Modern Period

Composers, Pieces, and Events 20thCentury-21stCentury

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Composer

22 August 1862 - 25 March 1918

Claude Debussy was a French composer. He was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music.

Composer

13 September 1874 - 13 July 1951

Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer and painter. And he was a leader of the Second Viennese School. He has been one of the most influential of 20th-century musical thought.

Composer

October 20, 1874 - May 19, 1954

Charles Ives was an American modernist composer. He is one of the first American composers of international renown, though his music was largely ignored during his life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years.

Composer

March 25, 1881 - September 26, 1945

Béla Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century. He and Liszt are regarded as Hungary's greatest composers.

Composer

17 June 1882 - 6 April 1971

Igor Stravinsky was a Russian, and later French and American, composer, pianist and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.

Composer

3 December 1883 - 15 September 1945

Anton Webern was an Austrian composer and conductor. He was a member of the Second Viennese School. As a student, he became one of the best-known exponents of the twelve-tone technique.

Composer

February 9, 1885 - December 24, 1935

Alban Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern.

Piece of Repertoire

1899

This piece is an orchestral composition in three movements by the French composer Claude Debussy. It was composed in 1899. Nocturne means usually a musical composition that is inspired by the night.

Composer

November 14, 1900 - December 2, 1990

Aaron Copland was an American composer, teacher, writer and conductor. He composed Appala Chian Spring.

Composer

25 September 1906 - 9 August 1975

Dmitri Shostakovich was a Russian composer and pianist. Also he was one of the prominent figures of 20th-century music. After a period influenced by Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, Shostakovich developed a hybrid style.

Composer

December 10, 1908 - April 27, 1992

Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist and ornithologist. And he was one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex. He travelled widely and wrote works inspired by diverse influences such as Japanese music.

Composer

March 9, 1910 - January 23, 1981

Samuel Barber was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. He is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century. At the time of his death, nearly all of his compositions had been recorded.

Piece of Repertoire

1912

Pierrot lunaire is a melodrama by Arnold Schoenberg. It is a setting of 21 selected poems from German translation. The narrator delivers the poems in the Sprechstimme style. Schoenberg had previously used a combination of spoken text with instrumental accompaniment, called "melodrama".

Piece of Repertoire

1912

Pierrot lunaire, Op. 21 is a melodrama written by Arnold Schoenberg. The work was premiered in 1912, with Albertine Zehme as the vocalist.

Composer

September 5, 1912 - August 12, 1992

John Cage was an American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist. He is possibly one of the most famous and important composers in twentieth century .

Piece of Repertoire

1913

The Rite of Spring is a ballet and orchestral concert work. It was written by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky in 1913. This piece contains many novel features for its time, including experiments in tonality, rhythm, stress and dissonance.

Composer

22 November 1913 - 4 December 1976

Benjamin Britten was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was the son of a dentist, and he showed talent from an early age. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London.

Piece of Repertoire

1914

General William Booth Enters into Heaven is Songs that were orchestrated. It's based on a poem by the same name written by Vachel Lindsay.

Piece of Repertoire

1914 - 1922

Wozzeck is the first opera by the Austrian composer Alban Berg. It was composed between 1914 and 1922 and first performed in 1925. The opera is based on the drama Woyzeck.

Composer

May 10, 1916 - January 29, 2011

Milton Babbitt was an American composer, music theorist, and teacher. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was Jewish. He was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, and began studying the violin when he was four years old but soon switched to clarinet and saxophone. Early in his life he was attracted to jazz and theater music. He was making his own arrangements of popular songs at seven, and when he was thirteen years old, he won a local songwriting contest.

Piece of Repertoire

1921 - 1923

Piano Suite, Op. 25 is a twelve tone piece for piano composed between 1921 and 1923. In form and style the work echoes many features of the Baroque suite.

Composer

August 7, 1921 - Present

Karel Husa is a Czech-born classical composer and conducto. And he was a winner of the 1969 Pulitzer Prize and 1993 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. He went to the United States in 1954 and became an American citizen in 1959. He composed Music for Prague 1968 which is a programmatic work.

Event

1924

The Juilliard School opens in New York.

Composer

October 24, 1929 - Present

George Crumb is an American composer of contemporary classical music. His reputation as a composer of hauntingly beautiful scores has made him one of the most frequently performed composers in today's musical world.

Piece of Repertoire

1930

The Symphony of Psalms is a three-movement choral symphony and was composed by Igor Stravinsky in 1930 during his neoclassical period. This piece was written for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Composer

October 24, 1931 - Present

Sofia Gubaidulina is a Russian composer. Her music is characterised by the use of unusual instrumental combinations.

Composer

23 November 1933 - Present

Penderecki is a Polish composer and conductor. He sometimes has been called as Poland's greatest living composer. One of his best known works is Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima. He studied music at Jagiellonian University and the Academy of Music in Kraków. After graduating from the Academy of Music, He became a teacher at the academy. And he began his career as a composer in 1959.

Piece of Repertoire

1935 - 1936

This piece, Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Opus 43, is classified as a symphony. It was composed by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich between September 1935 and May 1936. Shostakovich completed the symphony and planned its premiere for December 1936 in Leningrad. At some point during rehearsals he changed his mind and withdrew the work. It was premiered on 30 December 1961 by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.

Composer

11 September 1935 - Present

Arvo Pärt is an Estonian composer of classical and sacred music. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style. His music is in part inspired by Gregorian chant. He has been the most performed contemporary composer in the world for three years in a row.

Event

1936

Bela Bartok's masterpiece, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, premieres in Basel.The score is dated in 1936 and the 3rd movement is slow. Shostakovich parodied this piece in his symphony number 13.

Piece of Repertoire

1936

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is one of the best-known compositions by the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. The score is dated in 1936. The third movement is slow.

Composer

April 30, 1939 - Present

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is an American composer, the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Her early works are marked by atonal exploration, but by the late 1980s she had shifted to a post-modernist, neo-romantic style. She has been called "one of America’s most frequently played and genuinely popular living composers." She was a 1994 inductee into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.

Piece of Repertoire

1941

Quatuor pour la fin du temps is a piece of chamber music by the French composer Olivier Messiaen. This piece is scored for clarinet (in B-flat), violin, cello, and piano. A typical performance of the complete work lasts about 50 minutes.

Piece of Repertoire

1943 - 1944

Appala Chian Spring is a Ballet suite, and it was written by the American composer Aaron Copland between 1943 and 1944. This piece is scored for thirteen members of chamber orchestra. The original ballet version is divided into the fourteen movements.

Piece of Repertoire

1945

Peter Grimes is classified as an opera. It was written by Benjamin Britten, with a libretto adapted from the narrative poem. It was first performed in 1945, and it was the first of Britten's operas to be a critical and popular success. It is still widely performed, both in the UK and internationally. And it is considered part of the standard repertoire.

Composer

February 15, 1947 - Present

John Adams is an American composer with strong roots in minimalism. He was greatly influenced by New England's musical culture. His father taught him how to play the clarinet, and he was a clarinetist in community ensembles. He later studied the instrument further with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Event

1951

In an effort to introduce rhythm and blues to a broader white audience, which was hesitant to embrace “black music,” disc jockey Alan Freed uses the term rock 'n' roll to describe R&B.

Piece of Repertoire

1951

Music of Changes is a piece for solo piano by John Cage. It was composed in 1951 for pianist. This piece is his earliest fully indeterminate instrumental work.

Piece of Repertoire

1953

Hermit Songs is a cycle of ten songs for voice and piano. I was written by Samuel Barber in 1953. Song cycle is a group of songs performed in a sequence that tells a story.

Composer

December 6, 1955 - Present

Bright Sheng is a Chinese-American composer, conductor, and pianist. He has lived in the United States since 1982 and is on faculty at the University of Michigan. Sheng's compositions have been performed by most major American orchestras.

Event

1957

Leonard Bernstein completes West Side Story.

Piece of Repertoire

1960

Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima is a musical composition for 52 string instruments. It was composed in 1960 by Penderecki. This piece swiftly attracted interest around the world and made its young composer famous.

Event

1964

Folk musician Bob Dylan becomes increasingly popular.

Piece of Repertoire

1964

Philomel is a serial composition. It was composed in 1964. It combines synthesizer with both live and recorded soprano voice. It is Milton Babbitt’s best-known work and was planned as a piece for performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Piece of Repertoire

1968

Music for Prague 1968 is a programmatic work written by composer Karel Husa for symphonic band. It was also later transcribed for full orchestra. This work was premiered in January 1969 in Washington, DC at the Music Educators National Conference by Dr. Kenneth Snapp and the Ithaca College Concert Band.

Piece of Repertoire

1970

Black Angels is subtitled "Thirteen Images from the Dark Land". It is a work for "electric string quartet" by the American composer George Crumb. It was composed over the course of a year and is dated "Friday the Thirteenth, March 1970 as written on the score. Crumb is very interested in numerology and numerically structured the piece around 13 and 7.

Piece of Repertoire

1977 - 1978

Phrygian Gates is a piano piece written by John Adams. The piece is written in a minimalist style, and based on a repetitive cell structure.

Piece of Repertoire

1981

Rejoice! Sonata for Violin and Violoncello, fifth movement is classified as a type of a piece for Chamber or Ensemble. It was written by Sofia Gubaidulina in 1981.

Piece of Repertoire

1985

Concerto Grosso 1985 subtitled "to Handel's Sonata in D for violin and continuo". This work was written by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and commissioned by the Washington Friends of Handel in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of George Frideric Handel's birth. As the subtitle suggests, an opening thematic gambit from a Handel violin sonata becomes the generative force of the entire five-movement work.

Piece of Repertoire

1988

Magnificat antiphons is one of Arvo Pärt's early choral works. Those were composed almost exclusively to Latin texts.

Event

1995

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum opens in Cleveland.

Event

2009

Michael Jackson, the pop icon, dies suddenly in Los Angeles, California.