Edvard Armas Järnefelt
Photo: Armas Järnefelt Society
With acknowledgement to Armas Järnefelt Society & Finnish Music Information Centre for the use of this photo.
Born on August 14th, 1869 at Viipuri in Finland, but taking Swedish
nationality in 1910, Järnefelt studied piano (with Busoni) and composition at
the Helsinki Music Institute, before further studies in Berlin and at the Paris
Conservatoire (with Massenet).
He is remembered mainly as a conductor of opera, holding various posts in
Sweden and Finland with guest appearances throughout Europe. He was also
an authoritative interpreter of Sibelius, his brother-in-law, whose music would
frustratingly overshadow Järnefelt's creative spark. Wagner was a major
influence on much of his output, which includes solo songs, choral, orchestral,
piano and film music. He died on June 23rd, 1958 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Born in Glasgow, he studied with James Iliff at the Royal Academy of Music and
with the Swedish composer Ingvar Lidholm, in Stockholm. His works are regularly
broadcast and commissions have come from the BBC Scottish Symphony
Orchestra, the Edinburgh International Festival, the St. Magnus Festival and the
New Music Group of Scotland; much has been recorded. In recent years, he has
produced several large-scale works to critical acclaim: the ballet score Peter Pan,
A Glasgow Symphony, a chamber opera The Loving of Etain and various concerti.
A featured composer at the Park Lane Series, Purcell Room, International Viola
Congress and Bath International Guitar Festival, he performs with, and writes for,
the traditional folk music group Whistlebinkies.
He was the winner of the first British Composers' Awards (wind/brass section) in
December 2003 with his composition Kaleidoscope Fanfare.
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Born in Aix-en-Provence, France, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire with
Widor, d'Indy and Dukas. As Attaché at the French Legation in Brazil, he returned
to Paris in 1919 to become a member of 'Les Six', the group of French composers
who were notorious for their advanced and often shocking musical ideas. He
settled in California in 1940. His output, influenced by a varied career spent in
many parts of the world, includes operas, ballets, symphonies, other orchestral
works, concerti, chamber, vocal, choral, theatre, film and piano music.
'An Easy Piece For Winds' is a light-hearted work written for the amusement of
both audience and players alike.
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He studied composition and flute at Hull University. In 1995, he won the Gregynog
Composers' Award, in 2000, his When the Wind Blows, for violin and piano, was
selected for performance and recording in the UK and Eire Composition Platform,
and in 2002 he won the International Kodaly Institute's Composers' Competition
with Scena for string quartet. His wide range of numerous works is regularly
performed throughout the UK and overseas; many have been recorded, including
Symphony for Strings by the Opus 20 Ensemble. He is currently working on a
number of commissions and teaches the flute.
Charles Camille Saint-Saëns
He was born in Paris on October 9th, 1835. His father, a civil servant, died a few months later leaving him in the care of his mother and her aunt. These two women dedicated themselves to his upbringing and were careful to avoid any exploitation of his talent. His preliminary musical education (at the piano), undertaken by his great aunt, began when he was 2½ and he first began composing, aged 4. On the occasion of his debut as a 10 year old pianist in Paris, he offered to play any of Beethoven's Sonatas from memory as an encore.
From 1848, he studied composition and organ at the Paris Conservatoire where he met Bizet, a fellow student. After winning the 1851 Premier Prix for organ, he held important posts as organist at various churches in Paris and also taught piano at the Niedermeyer School, where Fauré was one of his pupils. His compositions exceed 300 and include operas, concertos, chamber music, orchestral, instrumental and choral works. It seems that composing was a pleasant pastime for him and he was capable of orchestrating for hours and conversing with friends at the same time.
He was also a writer of plays, poetry, reviews, essays on botany, a book on philosophy and even lectured on astronomy. In later life, he travelled widely to North and South America Europe, Africa and Asia playing mainly his piano concertos and conducting his orchestral works. He died in Algiers on December 16th, 1921.
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