Composer

Credit: Opera Philadelphia

WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston considers a question of operatic proportion, with notable librettist Mark Campbell.

Elgar dedicated his second “Pomp and Circumstance” march to him. Sibelius honored him with a whole symphony. But the person who inspired these accolades is not all that well known.

Although more women have been winning Pulitzer Prizes for music lately, it's still next to impossible to hear works by female composers performed by America's symphony orchestras.

This year's Pulitzer winner, Du Yun, has a lot to say about the situation.

Despite being a Polish Jew, 17-year-old aspiring composer Joseph Beer won admission in 1925 to the prestigious Hochschule fur Musik in Vienna, which had a quota for both Jews and Poles. He was also allowed to skip the first four years of the curriculum to study composition in master classes, and went on to graduate with highest honors.

It was 1930, two years before Hitler became chancellor of Germany.

This year’s One Book, One Philadelphia features the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon. There’s a musical analog to this imaginative tale; Curtis Institute of Music Post-Bacc composition student and Rhodes Scholar Nick DiBerardino read the book and conjured a piece for percussion. His composition "Homunculus" premiered on January 25th at the Free Library of Philadelphia's Parkway Central Library.

Do you want to know what made the composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) so special? I'll tell you. Aside from revolutionizing the piano itself, enlarging its scope, the genres it lent itself to, and its breadth of color, Chopin essentially invented the scherzo and instrumental ballade as virtuoso piano movements, and reinvented the etude as a musically engaging genre, rather than a mere exercise.

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