Johann Baptist Wanhal and the First Viennese School

The mention of late-eighteenth century Vienna frequently conjures thoughts of well-known composers like Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. But since I joined a project reporting pre-1800 imprints and manuscripts to RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales, an open-access database that lets you see which libraries have a certain published score or unique manuscript), I would like […]

Celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th Birthday

Since publishing Leaves of Grass in June 1855, Walt Whitman and his poetry have captured the American imagination. Not until the early twentieth century, however, did composers begin to draw from and set to music Whitman’s work in earnest. Today, 200 years after Whitman’s birth, his settings have inspired over 500 composers to write over […]

Happy 95th Birthday to Max Roach

Today marks the 95th birthday of jazz drummer, bandleader and educator Max Roach (1924-2007). His papers are among the most heavily researched jazz archival collections in the Music Division revealing much about jazz and the intersection of modernism and the development of Black political consciousness in 20th-century music. And though the collection includes a draft […]

On Clara Schumann’s 199th Birthday: The Countdown Begins!

Any other Clara Schumann fanatics out there? I’ve been a personal devotee of Clara the composer ever since I first listened in college to Barbara Bonney and Vladimir Ashkenazy’s recording, Robert & Clara Schumann Lieder. I was a Music major and voice student exploring new repertoire for upcoming recitals; while I already loved Robert Schumann’s […]

Lester Young’s Birthday and News of a Rare Recording

Today marks the 109th birthday of tenor saxophonist Lester Young, the first so-called modernist instrumental stylist in jazz. His playing and hip, creative use of musician’s jargon is admired for breaking from the prevailing saxophone style of Coleman Hawkins. In his classic recordings with Count Basie’s Orchestra, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman and others, he demonstrated […]

Happy Birthday Abbey!

Today marks the birthday of singer, songwriter, actress, and political activist Abbey Lincoln (Anna Marie Wooldridge August 6, 1930 – August 14, 2010). One of many singers influenced by Billie Holiday, she made her breakthrough in 1956 with her first recording, Abbey Lincoln’s Affair, and her appearance in the film The Girl Can’t Help It. Though she […]