Francesco Landini, also known as Francesco Landino, was the son of the painter, Jacopo del Casentino and was an Italian music composer who was born c. 1335. He was born in Fiesole, on the outskirts of Florence, Italy. Francesco Landini was the most praised and honored Italian composer of his time. He was also labeled as the most acclaimed composer of the fourteenth century. During his childhood he was known to have had a love for learning philosophy, astrology and music. Unfortunately, he was infected with smallpox and as a result he became blind.
Although being blind may have been a challenge, it still did not stop Francesco from following one of his dreams, which was learning music. He began to learn to play instruments such as the organ, which he later mastered. He also learned to play the lute, guitar and flute. Francesco had many talents. Not only did he play instruments, he built them as well. He was also an active poet and singer.
During this time, he worked under another Italian composer by the name of Jacopo da Bologna. Francesco Landini music was early music and more on the classical side. His music was said to have an easy flowing tune with a beautiful harmony. Some of his greatest works are Ecco la primavera, Muort’oramai, Cara mie Donna, Giunta vaga bilt , Giunta vaga bilt , Guard’una volta and that’s just to name a few. The works of Francesco Landini is Polyphonic music of the fourteenth century. His music was known to be very poetic. He was honored as a poet in both Latin and Italian. In 1364 in Venice, he was crowned as the winner of a poetical contest. He winning the contest had a lot to do with the way he played his songs as well. It was said that Francesco Landini played his songs so sweetly that no one had ever heard that type of harmony before. At least nine of his musical compositions are known to be settings of his own verses. He also wrote about one quarter of the surviving Italian Ars Nova secular music. Francesco Landini’s work was so great that he was named choirmaster at the church of St. Lorenzo in Florence until the day he died. He died on September 02, 1397 and was buried in the Florentine Church of San Lorenzo. Being that he was the greatest musician of his time, his tombstone has a picture of him holding an organ. Landini is and forever will be one of the most influential Italian composers in history. Another great Italian composer was a woman by the name of Barbara Strozzi, also known as Barbara Valle. She was born August 6, 1619 in Venice, Italy. She was the daughter of Isabella Garzoni and Giulio Strozzi. Her mother, who was also known as La Greghetta, was a servant of her father. Her father was a very well-known poet in Venice. Even though it is said that Barbara is his illegitimate child that still did not stop him from playing a part in her musical career. Barbara’s father is mostly responsible for her love of music. He started her in musical academies to help her to become a better singer. Once her father saw that she could really sing, he arranged for Francesco Cavalli, an opera composer, to become her teacher. With the help of her father on top of the assistance of the great composer Francesco Cavilli, Barbara developed an incredible singing voice. In 1637, Barbara’s father opened his own academy. Barbara had a great deal of talent and on top of that she was beautiful. All of those qualities helped attract people to come to her father’s academy. She was also smart and very intellectual, and therefore she was the one that presided over the meetings that took place at the academy. If her father would have never been involved in the musical activities of Venice, Barbara more than likely would have never been able to have a career as a composer. Barbara Strozzi became a composer in 1644 with the publication of a volume of madrigals. Within the time frame of twenty years, she ended up publishing eight collections of music. Unfortunately, tragedy struck for Barbara when her father died in 1652. Even though her father named her the sole beneficiary, she still didn’t gain much wealth when he died. It seems that her financial state wasn’t looking very promising so she published some books hoping it would bring her financial situation to a better place. However, it did the exact opposite and her finances stayed that way pretty much throughout the rest of her career. On the flip side, Barbara published many volumes of music, which showed that her music was well like and received. She also had performances at private concerts around the city. Barbara’s music was made during the early Baroque era. She pretty much mastered singing and therefore was named one of the best singers of her time. She knew how to play the lute but music was her first love. Barbara also wrote a lot of her music due to being challenged by members of the academy. When she would write, it was more of love poetry with a dash of teasing in the lyrics and was written for more of a female voice. By 1651, Barbara was a mother of four children. More than likely, at least three of her four children were fathered by a friend of her father, a man by the name of Giovanni Paolo Vidman. She never married, which was more of a choice for her. Sadly, after having been ill for at least a month, Barbara Strozzi died on November 11, 1677 in Padua, Italy. Barbara Strozzi is buried at Erimitani in Padua. When she died she did not have a will, but her son Giulio Pietro inherited everything. Barbara will always be remembered as she goes down in history to be one of the first women to have her music published in her own name. Louis Moreau Gottschalk was an American composer who became a phenomenal piano player. He was born May 8, 1829 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was born to a English German father by the name of Edward Gottschalk and a Creole mother by the name of Marie Francoise Aimee Gottschalk. Louis Gottschalk began learning how to play the piano at the age of four. By the time he was eleven years old, he had already gave a public debut at the St. Charles Hotel. Just two years later at the tender age of thirteen, he left the United States and sailed to Europe. Gottschalk chose Europe because realized that he would need some classical music training in order to become successful in music. He would end up spending most of his musical career outside of the United States. Once he settled in Europe, things did not go as planned. Conservatoire de Paris, a college of music and dance, rejected his application and therefore he was only able to access the musical institutions through family and friends. He had to study privately with two pianist by the name of Camille-Marie Stamaty and Karl Halle. Gottschalk was also fortunate enough to come in contact with two composers by the name of Frederic Chopin and Hector Berlioz. It didn’t take long for these two composers to recognize Gottschalk’s talent. Shortly after, they began to mentor him. They helped young Gottschalk with his first compositions for the orchestra. After doing musical performances all over Europe, Gottschalk made his debut appearance in New York in 1853. He ended up touring all over the United States and even made a trip to the West Indies and Cuba as well. He also spent many years in other parts of the Caribbean, where he wrote some of his best musical pieces. Louis Gottschalk became very known for his talent and work. He wrote two operas and many orchestral works that were more of romantic sentimental pieces, also known as salon music. Gottschalk’s music was so respected that he was offered $20,000 to tour under business man, P.T Barnum’s management. He declined the offer due to the fact that he preferred to tour on his own. In 1853, tragedy struck when Gottschalk’s father died. It was then he assumed responsibility of having to support his family. Following his father’s death he signed a contract with Publisher, William Hall issuing several pieces that he wrote. Gottschalk was finally able to find his audience and therefore was doing very well. However, it wasn’t long after enjoying his success that tragedy struck again. Gottschalk’s mother passed away four years after his father in 1857. After that, he was no longer obligated to care for his family financially. A few years after that, Gottschalk left the states after a scandal involving him having a relationship with a student at Oakland Female Seminary. He booked a tour that was in the Caribbean and stayed away from the states for about five years. While in Brazil, Gottschalk ended up contracting malaria. As he was recovering from the illness, an incident occurred when a student threw a sandbag and he was struck in the abdomen. Due to his injuries, in November of 1869, he collapsed while playing the piano. About three weeks later he died on December 18, 1869 in Brazil. Though he was in Brazil, his body was transported back to the United States and was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Tania Leіn was born May 14, 1943 in Havana, Cuba to her parents Leіn Mederos and Dora Ferran. She is one on the greatest Cuban composers and conductors of all time. This all started when she was a very young girl. It was her grandmother and her grandfather that brought the involvement of music to her attention. To show her they were serious about her learning music, her grandfather went out and brought a piano. It was then that Tiana began to learn how to play just at four years old. Even though she was a young girl, her grandmother still talked with her about artists such as Marian Anderson and Josephine Baker. What Tania didn’t know was she would eventually get to work with some of these artist later in her life. Tania always had people around her encouraging her to pursue a music career. At the age of nine, Tania’s teacher encouraged her to master the piano and eventually become a pianist. Even though she had dreams of becoming a musician she still had a backup plan. She attended Carlos Alfredo Peyrellade Conservatory of music and obtained her B.A and M.A. She eventually received the same degrees in the U.S. She also attended the school of commerce for her C.P.A, which she used to become an accountant at a hotel for a short time. Being a musician isn’t always promising so she wanted to have a few other things under her belt. Soon after she moved to Miami. Shortly after she got there, she realized that Miami did not have the right set of circumstances to get her where she needed in order to become a successful musician. A few days later she left to settle in New York. Unlike Miami, New York had many opportunities to get Tania started on the music scene. She would soon see that she made the right decision by making New York City her home. Tania got the chance to meet with New York City’s first African American principal dancer, Arthur Mitchell. Mitchell heard Tania playing and couldn’t believe his ears. He was so impressed that he asked her if she would like to work on a new project that he was working on, which was the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She took the offer without hesitation and would become the theatre’s first music director. Mitchell came up with the idea of him and Tania doing a collaboration. The collaboration would consist of Tania writing a piece and Mitchell doing the choreography. After working with Tania, Mitchell saw that she was capable and ready to write her first composition. Which she did, and she dedicated it to her grandmother. She went on to write an opera, Scourge of Hyacinths, which won the BMW prize in 1999 for best new opera. Not only did Tania compose that piece, she also conducted it as well. In that same year, she received an Honorary Doctorate from Colgate University. Tania has accomplished a lot over her lifetime. She has been honored for several of her achievements like Mad Women Festival Award in Music, Resident Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony, Latin Grammy nomination for best classical contemporary composition and ASCAP’s Victor Herbert Award. Tania is and always will be considered one of the most highly regarded composers and conductors of our time. Composer Edward Elzear Confrey also known as Zez was also known in music industry for many of his great pieces. He was born Apr 03, 1895 in Peru, IL. When Zez was only four years old he learned how to play the piano. He had such a passion for music that by the time he got in high school he had started his own dance band. He later on went to Chicago Musical College to study music. While in college, Zez supported himself by performing orchestras. He ended up going on small tours but unfortunately it didn’t last because of World War I. Even though music was his passion, he enlisted in the Navy. Even while in the military he still showed his music side by entertaining the sailors. Once he was discharged, he started working for a piano roll company as a pianist and roll editor. He would later be known as one of the best in business as a role editor. Zez music pieces were known to be a little “difficult” to learn, but he would also go on to write some pieces that would become well liked. For example, “Stumbling” and “Dizzy Fingers” are some of his most popular music. Those pieces are known to be in the classical as well jazz genre. By the late 1940’s Zez had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. although he was still able to write music it was hard for him to perform. Therefore, he completely stopped doing public appearances. Unfortunately, he died from the disease on November 22, 1971