest at The Apollo in Harlem, she was picked up by vocalist Billy Eckstein. She went on to sing alongside some of the era’s biggest names. By 1947, Vaughan was forging a solo career and quickly became one of the most beloved vocalists of the twentieth century, selling out large-scale venues well into her sixties.
Happy birthday Leonard Nimoy!
Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931) is a Jewish American film and television actor who is best known for his portrayal of Mr. Spock on Star Trek. Nimoy has said that over the long course of playing such a distinct character, he has become deeply attached to the fictional persona, and that their two identities have somewhat merged. Nimoy himself created the Vulcan salute from memories of the manner in which Jewish priests held their hand while giving blessings. The accompanying blessing, which became one of his character's best-known lines, is "Live long and prosper."
Happy birthday Béla Bartók!
Béla Bartók (March 25, 1881 – September 26, 1945) was a Hungarian composer and pianist who is widely considered one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. From an early point in his career, Bartók was passionately involved with the critical analysis of folk music, and later became one of the founders of ethnomusicology. His interest in exploring the cultural value of folk and peasant music resulted in a collection of thousands of pieces of folk music from all over the world. Bartók's compositions were also greatly influenced by his discoveries, and he would incorporate many elements of traditional music into his work.