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The Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
The Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradition of the Western world, considered to be distinct from Western folk music or popular music traditions. It is sometimes distinguished as Western classical music, as the term "classical music" also refers to non-Western traditions which exhibit similar formal qualities. In addition to formality, classical music is often characterized by complexity in its musical form and harmonic organization, particularly with the use of polyphony. Since at least the 9th century it has been primarily a written tradition, spawning a sophisticated notational system, as well as accompanying literature in analytical, critical, historiographical, musicological and philosophical practices. A foundational component of Western Culture, classical music is frequently seen from the perspective of individual or groups of composers, whose compositions, personalities and beliefs have fundamentally shaped its history. (Full article...)

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  • photographed by George C. Beresford in 1926
    photographed by George C. Beresford in 1926
  • Image 2Alan Dudley Bush (22 December 1900 – 31 October 1995) was a British composer, pianist, conductor, teacher and political activist. A committed communist, his uncompromising political beliefs were often reflected in his music. He composed prolifically across a range of genres, but struggled through his lifetime for recognition from the British musical establishment, which largely ignored his works.Bush, from a prosperous middle-class background, enjoyed considerable success as a student at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in the early 1920s, and spent much of that decade furthering his compositional and piano-playing skills under distinguished tutors. A two-year period in Berlin in 1929 to 1931, early in the Nazi Party's rise to power, cemented Bush's political convictions and moved him from the mainstream Labour Party to the Communist Party of Great Britain which he joined in 1935. He wrote several large-scale works in the 1930s, and was heavily involved with workers' choirs for whom he composed pageants, choruses and songs. His pro-Soviet stance led to a temporary ban on his music by the BBC in the early years of the Second World War, and his refusal to modify his position in the postwar Cold War era led to a more prolonged semi-ostracism of his music. As a result, the four major operas he wrote between 1950 and 1970 were all premiered in East Germany. (Full article...)
    Alan Dudley Bush (22 December 1900 – 31 October 1995) was a British composer, pianist, conductor, teacher and political activist. A committed communist, his uncompromising political beliefs were often reflected in his music. He composed prolifically across a range of genres, but struggled through his lifetime for recognition from the British musical establishment, which largely ignored his works.

    Bush, from a prosperous middle-class background, enjoyed considerable success as a student at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in the early 1920s, and spent much of that decade furthering his compositional and piano-playing skills under distinguished tutors. A two-year period in Berlin in 1929 to 1931, early in the Nazi Party's rise to power, cemented Bush's political convictions and moved him from the mainstream Labour Party to the Communist Party of Great Britain which he joined in 1935. He wrote several large-scale works in the 1930s, and was heavily involved with workers' choirs for whom he composed pageants, choruses and songs. His pro-Soviet stance led to a temporary ban on his music by the BBC in the early years of the Second World War, and his refusal to modify his position in the postwar Cold War era led to a more prolonged semi-ostracism of his music. As a result, the four major operas he wrote between 1950 and 1970 were all premiered in East Germany. (Full article...)
  • Busoni in 1913
    Busoni in 1913
  • Image 4Valerie Muriel Rodway (February 12, 1919 – August 1970) was a Guyanese composer of cultural and patriotic songs, inspired by the events leading up to Guyana's independence in 1966. She is best known for composing music to accompany Guyana national poetry, like Arise, Guyana, Kanaïma, and the Martin Carter's Guyanese Independence poem Let Freedom Awaken.  For the next two decades, school children were taught the songs she and others composed to inspire patriotism and cultural affinity. She selected the poetry for her compositions based upon her principles and values, first developed among her parents and siblings.She has been considered Guyana's greatest composer of patriotic and national music, and among the best composers from Guyana of the 20th century, generally and among composers of classical music. She was awarded the Wordsworth McAndrew Award posthumously in 2002. In 2019, she was awarded the Cacique Crown of Honor, one of the highest honors of Guyana. The National Trust of Guyana building in Cummingsburg, Georgetown, has been renamed the Valerie Rodway House in her honor. (Full article...)
    Valerie Muriel Rodway (February 12, 1919 – August 1970) was a Guyanese composer of cultural and patriotic songs, inspired by the events leading up to Guyana's independence in 1966. She is best known for composing music to accompany Guyana national poetry, like Arise, Guyana, Kanaïma, and the Martin Carter's Guyanese Independence poem Let Freedom Awaken. For the next two decades, school children were taught the songs she and others composed to inspire patriotism and cultural affinity. She selected the poetry for her compositions based upon her principles and values, first developed among her parents and siblings.

    She has been considered Guyana's greatest composer of patriotic and national music, and among the best composers from Guyana of the 20th century, generally and among composers of classical music. She was awarded the Wordsworth McAndrew Award posthumously in 2002. In 2019, she was awarded the Cacique Crown of Honor, one of the highest honors of Guyana. The National Trust of Guyana building in Cummingsburg, Georgetown, has been renamed the Valerie Rodway House in her honor. (Full article...)
  • Poulenc in the early 1920s
    Poulenc in the early 1920s
  • Shankar performing in 1969
    Shankar performing in 1969
  • Boulez in 1968
    Boulez in 1968
  • Khachaturian in 1971
    Khachaturian in 1971
  • Arthur Sullivan in 1888
    Arthur Sullivan in 1888
  • Image 10Philibert Rabezoza (1923 – 29 September 2001), better known by the name Rakoto Frah, was a flautist and composer of traditional music of the central highlands of Madagascar. Born in 1923 near the capital city of Antananarivo to a poor rural family, Rakoto Frah surmounted the challenges posed by his underprivileged origins to become the most acclaimed 20th century performer of the sodina flute, one of the oldest traditional instruments on the island. Through frequent international concerts and music festival performances, he promoted the music of the highlands of Madagascar and became one of the most famous Malagasy artists, both within Madagascar and on the world music scene.After gaining regional recognition for his sodina skills as a youth, Rakoto Frah rose to national fame in 1958 when he was selected by Malagasy President Philibert Tsiranana to perform on the sodina for the visiting French president Charles de Gaulle. This event launched his career as a professional musician.  He first played at traditional ceremonies around the country, then expanded his performances from 1967 to include participation in international music competitions and festivals. His popularity declined in the 1970s but underwent a revival that began in the mid-1980s and continued until his death in 2001. During this period Rakoto Frah recorded ten albums, toured extensively in Madagascar and overseas, was featured in two French documentaries, and collaborated with a variety of international and Malagasy artists. Over the course of his career he recorded over 800 original compositions. Rakoto Frah and his sodina were depicted on the 200 ariary Malagasy banknote in honor of his key role in revitalizing and internationally popularizing the sodina. Despite the artist's worldwide acclaim, he lived simply and died having earned little from his lifetime of musicianship. His death was widely mourned and marked by a state funeral, and in 2011 a famadihana (the Malagasy highland "turning of the bones" funerary tradition) was organized to celebrate the artist's life. (Full article...)
    Philibert Rabezoza (1923 – 29 September 2001), better known by the name Rakoto Frah, was a flautist and composer of traditional music of the central highlands of Madagascar. Born in 1923 near the capital city of Antananarivo to a poor rural family, Rakoto Frah surmounted the challenges posed by his underprivileged origins to become the most acclaimed 20th century performer of the sodina flute, one of the oldest traditional instruments on the island. Through frequent international concerts and music festival performances, he promoted the music of the highlands of Madagascar and became one of the most famous Malagasy artists, both within Madagascar and on the world music scene.

    After gaining regional recognition for his sodina skills as a youth, Rakoto Frah rose to national fame in 1958 when he was selected by Malagasy President Philibert Tsiranana to perform on the sodina for the visiting French president Charles de Gaulle. This event launched his career as a professional musician. He first played at traditional ceremonies around the country, then expanded his performances from 1967 to include participation in international music competitions and festivals. His popularity declined in the 1970s but underwent a revival that began in the mid-1980s and continued until his death in 2001. During this period Rakoto Frah recorded ten albums, toured extensively in Madagascar and overseas, was featured in two French documentaries, and collaborated with a variety of international and Malagasy artists. Over the course of his career he recorded over 800 original compositions. Rakoto Frah and his sodina were depicted on the 200 ariary Malagasy banknote in honor of his key role in revitalizing and internationally popularizing the sodina. Despite the artist's worldwide acclaim, he lived simply and died having earned little from his lifetime of musicianship. His death was widely mourned and marked by a state funeral, and in 2011 a famadihana (the Malagasy highland "turning of the bones" funerary tradition) was organized to celebrate the artist's life. (Full article...)
  • Frederik Magle conducting on 20 September 2011, in the DRs Koncerthuset.
    Frederik Magle conducting on 20 September 2011, in the DRs Koncerthuset.
  • Schyman at Gamescom 2018
    Schyman at Gamescom 2018
  • Image 13 Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych (13 December [O.S. 1 December] 1877 – 23 January 1921; Ukrainian: Микола Дмитрович Леонтович; also Leontovich) was a Ukrainian composer, conductor, ethnomusicologist and teacher. His music was inspired by Mykola Lysenko and the Ukrainian National Music School. Leontovych specialised in a cappella choral music, ranging from original compositions, to church music, to elaborate arrangements of folk music. Leontovych was born and raised in the Podolia province of the Russian Empire (now in Ukraine). He was educated as a priest in the Kamianets-Podilskyi Theological Seminary and later furthered his musical education at the Saint Petersburg Court Capella and private lessons with Boleslav Yavorsky. With the independence of the Ukrainian state in the 1917 revolution, Leontovych moved to Kyiv where he worked at the Kyiv Conservatory and the Mykola Lysenko Institute of Music and Drama. He is recognised for composing Shchedryk in 1904 (which premiered in 1916), known to the English-speaking world as Carol of the Bells or Ring, Christmas Bells. He is known as a martyr in the Eastern Orthodox Ukrainian Church, where he is also remembered for his liturgy, the first liturgy composed in the vernacular, specifically in the modern Ukrainian language. He was assassinated by a Soviet agent in 1921. (Full article...)
  • André Messager, 1921
    André Messager, 1921
  • Tristano, c. August 1947
    Tristano, c. August 1947

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