Thelonious Monk - 14

When he was still a child Thelonious Monk taught himself how to play the piano and began working as a musician while still a teenager! He had a full-time job playing piano and writing music before he was 25 years old. His music defined the style known as be-bop and inspired many other musicians to follow in his footsteps. Born in North Carolina, his family moved to New York City, when he was six years old, into a neighborhood full of musicians (see if you can find Thelonius in the picture above). Thelonious also earned a Pulitzer Prize for his music! Here are just a few of his many hits: In Walked Bud 'Round Midnight Straight, No Chaser And If you really like Thelonius, an entire concert!

Rosephayne Powell-13

  Born in 1962,  Dr. Rosephayne Powell has become one of America's most prolific composers of choral music (music sung by choirs).  She is commissioned (paid) regularly to write new music for vocal ensembles (choirs) worldwide! Dr. Powell currently teaches music at Auburn University.  Here are some examples of her music: The Word Was With God Still I Rise Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child When We Sing The Cry Of Jeremiah (Narrated by Dr. Powell)

Edward "Duke" Ellington-12

  As a child, Edward Ellington was such a snazzy dresser that his friends started calling him "Duke," and that is how the rest of the world knows him today. He was born in Washington, D.C., in 1899 and was more interested in baseball than music!  Even so, Duke studied piano as a child, and by the age of 14, he was writing his own music --  at 18 he put together his first jazz band. His music is still popular today, and his orchestra continues to perform around the world. Even though his music is popularly labeled as "jazz," Duke called it "American Music."  Another interesting fact:  Duke is the first and only composer to appear on American money-the Washington D.C. quarter! Here are some of his most well-known works: Take The "A" Train Caravan (one of the best versions out there- quality isn't great) Better quality Satin Doll Sacred Music ( a large scale jazz cantata) more than an hour-long just liste

Scott Joplin - 11

He is the most famous composer you've never heard of -- Scott Joplin was born near the end of 1867( the actual date is unknown) in Northern Texas. His parents were formerly enslaved and gave Scott some of his earliest music lessons. Scott taught himself to play the piano while his mother cleaned the houses of wealthy people who owned pianos (the Joplins did not have a piano at home). Later in his life, he began to write music and became known as "The King Of Ragtime" because of the style of music he created. An opera, music for ballet, and more than 44 ragtime dances for the piano are just a part of the music Joplin wrote in his life. Great story about Scot Joplin from NPR Here are some of his most well-known compositions: The Entertainer Maple Leaf Rag The Strenuous Life Easy Winners Treemonisha- Scott Joplin's Opera!  In English!

Jennifer Higdon - 10

American composer Jennifer Higdon has earned a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy award! She is also a self-taught musician and did not study music with a teacher until she was in college. Ms. Higdon was born in New York City but lived in Atlanta for 10 years during her youth. Higdon has composed several pieces of music for The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Currently, she teaches music at The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where she wrote "Blue Cathedral" one of her most popular compositions. She recently picked up her third Grammy award for "Harp Concerto"! Blue Cathedral (link has been fixed) Percussion Concerto (this is a short excerpt, for the entire work click here ) - Grammy Award Winner! Violin Concerto (Pulitzer Prize Winner) Harp Concerto - part three "Joy Ride" (Grammy 2020)

Ludwig Van Beethoven-9

Born in Bonn, Germany in December of 1770 (Our home was still part of the British Empire)-- Beethoven re-defined what it meant to be a musician during his lifetime. At the time he was born, most musicians were in the employ of wealthy patrons who controlled what they created -- by the end of his life, Beethoven demonstrated that it was possible to create music that satisfied the composer and audiences would be happy to pay to hear it. His music is among some of the most well-known in the world. He wrote for voice, piano, orchestra, and many solo instruments. Listen to the following: Minuet in G Ninth Symphony (the theme you know begins at 1:06:30-it's over an hour of music!) Newly Completed 10th symphony using AI Rage Over A Lost Penny ( Humor from Beethoven) Beethoven Lives Upstairs (a great movie about Beethoven's life) Piano Sonata #31 in A-Flat (one of Mr. Montague's Favorites)

Composer of the week will continue in January.

Composer of the week will continue in January. We are preparing for the Winter concert. Listen to the music we discussed in class from August through November.  It's always available!