Biographical Books of Great Composers and Musicians


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"When Bach and his family got together, they always started off with a chorale. But then, right after that, they did a "quodlibet," [the final variation in the Goldbergs] where each would make up the words, and the words apparently were very dirty--very bawdy. And I love that, because that shows that the ritual and the earthy are not so dissimilar--that everything is part of God. Everything. To come down to earth, this is part of us, too. If it's treated with respect and with sensitivity and we can also bring to earthly things all of the qualities that we can bring to spiritual things, then we can make a completeness out of our experience here on Earth. That's what I think the quodlibet is about." --Murray Perahia, on his love for the "Goldberg Variations" To read's interview with Murray Perahia, go to the following link: Interview, Murray Perahia


The popularity of Holst's "Planets" is unmistakable: it's one of the most-played works at concert halls, and its influence on contemporary soundtrack composers is profound. Check out's Get Started In feature to get background information and an audio tour of Holst's masterpiece. "The Planets":

"Trills, thrills, chills...and frills"

cover "The role of Queen Elisabeth [in "Roberto Devereux"] was probably the biggest challenge I faced in my career: 50 pounds of costumes, grotesque makeup, a role that was [vocally] very heavy for me and that I really had never tried out on any other stage. Every singer has in the back of her head two or three performances where she feels she accomplished everything she set out to do. And on the opening night of Devereux I turned to my mother and said, 'There! Show me somebody who can top that.' That was one of three times in my entire life that I ever felt that way."
--Beverly Sills describing the production that ultimately launched a series--presented as a trilogy--at NYC Opera in the 1970s. These legendary performances of Donizetti's three operas based on real-life Tudor queens have now been released on CD for the first time in a beautifully packaged box edition, "The Three Queens."
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Leonard Bernstein's daughter Jamie, about her Dad...

"There's nobody who does all the things together. There might be a good conductor over here, and a terrific composer over there, and a good communicator over there. But not all in one package."   --Leonard Bernstein's daughter Jamie, speaking to editor Thomas May on the legacy of a famous father. Read's complete interview:


"It's very important for me to reach as many people as possible with the message of music, of wonderful opera. It is a great honor for me to be able to take the music of the tenor to a great number of people and also to feel that perhaps I might just have introduced some people to this music. As for being remembered in history--well, above all, as I said before, I am an opera singer and, hopefully, this is how people will remember me, in the roles I perform best on stage."
-- Tenor Luciano Pavarotti on his recent efforts, including September's first Madison Square Garden concert in more than a decade.
Read's complete interview.

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Magazine Description...
Strings is written by and for players and teachers of bowed stringed instruments. Each issue features lively interviews with such luminaries as Itzhak Perlman, Edgar Meyer, and Yo-Yo Ma. Plus, it's filled with music to play, from long-forgotten pieces to new works.

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