“I promise you, children become what they are told they are.” The words of the first teacher to be awarded the National Medal of the Arts, Dorothy DeLay. Her violin students numbered in the hundreds, and they include some of music’s biggest names: Midori, Nigel Kennedy, Sarah Chang, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Anne Akiko Meyers, Gil Shaham and Itzhak Perlman. Read More
Virginia Woolf was lounging in her pajamas in bed one morning when her doorbell rang. A visitor? That was the last thing she expected that day. But, expected or not, there came the sounds of footsteps: through the foyer, up the staircase and down the hall -- a moment later into her room, and into her life, burst the composer, writer and suffragette Ethel Smyth. Read More
The early 20th century presented a series of uphill battles for women in music. For woman of color, they scaled mountains to compose, play and share their voices. It was a series of old locked doors, blatant racism and intolerance. While many in the white, male-dominated  music community  turned backs, refusing to listen, or even attempted to stop them before they Read More
Was Johannes Brahms as sweet and comforting as the lullaby that bears his name? Actually, as conductor Manfred Honeck told the New York Times, “There was nothing cozy about Brahms.” He never had students in the formal sense. Brahms’s manner was described as “not encouraging,” when younger composers would beg for his attentions. But Antonin Dvorak didn’t have to beg. Read More
Many of us admire our musical idols from afar - maybe through keepsakes like concert ticket stubs, autographs or posters taped to our walls. Marin Alsop had two posters up in her New York City bedroom growing up - one of the Beatles and the other of the man who inspired her to become a conductor - Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein ended up becoming more than the man on her Read More
Vivaldi’s "Spring" is one of the most recognizable, best loved works in the world and one of the best ways to celebrate the season. Vivaldi penned his famous quartet of concertos, The Four Seasons or Le quattro stagioni, between the late 1710s and early 1720s. Each concerto includes an accompanying sonnet of unknown origin (a classic case of “which came first – the Read More
Unlike his contemporaries, Britten did not devote much of his time to writing symphonies. It’s no wonder that when he *did* sit down to write his Spring Symphony, it resulted in a grand journey in 4 parts and 12 movements, harnessing the power of mixed chorus, boys’ choir, soprano, alto and tenor soloists and a massive orchestra including harp, tambourine and cow horn. Read More
Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel got a much needed breath of fresh air and a boost of musical inspiration from a year-long Italian trip in 1840. Mendelssohn-Hensel, her husband and their young son spent the entire year away from their home of Berlin and vacationing throughout Italy - stopping in Rome and Venice to take in the vast musical inspiration. Read More
The chamber music impresaria Toby Saks became a legend in the music life of the Pacific Northwest. She began her career in New York: she earned awards as a teenage cellist; she played in the New York Philharmonic in her 20s. She moved out west to join the faculty of the University of Washington School of Music, and soon gathered a group of classical music supporters to Read More
You’ve heard so much about the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach, but there were daughters, too. Bach was 23, and his wife Maria Barbara was 24, when the first of their children was born. They named her Catherina Dorothea. CD grew into a singer, and helped out in her father’s music work. Fifteen years passed, her mother died, her father remarried, and finally, CD Bach Read More
Barbara Strozzi changed the face of vocal music with her stunning and emotional song collections.  Born to a famous poet and librettist, she was encouraged to follow her artistic talents from an early age and received a musical education from other famous Italian composers.  Strozzi wasn’t afraid to experiment. She made a big name herself in the 17th century, Read More
Louise Farrenc inspired the world and demanded what she deserved - something we can all aspire to.  A musician, composer and teacher ahead of her time, she gained fame as an incredible performer, wrote award winning music and taught at the Paris conservatory for 30 years as the only woman on staff in the 19th century.  Read More
Symphony Tacoma’s Sarah Ioannides is making history. Her Arrival in Tacoma in 2014 as the orchestra’s first woman music director brought Symphony Tacoma into what its calling “the era of Sarah.” Her energetic work on and off the podium has powered Symphony Tacoma into partnerships and performances expanding access to students and audiences beyond the historic Pantages Read More
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