The master of miniature piano forms, Chopin was spurred on by his passion for the writer George Sand and a deep understanding of his Polish musical roots.
Few living composers have provoked more extreme reactions from their listeners than Harrison Birtwistle. Bayan Northcott reveals how the now octogenarian composer found a voice to be reckoned with.
Inspired by the land around him, Tasmanian-born Peter Sculthorpe was perhaps the first to capture the essence of Australia in Western-style classical music. Graeme Skinner examines the life of a great composer who came to define our sound for the rest of the world.
Rossini may have made his name and fortune as a master of comedy but a closer look at his life and work reveals a character of no little depth and darkness.
Amy Beach left a legacy of hugely accomplished works, but, asks Anthony Burton, did the social conventions of the era in which she was living stifle her true potential?
Whether echoing the Amazonian forest or tripping along to local songs and dances, Villa-Lobos’s music portrays his homeland’s spirit like no others.
Encouraged and championed by legendary musicians and composers, the versatile Arthur Bliss became one of the most revered figures of his generation.
Taking his inspiration from everything he discovered around him, Germany’s ultimate Romantic lavished his talents upon them, taking music into completely new territory, says Julian Haylock.
Music’s peerless scene painter, Claude Debussy often relied on his own imagination rather than first-hand experience, reflects Gerald Larner. Yet his ability to conjure up images and moods was little less than miraculous.
Was the composer as miserable as his doleful music might suggest, or was he merely reflecting the fashion for melancholy that gripped the Elizabethan age?
From childhood until his final years, Britten’s love of celebrating at Christmas time resulted in a wealth of festive works.
From humble beginnings in Armenia, and with little formal training, Aram Khachaturian went on to become one of the Soviet Union’s top composers – but success came at a price, says Daniel Jaffé.
Moody, paranoid and in later years creatively paralysed by depression, there was a dark side to Elgar that history tends to overlook.