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Charles (Charlie) Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922–January 5, 1979) was an American composer and musician. He was hugely influential in the jazz world. First a bassist, Mingus went on to be a prolific composer, known for his affinity for collective improvisation. He greatly admired and was influenced heavily by Duke Ellington, with whom he played for a time. He is also remembered for his short temper, nicknamed "The Angry Man of Jazz."

Published in Today's Birthday


olivierHappy Birthday, Olivier Messiaen!

Olivier Messiaen (December 10, 1908 – April 27, 1992) was a major French composer as well as an avid ornithologist and organist. His music drew on ancient Greek and Hindu sources and is noted for being incredibly rhythmically complex and diversely influenced. Messiaen experienced synesthesia, a condition in which different sensory experiences influenced one another. In his case, the composer perceived colors while listening to certain musical chords, and considered these experiences crucial to his compositional process.

Published in Today's Birthday
Saturday, 10 November 2012 19:05

Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin


Composer, arranger, violist Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin, has composed music for four feature films and more than a dozen short films. He has released four albums, and arranged music for artists ranging from Yo-Yo Ma and the Kronos Quartet to Jay-Z.

He has recorded as a violist with Yo-Yo Ma, The Andalucian Dogs, The Knights and with his own ensemble, Ljova and the Kontraband, featuring his wife, Inna Barmash, on vocals.

Published in Rising Star Interviews

composer-elliott-carter-006Composer Elliott Carter passed away yesterday in his home in Greenwich Village, New York City; he was one-hundred and three years old. Trained by the great Nadia Boulanger, Carter became one of the foremost American composers of the twentieth century, and remained prolific until the end.

His works included orchestral, operatic, and solo compositions, as well as chamber music. Carter won two Pullitzer Prizes and was known for his intricate rhythmical and tonal style.

Flute Concerto (2008) for flute and ensemble

Composer's Notes:

For many years flutists have been asking for a flute concerto, yet I kept putting it off because I felt that the flute could not produce the sharp attacks that I use so frequently. But the idea of the beautiful qualities of the different registers of the instrument and the extraordinary agility attracted me more and more, so when Elena Bashkirova asked me write something for her and the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, I decided it would be a flute concerto. From mid - September, 2007 to March, 2008 ideas and notes for it fascinated me without relief.

- Elliott Carter, May 2008

Published in Best of the Web