The Life of Isaac Albéniz

Isaac Albéniz often referred to as one of the most famous composers to hail from Spain. Isaac was born in 1860 in Camprodon, a town apart of Girona. Only living a short life, Albéniz lived to the age of 49 and died in 1909. He is best known for his piano works that are based on folk music idioms. Many of his pieces are notable for the classical guitar transcriptions that were later made.

A child prodigy, Albéniz first learned to play the piano at the age of one by his sister. By the age of four he performed for the first time. A couple of years later at age seven, he passed the entrance examination for piano at the Conservatoire de Paris, but unfortunately he was refused admission for being too young.

A popular myth describes his childhood as a bit of an exaggeration. It is said that at the age of twelve, Albéniz ran away from home and stowed away in a ship headed towards Buenos Aires. Continuing his nomadic lifestyle he found himself in Cuba, and then to the United States performing in New York and San Francisco, eventually returning back to Europe to give performances in Liverpool, London, and in Germany.

While not an accurate account of what actually happened, historians have determined that the story is partly true. He did in fact give concert performances in these places at that age, but he was more likely accompanied  by his father who was a customs official who traveled a lot for business. Historians discovered this by comparing Isaac’s concert dates and his father’s travel itinerary.

Throughout the rest of his career he studied under many composers, Guillermo Morphy, Franz Liszt, and Felip Pedrell to name a few. Touring all throughout Europe, Isaac lived in London and Paris for an amount of time. During this time while he was not performing at concerts, he wrote and composed musical comedies.

In 1900, Isaac was diagnosed with Bright’s disease a classification of kidney disease that ultimately cause his death in 1909. For his work within Paris and his impact within the classical music industry, the French government awarded him its highest honor, the Grand-Croix de la Légion d’honneur a few weeks before his death.

His most notable pieces include: Asturias (Leyenda), Granada, Sevilla, Cadiz, Cordoba, Cataluna, and the Tango in D. All of his personal papers are preserved among many institutions.

Erik Satie

Today Erik Satie is recognized as one of the best French composers. Historians believe that his work influenced various movements such as Surrealism and minimalism. Keep reading to learn more about this famous composer.

Early Life

Erik Satie was born on May 17, 1866, in Honfleur, France. Satie’s family moved to Paris when he was four years old; however, he returned to Honfleur after his mother died when he was six. He and his brother, Conrad, lived with their grandparents. During this time Satie began his first music lessons. After Satie’s grandmother died he and his brother returned to their father in Paris. At this point, Satie was 12 years old. Satie’s father eventually remarried a piano teacher. A year after returning to Paris, Satie gained admission to the Paris Conservatory. However, his teachers were unimpressed with his piano playing, so he had to leave the conservatory. He returned to the conservatory when he was 19, but still, he didn’t have any success. Although Satie’s teachers dismissed his playing ability, they did acknowledge that he had a talent for composition.

Publishing Career

In 1887 Satie moved to Montmartre and shortly after published his first compositions. While living in Montmartre, he met Claude Debussy. Later in Satie’s life, Debussy would take his Gymnopédies and transform them into orchestral works to help earn Satie recognition and money.

Cabaret and School

Satie began to work as a cabaret pianist in 1899. He didn’t particularly enjoy the music he played, but it was a steady source of income. Satie returned to school in 1905 to study counterpoint. The move surprised many of Satie’s friends, but he continued his studies for five years.


Over time many of Satie’s older pieces became popular. However, people tended to not pay as much attention to his newer work. As a result, Satie sought out younger artists who would appreciate his newer pieces. One such artist, Jean Cocteau, brought him into contact with artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Starting in 1919, Satie associated with the founder of Dada, Tristan Tzara and André Breton, the founder of Surrealism.

Final Years

Satie drank heavily throughout his life. This habit contributed to his death on July 1, 1925, at the age of 59. While alive Satie supposedly never had any of his friends visit his apartment. After he died his friends discovered numerous unpublished compositions as well as compositions that Satie thought he had lost.

7 Most Famous Classical Music Pieces

Many people say they don’t know anything about classical music or don’t enjoy it, but they also do not realize how often classical music is used in their everyday lives. Whether you realize it or not, when you watch a movie, see a commercial, or are walking around a public space, it’s likely that classical music is playing at some point. Nearly everyone recognizes some iconic classical music pieces that are continuously used in new forms of media, showing they never go out of style.

“Nutcracker Suite” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky

This song is so well known because it’s used in the the ballet The Nutcracker and often featured in Christmas movies or commercials. The song was used in Disney’s Fantasia and remains one of the most well-known classical songs ever.

“Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

This incredible piece lasts a total of around 15 minutes and has four movements. Mozart apparently wrote this piece when he was sick and had been commissioned to write “happy music.” The piece wasn’t released publicly until long after his death.

“In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg

This song was originally written for the Norwegian play, Peer Gynt. It has since become a classic and is used frequently in movies to show disorder (one example is in The Social Network).

“Love Theme” from Romeo and Juliet by Pyotr Tchaikovsky

“Love Theme” has been used time and time again in nearly every movie that deals with love. An interesting fact is that the flutes and horns that play throughout the song are actually supposed to symbolize Juliet and Romeo.

“Canon in D major” by Johann Pachelbel

A truly impressive (and challenging) song to play on the organ, “Canon in D major” is a delight to listen to. This song is also known as “Pachelbel’s Canon.” This piece of classical music wasn’t published until many years after Pachelbel’s death.

“Ride of the Valkyries” by Richard Wagner

Used in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, “Ride of the Valkyries” is a widely known classical piece. It took Wagner about 26 years to write this piece and it’s only part of a four section opera. It’s a favorite of professional orchestras for performing even today.

“Symphony #9” by Ludwig van Beethoven

More commonly known as “Ode to Joy” (originally a poem), this Beethoven song is one of the first children will learn to play on piano, though they only learn a small, simplified version of it. This symphony has remained popular throughout the years and likely will for a long time to come.

Paris Opéra Ballet Star Yvette Chauviré, Dies at 99

Having published two separate autobiographies in her life including Je Suis Ballerine and later Yvette Chauviré – Autobiographie, Yvette Chauvire has always been an extremely talented dancer who was many times favored by Serge Lifar, the choreographer of The Paris Ballet where she made her first en pointe steps into her phenomenally impressive career as a fantastical ballerina who not only took the stage, but demanded it.

Born on the 22nd of April back in the year 1917, Yvette took quickly to both the artistry and athleticism of ballet when she joined in on the Paris Opera Ballet at the age of thirteen after showcasing an extravagant performance in the L’Eventail de Jeanne at the age of twelve. Accepting the invitation that the Paris Opera Ballet extended to her at the extremely young age of thirteen after having seen the young Yvette in her element, she was soon the favorite dancer of many teachers and peers.

Moving up in her skill at an exceptional speed, Yvette Adrienne Chauvire soon became an outstanding principal dancer in the year 1937, before later on accomplishing the greatest feat in the ballet world of becoming an étoile not long after in 1941.
Studying with some of the best choreographers of her time including Victor Gsovsky and Boris Kniaseff, she has always been a fireball of incredible skill, bringing a sensational level of vibrancy and life to each and every single performance up until her heartbreaking death in OYvette Chauviréctober 19th of 2016 at the ripe old age of 99.

Leaving millions of loyal fans to cry and mourn in her absence, Yvette Chauvire changed the lives of countless people with her beautiful dancing. Described fondly as a “legend” by her common dance partner Rudolf Nureyev, Yvette has always shown tremendous attitude and ability and has managed to inspire perhaps billions of aspiring dancers through out her entirely vivacious career.

Today she rests peacefully after having engaged in one of the most exceptional ballet careers of the 20th century that has ever been documented. Yvette Chauvire remains a highly esteemed individual in the world of dance and will forever in her wake leave people of all backgrounds and ages who love the baller fondly remembering all which she has done to bring life and spirit into every flick and flare of the wonderful artistry and athleticism that makes up the soul of an incredible prima ballerina.