The great composers we know and love are not too different from all of us today!

Discover what sparked their love of music, who supported them along the way, and fun facts about the people behind the great music.

Listen to the episodes below and use the activity sheet to deepen your understanding.

Activity Sheet

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Meet the Composer!

As you learn about the composer, take notes on their life and music with the given questions in mind. With your notes, write a biography of the composer. Unlike other biographies, include your personal thoughts on their life and music!

Teachers/Parents:
The goal of this exercise is to inform the student about the lives of composers and what their music is like, and for them to realize great music was written by everyday people following their passions. After a critical listen to each episode and taking guided notes, students will use the gathered information to creatively write a biography, thinking about what stood out the most to them about the composer.
 

Episodes

  • The Life of Johannes Brahms

    The Life of Johannes Brahms

    Episode 19 May 18, 2021

    He's considered one of the greatest composers of the 19th century. But can you hum a tune by Brahms? We dive into the life and music of Brahms to better understand what set him apart from others, how his personality affected his music, and how he still appears in popular music and commercials today. 
  • The Life of Bach

    The Life of Bach

    Episode 14 March 9, 2021

    Today we know him as one of the greatest and most influential composers, but that wasn’t always the case. Learn how a teenager became responsible for Bach’s revival, how is music changed from job to job, and even how he wound up in jail for nearly a month!
  • The life of Florence Price

    The life of Florence Price

    Episode 13 February 23, 2021

    Dr. Karen Walwyn discusses the life and music of Florence Price, the first woman African American composer to have a symphony played by a major orchestra in the United States.
  • The life of Strauss Jr. aka "The Waltz King"

    The life of Strauss Jr. aka "The Waltz King"

    Episode 9 December 29, 2020

    His music is celebrated today, especially around New Year's, and his waltzes are bound to put a smile on your face. Learn about Strauss Jr.'s life, his music, and a surprising answer he gave a New York reporter about his visit to Boston.
  • The life of Beethoven

    The life of Beethoven

    Episode 1 September 8, 2020

    Discover the life and works of one classical music's greatest composers! His life was full of groundbreaking music, but it was also tragic as he dealt with family problems and hearing loss. We explore the details of his life and listen to samples of his music, from his first composition to his final Symphony No. 9.
  • The Life and Music of Amy Beach, an American pioneer

    The Life and Music of Amy Beach, an American pioneer

    Episode 16 March 10, 2020

    She was America's first woman composer to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra and the first American composer fully educated in the United States. She was praised and recognized but her journey to success was an uphill battle with obstacles and challenges.
  • The life of Mozart

    The life of Mozart

    Episode 13 January 28, 2020

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life was kind of complicated. His childhood as a musical prodigy was filled with practicing, writing music, and performing for royalty throughout Europe. He later struggled at times finding suitable employment and wanted to find his own path. It was a life lived under the watchful eye of his father, Leopold Mozart, and cut short at the age of 35.
  • Alistair Coleman on writing music

    Alistair Coleman on writing music

    Episode 1 September 10, 2019

    Mozart and Beethoven were genius composers, but they wrote music very differently. Renowned young composer from Washington, Alistair Coleman, tells us what made Beethoven and Mozart different and describes his own music writing process.