Storyline: The fatherly fanner of the flame of musical his/story tries to undo his undeserved reputation as a jealous destroyer by being both innovator and preserver of the traditions of the Italian transliteration of the music of the spheres.

Gian Malipiero (Gian Francesco Malipiero) (1882-1973) - Italian composer and musicologist. Outer: Grandfather was an operatic composer, mother was a baroness. Had a wandering unhappy childhood, studied briefly at the Vienna Conservatory, then entered the Liceo Musicale in Venice, where he found and transcribed long-forgotten Italian masterpieces, which proved more beneficial to his education than his formal studies. Followed his teacher to Bologna where he received his diploma. Afterwards, he centered his musical activities in Venice for the next decade, with side-trips elsewhere. Gained notoriety by entering 5 of his pieces in a national musical competition under various pseudonyms and winning 4 of the 5 prizes. In 1910, he married the daughter of a Venetian painter, later divorced. Forced to flee with his family from his home in Asolo to Rome during WW I and stayed there until 1921, when his life became more stable. His second wife was an Englishwoman, Anna, as he continued pursuing affairs, which his wife accepted as price for being associated with his expressive talent. Settled permanently in Asolo and then was appointed Professor of Composition at the Parma Conservatory, resigning 3 years later. In the early 1930s, he took a teaching post at his alma mater, over which he became director at the end of the decade. Extremely prolific, albeit an uneven composer. Despite a fascination with classical Italian music, he denigrated earlier Italian opera, and set about revolutionizing it, working in an idiosyncratic surrealist mode. Destroyed all his pre-WW I operatic efforts. Also spent 16 years as a musicologist, making a complete edition of the works of Claudio Monteverdi (Ludwig van Beethoven). Lived in the Conservatory during WW II. Retired from his directorship in 1952, but continued teaching privately. Later in the decade, he became director of the Antonio Vivaldi (Ludwig van Beethoven) Institute, and undertook the publication of his works as well. Continued composing into old age, reworking earlier themes. Married 3 times, and died of a heart attack. Inner: Solitary and diffident, although cordial and sincere with friends. Deeply imbued with the his/story and tradition of Italian music. Instinctual composer, looking to both the archaic and the modern for inspiration. Unafraid of controversy, and determined to raise musical standards by re-honoring the past. Double-sided lifetime of celebrating both the old and new in Italian music as a dualistic revolutionary and keeper of its eternal flame. Antonio Salieri (1750-1825) - Italian composer. Outer: Son of a wealthy merchant. Learned from his brother. Orphaned and taken to Venice, and then afterwards to Vienna by his teacher. Produced his first opera at 20, and served as a substitute conductor at the Court Opera in Rome. Had 9 more operas produced over the next 4 years and succeeded his teacher as chamber composer and conductor of the Court Opera. Married Therese von Heffelsdorfer in his mid-20s, 8 children from the union. Continued composing operas, learned from, collaborated with and was helped by Christophe Gluck (Richard Wagner). Became court conductor in Vienna, holding that post from 1788 to 1824, although his duties did not include operas after 1790. His wife and son died in 1805 and 1807, and he never recovered from the loss. Unfairly rumored to have been the cause of Mozart’s death, through jealousy, although no proof exists of that claim. Later on was teacher to a further incarnation of him, Franz Schubert, as well as Ludwig van Beethoven (Van Morrison). Retired on a full salary a year before his death after 50 years of court service. His compositions were geared for the taste of the day, rather than the centuries. Inner: Methodical, active, religious, benevolent, irritable, but easily pacified and grateful. Being there lifetime of a present tense presence at the musical heart of the romantic era, so that his life touched the brilliance of that time, even if his skills did not, earning him the enmity of musical his/story rather than the plaudits for his true contributions as champion of genuine genius. Leonardo Leo (1694-1744) -Italian composer. Outer: From a family with some money. At the age of 9, he was admitted to the Conservatorio della Pieta dei Turchini in Naples and remained there for a dozen years, ultimately becoming 2nd master. Married a young girl of 17, at least 5 children from union. Medium height and handsome. Was already composing dramas in his teens, and completed his first opera by the time he was 20. Appointed organist of the Royal Chapel in his early 20s, and by his mid-20s, he had secured his reputation as a composer for the stage, particularly comic opera. Became first organist of the Royal Chapel and instructor in the Conservatorio di San Onofrio. Among his pupils were Giovanni Pergolesi (Wolfgang Mozart), as well as several other important musicians. Severe teacher, but beloved by his students. Continued to successfully compose operas, and in his late 40s, became first master of the Pieta dei Turchini. Found dead of apoplexy while seated at his harpsichord. Best known for his comic operas and sacred music. Inner: Dignified, urbane and serious. Death was a strong symbol of his absolute identification with his craft. Chained to the keyboard lifetime of both teaching and composing in the Italian mode, in his ongoing role as a secondary figure in the evolution of classical music of his ongoing native country. Jacobo Peri (1561-1633) - Italian composer. Outer: From a noble Florentine family. Known as “Il Zazzerino” for his long golden locks. Famed as a singer, he sang his own songs. Became principal director of music and musicians at the court of the de’ Medicis, and later conductor at the court of Ferrara. Was also a member of a circle of Renaissance poets and musicians who tried to revive the declamation of Greek drama. In the process, he is credited with composing the first opera, Dafne, with a libretto by an Italian poet, which was produced for several years at an annual festival, although the music was later lost. Later composed a similar work for the marriage of Henri IV (Franklin Roosevelt) of France to Marie de’ Medicis (Sara Roosevelt), to similar successful effect. Continued his collaborative efforts with recitives, working with Claudio Monteverdi (Ludwig van Beethoven), among others. Inner: There-at-the-creation lifetime of being well-born and working with some of the dominant musical personalities of the day, a pattern he would continue in all his lives in this series, while serving as proud poppa to the birth of Italian opera. Leo II (?-683) - Sicilian pope. Outer: From a Sicilian family, with his life largely unrecorded. Came to Rome and rose through the church hierachy to be elected pope in 681, although he was not consecrated for nearly a year and a half, because of political concerns surrounding the Byzantine court in Constantinople and its need to have a strong say-so in Roman elections. For the previous century, popes had to pay a tax to the imperial treasury when they were consecrated, which held up his own confirmation. Validated the acts of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, which condemned the Monophysites, who saw Jesus in terms of one body, rather than a human and divine one. Wrote to the western leaders to subscribe to the decree, while also condemning his predecessor Honorius I for not being active in opposing the heresy. Maintained control over the archbishops who wished to have the same privileges as the patriarchs, while also abolishing the tax they had to pay when they received their pallia, or symbolic vestments. Transferred many of the relics hidden in the catacombs to a church he built to receive them to protect them from Lombard depradations. Perfected the melodies of the Gregorian chant and also wrote some new hymns. Canonized after his death, with June 28th as his feast day. Inner: Seen as both studious and learned. En-chanting lifetime of making his greatest contribution to the papacy in the musical rather than the spiritual sphere, per his future pursuit of the sounds of the spheres as his ultimate sense of the on-high.


Storyline: The political poly-maestro alternates between the extremes of wealth and poverty for his foundations in order to play with his two-sided sense of superiority and inferiority in the service of his many talents of self-expression.

Luchino Visconti (Count Don Luchino Visconti di Modrone) (1906-1976) - Italian filmmaker. Outer: Born into a powerful aristocratic Milanese family, known from Renaissance times on down. Able to trace himself back to the Emperor Charlemagne (Napoleon). Mother was an amateur musician. Had a privileged upbringing, indulging in his tastes for music & art, and breeding horses in a world that was virtually feudal in its remove from everyday life. Throughout childhood, his father engaged performers at their private theater. Studied cello for 10 years, otherwise did not pursue any discipline. Did military service, but aside from working as a set designer for a play, he did not seriously pursue a career until he was 30. Joined Jean Renoir in Paris as a costume designer and assistant director. Flirted with Communist ideology, despite his aristocratic mien, and remained committed to it over the ensuing years. Went briefly to Hollywood, but did not like the environment there. In his mid-30s, he began his career as a director with Ossessione in 1942, which caused the Fascist authorities in Italy to mutilate the film because of its realistic portrayal of the proletariat, while it heralded the advent of the Italian neo-realist movement. His succeeding works were more decorative and elaborate, celebrating his artistic vision, as he developed an operatic grand cinema style more in keeping with his immediate preceding artistic lives. Although his work was intermittent, he had a loyal following. In addition to film, he was also an innovative theater and opera director and was credited with the development of Maria Callas as a great international opera star. His favorite theme was the moral disintegration of a family, which he explored in several of his later works. A lifelong bachelor and homophile, while always at a slight disconnect from life because of his unusual retrofeudal upbringing. Died from influenza and a cardiac ailment. Inner: Aristocratic, political, with a sure sense of his own aesthetic power. Searcher for cinematic truths, as a moralist looking down from his high perch. Transformative lifetime of incarnating in a completely opposite familial milieu from his previous existence, in order to lead a more leisurely life as an artist, and allow his talents to mature without financial pressure. Guiseppe Verdi (1813-1901) - Italian opera composer. Outer: Son of an illiterate and impoverished tavern-keeper and grocer. Had a difficult childhood because of poverty, which scarred and hardened him for the rest of his life, but showed early musical talent and was given support by a merchant/musician. Began composing as a teenager and continued his studies, but was turned down for a musical directorship because of clerical politics. Strongly anti-clergy ever after. Ultimately got the position anyway and in his early 20s, married his patron’s daughter, Margherita Barezzi. After his first successful opera, both his wife and daughter and son died, and he despairingly vowed never to write again. However, he soon changed his mind, and became a pan-European celebrity with his next 3 operas, Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata. Wrote for the Parisian operatic stage, and had his works performed all over the continent, including Russia. In his mid-40s, he married his mistress, Giuseppina Strepponi, a retired opera singer, who felt herself unworthy of him, after scandalizing Italy by their intimate relationship beforehand. Settled with her in Sant’Angelo, where he spent the rest of his life. Working in a divided Italy, he became a cultural patriotic purveyor of union, inspiring Viva Verdi graffiti and reluctantly taking a seat in the first Italian Parliament as a deputy, at the behest of political leader Camillo Cavour, resigning in 1865. Continued his prolific output, although eventually became disgusted with politics, preferring his domestic life, his garden and his animals. Supervised productions around the continent, and composing his prolific outflow to the end of his long life, finding a spark in later life in the composer Arrigo Boito, his opposite in nature, who helped him write his comic masterpiece Falstaff, when he was near 80. Never recovered from the death of his wife in 1897, despite showing a grieving fortitude in the wake of it. Died of a massive stroke, and the entire nation mourned his passing, with 30,000 lining the streets of Milan to see his funeral procession. Viewed as a preeminent figure. Inner: Highly conscientious craftsman, with a temperamental desire to make his will known. Obstinate, inflexible, extremely determined, with a concern for the practical rather than the theoretical. Honest, just, reserved, rugged and masculine. Hypersensitive to criticism, never lost the imprint of his peasant stock. Unforgiving in dealings with everyone, including poor receptions for his pieces. Despised La Scala Opera House for its one rejection of him. Verity-imbued lifetime of searching for truth through music, making it an outlet for his considerable emotional being, and a healant for the scars of poverty of his self-perceived unjust entry into this world. Niccolo Jommelli (1714-1774) - Italian composer. Outer: Father was a prosperous linen merchant. Along with three sisters, he had a brother who became a Dominican monk. Entered the Conservatorio de’ Poveri di Gesu Cristo at 16, but soon transferred to the Conservatorio della Pieta de’ Turchini. Strikingly handsome as a youth, although he grew corpulent as he got older. Began composing ballets and cantatatas before producing his first opera in his early 20s under an assumed name for fear of public rejection, which was unfounded. Went to Rome in his mid-20s, and then to Bologna, before being appointed director of the Scuola degl’ Incurabili. Triumphs followed, and he became an intimate friend of Pietro Metastasio (Federico Fellini). Returned to Rome, where he was appointed 2nd choirmaster of St. Peter’s. 4 years later, he accepted the position of Kappelmeister at Stuttgart, spending 15 years at the court of Wurttemberg. Returned to Naples when the ducal opera was disbanded. His last several operas were ill-received, and he suffered an attack of apoplexy. Recovered to write a celebratory cantata, and his last, and best-known work, Miserere. Composed nearly 60 operas, and because of his innovations, was known as the Italian Gluck (Richard Wagner). Suffered a stroke in 1771, which partially paralyzed him, and died three years later, although continued working until life’s end. One of the first composers to realize the dramatic possibilities of the sung word. Inner: Innovative, but highly sensitive to rejection. Gracious, well-mannered. Bridge lifetime of transliterating his artistic skills to the stage, only to suffer the dramatic emotionality of that grand venue of spectacle, in an attempt to open up his own hypersensitive interior. Andrea del Verrocchio (Andrea da Michele di Francesco de’ Cioni) (1435-1488) - Italian painter, sculptor, goldsmith and musician. Outer: Illegitimate son of a brick and tile mason who later became a tax collector. His father worked at the de’ Medici court, before he opened his own workshop in Venice. Began his career as a goldsmith in the workshop of Giulio Verrochi, from whom he took his name, while he may have had his first training under Donatello (Henri Matisse). Like his sire, he never married. His workshop became the center for training for many of the young artists of Florence, including Leonardo da Vinci (Gordon Parks). Particularly concerned with the rendering of movement and the depiction of detail, although his sense of form was somewhat flat and linear. Multi-skilled, he probably got the least satisfaction from painting, and gave it up, when he realized Leonardo was far his superior. Known as a virtuoso metalworker, as well as a superb sculptor, goldsmith and bronze-caster. Also skilled in working with precious metals and jewels, as well as designing costumes, pageants and banners. In addition to his other disciplines, he was an accomplished musician, as well. Ran a large shop, and had a steady stream of commissions in all those arenas, so that he was forever working on one project or another. Many of his paintings have been lost, but his sculpture, which was his primary means of expression, has survived. His final and perhaps greatest work, an equestrian monument of a prominent condottiere of the time, took his last ten years, although he did not live long enough to see it publicly displayed. Served as a leading figure of the early Renaissance, as a teacher as well as a craftsman. Inner: Industrious, ingenious and highly intelligent. Multi-expression lifetime of working basically in the frozen music of sculpture, while exploring all the art-forms open to him, in a nonstop flow of dazzling creativity.


Storyline: The multi-talented trickster comes to the realization that his interior needs balancing in order to lead a full, productive life, and uses the art of film to re-explore his dolce vita in an attempt to redress his inconsistencies in go-rounds past.

Federico Fellini (1920-1993) - Italian filmmaker. Outer: Son of a traveling coffee and grocery speciality salesman who wanted him to be a lawyer, although he only showed a talent for drawing in school. One brother and one sister. The events of his early life are muddled because of his continual desire to reinvent himself. Grew up in a port and resort city, in a provincial, middle-class and religious atmosphere. Claimed he ran away from boarding school at 7 to join a circus, but was brought back by the police, although the story was fabricated in order to explain why circuses were an enduring passion of his. Attended a succession of religious schools, then lived an indolent, aimless existence as a teenager doing mischievous pranks. 5’11”. Entered the Univ. of Rome law school, but never attended classes, using his student status to avoid the draft. Worked briefly as a police and court reporter, with the hopes of becoming a famous journalist, then joined a traveling vaudeville troupe, writing gags and performing utility tasks, which drew him into his ultimate milieu. Saved from the war when his medical records were destroyed in a bombing, while writing radio and film scripts. Hid in Rome’s slums from German Occupation troops, and in 1943, married actress Giulietta Masina, who starred in many of his films, and exerted a considerable influence on him. Drew caricatures for American soldiers during the post-WW II occupation in an arcade, and used his cartooning skills later on to draw characters and scenes for all his films. Co-wrote a Roberto Rossellini documentary, and began his illustrious film career under the auspices of that master. After working as a screenwriter and assistant director, he began his directorial career in the beginning of the 1950s. Although his first film was a failure, he showed his grasp of the medium with his 2nd production, and soon had an international reputation, which he augmented with each succeeding film. Wrote all his own scripts, usually with a pair of dialogue writers, and supervised every detail of the entire product, right down to the final editing. His masterpieces include La Strada, which made his wife an international star, 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita. Used actor Marcello Mastroianni as his alter ego in the latter two. A perfectionist, he repeatedly re-shot many scenes, often taking two years to complete a film, while keeping his producers at bay when he was at work. Acted like a ringmaster on his sets, usually wearing a black wide-brimmed hat, while encouraging semi-chaotic environments. Began working in color in the mid-60s, but his later works, with a few exceptions, did not match his earlier oeuvre. Disliked both actors and scripts, which showed in his subsequent work, where he preferred nonprofessionals and more free-form to his films. Won 4 best foreign film Oscars, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992. A rich exuberance and strong visual imagery marked all his efforts, in a distinctive career that stretched over 4 decades. Suffered a stroke, then had a fatal one, while choking on a piece of mozzarella cheese. Inner: Powerful egotist, with a predilection for putting his interior and earlier experiences on film. Watched his own films over and over, while rarely looking at other people’s work, feeling he was an artist, while most of the people in the industry, were merely commercial technicians. Felt when he wasn’t making movies, he wasn’t alive. Rich sense of humor and fun. Unique stylist with a great desire to celebrate himself as a visual feast-maker, creating an eponymous filmic adjective ‘Felliniesque,’ for the opulent eye candy of his imagination. Felt his work was far more the heir of painting than literature. Fascinated by guilt and alienation, as well as the eternal dance twixt men and women. Bridge lifetime of moving from music to the frozen melodies of the screen, while working out his own interior and memories through the magic of celluloid. Goacchino Rossini (1792-1868) - Italian operatic composer. Outer: Son of a town trumpeter and musician who was also an inspector of the public slaughter-house. Mother had a fine singing voice, although no formal training. Father was an enthusiastic supporter of the French revolution, which earned him several jail terms. Taught his wife operatic roles and the two worked in smaller theaters in Italy. Son lived with his grandmother and aunt, while his parents became strolling players. Good-looking, dubbed an angel in his youth. Apprenticed to a blacksmith, he lived with a butcher’s family, and again was a blacksmith apprentice, but also received an erratic but decent musical foundation. Gifted as a singer, he found work in churches and theaters. At 14, he was elected to the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna. Also became a student at the Liceo Musicale, working sporadically as chorus master and cembalist. Began his career as an operatic composer at 18, he achieved early success, which exempted him from military service. His first operas were comic, culminating in The Barber of Seville, although its initial performance was a fiasco. Its eventual success, however, placed him in the first rank of opera composers at the age of 24, which he augmented with his further works. At the age of 30, he married a beautiful and much sought after Spanish soprano, Isabella Colbran, 7 years his senior, whom he had known at school, and who had been mistress to the Spanish king. One son from union, although the couple was later estranged. Offered the direction of the Theater Italien in Paris, and lived there the next 3 years, writing his last 3 operas. Nominated as Composer to the King and Inspector General of Singing for all the royal institutions, during which time his mother died, to his everlasting grief. Won a contract for 5 operas to be composed over the next 10 years, but overwork on the first one, William Tell, forced him to go back to Bologna to recuperate, and while there his patron, Charles X (Charles Pathe), was dethroned. Returned to Paris without his wife, intending a brief stay, but remained 6 years, socializing and traveling with Paris as his base, while writing none of the operas he had contracted for, although he received his promised annuity after winning litigation. Had an amicable separation from his spouse and took up with a demi-mondaine with a checkered past, who was much more solicitous of his failing health than his first wife had been. In his mid-50s, he married her after his initial mate’s death a decade later. Returned to Bologna and did some traveling, while deciding never to write another opera for the Parisians, although was shocked when the Theatre Italien was destroyed by fire and his good friend, its director, was killed. The following year his father died, and he was consumed once again with overwhelming loss. Sold his house in Bologna and left for Naples, but returned later that year to supervise the Liceo Musicale there, as well as to resume composing, despite avowals not to, completing a sacred piece that was later performed in Paris to great success. His health began to rapidly deteriorate, and he went to Paris for a serious urethral operation. During the revolutionary troubles of 1848, he was suspected of being a reactionary and was hooted on his own balcony, causing him to leave Bologna and never return again except to briefly dispose of his property. His health worsened, and he became a total hypochondriac, finally leaving Italy for Paris, where he revived through hearty public approbation. Lived in an apartment and villa which he rarely left for the last 13 years of his life, although the two became gathering places for the intellectual and artistic elite of Paris. Continued writing minor pieces, and after suffering a complication of diseases culminating in a septic condition following an operation, he died at the age of 76, after having written very little the last 39 years of his life. Extremely superstitious about Fridays and 13s, he died on a Friday 13th. Inner: Exuberant personality, witty, with a love of a good joke. Exhibited a rich sense of humor and irony in all he did. Buoyant but sinkable lifetime of falling prey to a nervous constitution and his own emotional sensitivity to acceptance and rejection, despite a genuine artistic talent and a rich, albeit, insecure, interior. Pietro Metastasio (Pietro Antonio Domenico Bonaventura Trapassi) (1698-1782) - Italian librettist. Outer: Father was in the Papal service. Showed an early talent for improvisation and singing. Taken under the wing of a wealthy patron and received a good education, writing his first tragedy as young teenager. Took minor orders and entered the Academia dell’Arcadia to complete his education, and the following year gained employment in a law office, where his wedding poem gave him entrance to aristocratic circles, and he began frequenting important salons where his work was deeply appreciated, allowing him to abandon the law to write for the stage. Had 3 Mariannas in his life, who consecutively nurtured and supported him, although a break with the first, a singer, Marianna Bulgarelli and the succeeding public savaging of each other between the two, gave him an impetus for self-imposed exile. Never married, despite one brief engagement. Received an invitation from Karl VI (Michael Eisner), Emperor of Austria, to the imperial court in 1730, where he lived the rest of his life in an Italophile atmosphere, becoming poet laureate. Wrote music and plays, which were adapted by a host of composers. Became the most celebrated librettist in Europe of the 18th century. When Maria Theresa (Queen Victoria) ascended the throne, his extravagant theatricals received less royal indulgence, and he gradually went into decline, particularly after the death of the 2nd Marianna, an Italian noblewoman at the court. The 3rd Marianna was his consolation in old age. Highly prolific throughout his life, and an inveterate letter writer. Inner: Good humored, well-socialized, and an adept verbal recorder of the human condition. Bridge lifetime of moving from art to opera, through the written word, while experiencing the same phenomenon of decline through a combination of health and changing public tastes. Jacobo Tintoretto (Jacobo Robusti) (1518-1594) - Italian artist. Outer: Son of a dyer. Probably got his nickname as little dyer (tintoretto), from apprenticing his father. Initially worked for furniture painters, and apprenticed at a studio where craft rather than commercialization was practiced. Largely self-taught in the mannerist style, having intensely studied the works of his countrymen, although he was considered an outsider because of his birth and education. Originally a poor draftsman, he practiced over and over again off of jointed manikins in his studio, until he was able to draw figures in any pose and from any conceivable angle. Also observed dissections and all manner of artist to pick up techniques. Burly and bearded, with a dry sense of humor, he married Faustina Episcopi, a noblewoman, and had 8 children, 4 of whom, including a daughter Maria, became painters in his studio. Lived in a pleasant house bought by his father-in-law. Loved music, and his home was always full of it. Played the lute, while encouraging his children to assay various instruments. Most of his career was associated with Venice. Extremely prolific, with a surety of his own individual sense of style. Often treated religious subjects with a coarse realism, showing a trickster sense of irreligiosity, since he was more attuned to mythology and its storytelling potential. Fond of nude figures, with a great charm to them, and also a life-like portraitist. Enjoyed widespread acclaim, and established his own studio, which continued on into the seventeenth century, through the efforts of his surviving family. Thought little of money, occasionally working for the mere cost of materials, often making him undercut other painters’ prices. His ‘Paradise’ in the Palazzo Ducale is the largest picture in existence on canvas. Inner: Aggressively self-promotive, but largely cheerful and serene. Strong sense of the dramatic and light & color. Also won the nickname ‘Il Furioso’ for the speed in which he executed his compositions, as well as the violent manner in which he spread paint on a surface, often forsaking detail for the overall decorative design. Uneven in his overall oeuvre, earning the judgment of being an artist capable of bronze, silver or gold. Long lifetime of painting operatically, with a sense of being the righteous outsider, and a facility for speed that undermined any sense of consistency, the latter being the bane of many of the lives in this series.


Storyline: The melodramatic maestro draws all the drama he can from his lives in order to give operatic reflection to himself as his greatest creation.

Francis Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola) (1939) - American filmmaker and entrepreneur. Outer: Father was first flute of the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini. Mother once acted in Italian films, and her progenitor was a playwright and songwriter. His sister Talia Shire also became an actress. Named after director and actor Francis Ford (Edward Norton), although he dropped his middle name in his late 30s. Suffered polio as a youth, spending a year in bed, his left side paralyzed, as symbol of his own stunted feminine. Made his first amateur film at 10. Studied drama at Hofstra College and wrote the book and lyrics for several school musicals, before going on to film school at UCLA. While there, he made a soft-core film for commercial release, and also began writing screenplays. 6’, and wide-bodied. Worked in various capacities with producer Roger Corman, who gave many young filmmakers their initial opportunity, and was rewarded with a low-budget horror film, shot in Ireland. In his mid-20s, he married Eleanor Neal, the film’s set director that year, 3 children from union, including director Sofia Coppola, and filmmaker, Roman, as well as another son, Gian-Carlo, who would die in a boating accident in 1986 at the age of 22. Collaborated on scripts and productions for the next 4 years, before shooting his M.F.A. thesis at UCLA as a successful commercial film. Given a chance to direct an expensive Hollywood musical, which failed, as did his next film. At the age of 30, with the backing of Warner Bros., he established American Zoetrope, a small production facility in a San Francisco warehouse. After only one film, with George Lucas, he found himself on the verge of bankruptcy, with a huge debt, establishing a lifelong pattern of crisis, triumph and crisis. His next screenplay was a success, and the following film, virtually operatic in its scope of the multigenerational tale of a mafioso family, The Godfather, was a phenomenal success, as was its sequel. Also re-edited it for television as The Godfather Saga, giving it chronological order, and later in his career made a 3rd sequel, which did not have the power of the first two. Began a San Francisco magazine which lasted only a year, then mortgaged everything he had for a Vietnam drama based on a Joseph Conrad (Jerzy Kosinski) novel, Apocalypse Now, which was as disastrous in the making as the war itself, with a bloated budget, a destructive typhoon and the heart attack of one of its stars, although 20 years later, it would receive its due from critics and audience alike. Decided to expand American Zoetrope, but two musically-oriented films subsequently failed. Wound up declaring bankruptcy 3 times, most recently in 1992. Spent the 1980s directing smaller films, showing a sure touch in them all, although several were pure hackwork. In the beginning of the 1990s, he went back to large-scale productions, which soured him on conventional filmmaking, making him feel stuck, and forcing him into a decade long break, while concentrating on other enterprises. Continued to bankroll projects, including a successful Napa Valley winery and Belize resort, which would eventually give him enough money for his own undertakings again. The primo vintage of his winery was called Rubicon, after the Roman river. Expanded his vineyards, with the desire to make his Niebaum-Coppola Estate, the premier wine house in the country, utilizing the same sense of grandiosity and acquisition to build on his burgeoning sense of expertise. Restored its original estate, and added a resort hotel to his real estate portfolio. In the late 1990s, he revived Zoetrope, produced a literary magazine and an on-line writing service, while winning a megamillion lawsuit against Warner Bros. In 2007, he was elevated to Officer of the French Legion of Honor, in honor of his service to the culture of that country. At the same time, he returned to filmmaking, with projects closer to his heart. Despite a tendency towards overly dramatic rises and falls, as well as later life health problems, he has remained consistently one of the outstanding filmmakers of his generation, with a sweeping visual style and a stirring sense of the theatrical. Inner: Large appetite for drama, as well as Italian food. Has often used family members in his films. Great desire to be in control, along with a facility for falling into out-of-control situations through a constant need for over-dramatization of the elements of his life. Claims his own revolutionary status, understanding the potential power of new technologies long before the rest of Hollywood did. Melodramatic lifetime of fusing his artistic and operatic sensibilities into the medium that accommodates both, while playing his private life to the invisible strings of a similar sense of rise’n’fall and triumph and tragedy. Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) - Italian composer. Outer: From a line of ecclesiastical musicians who had a modest reputation in Italy. Mother was devoted to him, and encouraged his musical interests. His father was an organist who died when he was a child. Grew up very poor, but pursued a musical education from what was locally available to him. Began composing in his teens, and entered Milan Conservatory through the beneficence of an affluent relative as well as a grant from the Queen of Italy. Handsome and dapper, always dressed meticulously. First drew attention to himself with a piece written for his final exam at the Conservatory. With the encouragement of his teacher, opera composer Amilcare Ponichelli, he wrote a one-act opera in a competition sponsored by a publishing house. Although he didn’t win, he elicited the interest of Guiseppe Verdi’s (Luchino Visconti) publisher who commissioned a new opera from him, and, in essence, gave him a continuous publisher. Fell in love with Elvira Gemignani, the wife of a local merchant, and had a secret, and then open affair with her, but never officially married. One son from the union, legitimatized after his death. Although 5 years passed before his new opera was presented, it was a failure, largely due to its libretto. His next opera, Manon Lescaut, another 4 years in the coming, was worth the wait, and it was produced under the direction of Arturo Toscanini. His next work, in 1896, La Boheme, was inspired in spirit by his bohemian days as a music student, and benefited from two excellent librettists, although its acceptance as an opera standard was gradual, rather than immediate. Because he had written on the same theme, the work caused a lifelong feud with fellow composer Ruggerio Leoncavallo (Michael Cimino). Continued his successes, although one of his best-loved works, Madama Butterfly, performed in 1904, was initially hissed off the stage, largely because of its subject matter and a long 2nd act, and he was forced to rework it. When it was presented anew it became one of the most popular operas ever, and remains a standard. With the death of one of his librettists, he spent the rest of his career unsuccessfully looking for suitable partners for each of his conceptions. Became quite wealthy, and eventually died of cancer of the throat, after suffering great pain at life’s end. Inner: Lovable and unassuming, with a sense of melancholy from the childhood loss of his father that he carried his entire life. Practical joker, profane conversationalist, musically sentimental. Loved hunting and driving high-powered cars at maximum speed, as well as good food and wine. His humble beginnings probably made for a relative humility, a rarity among masters of the operatic stage. Had a great melodic charm along with an excellent sense of theater and drama, with an innate ability to know what would work on the stage. Modest sentimentalist, with an all-consuming passion for his work and the theater. Home life was secondary to his professional career. Hard-driving lifetime of honing his intuitive dramatic skills to become the pre-eminent operatic composer of his time, putting his life into his work, rather than making his life a living opera as he would the next time around. Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801) - Italian composer. Outer: Son of poor working people, mother was a laundress. Studied at the Conservatori Santa Maria di Loreto, and while there began to compose operas and oratorios. First opera was successfully produced in Naples when he was 23. Lived alternately between Rome and Naples for the next 8 years, then elsewhere in Italy. Married twice, to Constanza Suffi in 1777, and then Gaetana Pallante. Both wives died in childbirth, the latter in 1796. In his late 30s, he was invited by the Empress of Russia, Catherine II (Indira Gandhi) to become court composer, and while living in St. Petersburg, had a creative outpouring in every form of composition. Spent a year in Vienna as Court Kapellmeister, and wrote his most celebrated work, Il matrimonio segreto, by which he is best remembered. Returned to Naples in his mid-40s after the death of the Austrian emperor, and was appointed maestro di cappella to the King of Naples and teacher to his daughters. When the French republican army entered Naples, he expressed great enthusiasm but was imprisoned and condemned to death. Finally pardoned on condition he leave Naples. Broken-hearted, he started to return to St. Petersburg, but died when he reached Venice. Believed to have been poisoned. An extremely prolific composer, particularly in the field of comedy. All his works are characterized by merriment and great wit. Conventional as an opera composer, much more singular as an orchestral writer. Inner: Great wit and humor, with a sense of delicacy and charm to his works. Suave, cultured, highly gregarious, jolly and enormously fat. Melodramatic lifetime of working in all genres, only to be undone by a political naivete that would make him more socially conscious in succeeding lives. Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674) - Italian composer. Outer: Not much known of his early life. Father was a barrel-maker. Became a singer, then organist at the Cathedral of Tivoli. Raised to the level of maestro at Assissi during his late teens and early 20s, and then took a position with the Church of S. Apollinaire in Rome, where he probably spent the rest of his life. In 1637, he was ordained a priest. Contributed substantially to the development of the recitative and the sacred oratorio, as one of its earlier creators, as well as the cantata, bringing to those forms a deep sense of the dramatic and a good storytelling imagination. Exerted strong influence through his teaching, composing and as a Church musician, right at a time when the secular was about to overtake the sacred as the basic repository for classical music. Although he never left Italy, his teaching would influence the rest of the western part of the continent. Inner: Foundation lifetime of bringing his dramatic sensibilities to sacred music, working through narrative rather than the stage in order to give himself a dramatic base that he would later expand in his succeeding lives in this series. Julius I (Julius) (?-352) - Italian pope. Outer: From a Roman background. After a vacancy of four months, he was chosen pope in 337, right before the death of Constantine I (Mohandas Gandhi), who had made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire several decades earlier, and had moved its capital from Rome to Constantinople. Tried to diplomatically mediate the Arian controversy, in which the prophet Jesus was not accorded the same divine status as God the Father. Its major proponent, Arius (Werner Herzog), an Egyptian presbyter, had died just prior to his being raised to the pontificate, and the belief had been overwhelmingly adopted by the Germanic tribes of the Roman empire. Supported the Alexandrian bishop Athanasius in his struggles against the patriarch of Constantinople, and in so doing, championed the primacy of the Roman See as the ultimate voice of Christian orthodoxy, via a synod he convened in Rome in 341. In the battles between the eastern and western church that ensued, a further council was called at Sardica a year or two later, and Athanasius was deposed by the bishops of the former at a synod summoned by the Roman co-emperors, in which any deposed bishop was give the right to appeal to the Pope in Rome, as the ultimate in spiritual authority. Built several basilicas and churches, and is credited with a Roman resurgence of Christian faith, during a time when the Eternal City had lost much of its cachet. Given credit for the date of December 25th as the official birthday of Jesus Christ, while catalogues of feast days of the saints came into use during his pontificate. Canonized after his death, with April 12th as his feast day. Inner: Strong and decisive, with good diplomatic skills, and an unwavering belief in the primacy of the See of Rome as the final word in all Christian disputes. Uptempo conductor lifetime of exercising his considerable will in the spiritual realm, before many a go-round of transliterating his grandiose sense of self into the equally transcendent sphere of sacred and secular music.


Storyline: The authoritarian baton-twirler employs his sharp-honed aesthetic in the service of classicism as an electromagnetic teacher and magnetic personality of the musical muses to the world-at-large.

Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) - Italian conductor. Outer: Father was a tailor and an ardent follower of the patriot Guiseppe Garibaldi (Antonio Banderas). Entered the Parma Conservatory at the age of 9 and studied both composition and cello, winning a scholarship in the latter. Graduated at 18 with honors, as well as seeing the publication of a few of his youthful compositions. Short and slight, but intense. Engaged as a cellist for the opera in Rio de Janeiro in 1886, but the 2nd night, the conductor was hissed off the stand, and management desperately importuned him to step in after he had impressed his fellow musicians with his musical knowledge. Won an ovation and his legendary career was underway. Released from his contract as a cellist and conducted the rest of the season there. In the same year he was engaged to conduct at Turin, and for the next dozen years, led orchestras all over Italy. Married Carla de Martini at 30, 3 children from the union, including daughter Wanda who eventually wed the pianist Vladimir Horowitz. Also had a number of mistresses, including a seven year affair in his 60s with Ada Colleone Mainardi, a married pianist some 30 years his junior. Despite all, he and his spouse remained wed until her death in 1951. . Appointed artistic director and chief conductor at the prestigious La Scala in Milan. Remained there for 5 years, and then returned for 2 more before going to America to become chief conductor of the Italian and French repertoire at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC. Expanded into symphonic music, before returning to Italy in the middle of WW I to offer his services to the government, conducting charity performances. After the war, he toured America with a hand-picked orchestra, then reopened La Scala the following year. Returned to America as a symphonic conductor, working first at the New York Philharmonic, and then becoming principal conductor when it merged with the New York Symphony orchestra, spending part of the next 8 seasons with the combined ensembles. Also made a triumphal tour of Europe during that time and conducted at Bayreuth and several other European cities, as well as Tel Aviv, inaugurating that orchestra. On Christmas night in 1937, he conducted the first concert with the new National Broadcast Company Symphony and entered the media age, to become the most famous podiumaestro in the world. Refused to conduct in Italy as well as Germany during the World War because of his contempt for both Fascism and Naziism, and his recordings were subsequently banned in both countries. For the next 16 and a half years, he would be indelibly associated in the public mind through these broadcasts, finally retiring at the age of 87 when his memory began failing him, and he began to falter during performances. His last concert, he dropped the baton to the floor and walked offstage, actualizing his great fear of losing his prodigious musical memory. In his final delerium, he was still giving his musician’s instruction. Died of a cerebral stroke in his sleep just short of his 90th birthday, after having imprinted himself on the mass public conscience as the archetype of the domineering maestro, with absolute control over his medium. Had a spectacular send-off with tens of thousands thronging in front of La Scala to see his funeral procession. Given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, although after his death his reputation would suffer, with some seeing him as an athlete on the podium, rather than a deep musical thinker. Inner: Highly controlling and authoritarian with a great ability to galvanize his musicians into his literal interpretations of all he conducted. Notoriously critical of his musicians during rehearsals, with a gentler attitude towards singers. Despite his stance as an overpowering symbol of highbrow culture, he also had a lowbrow love of wrestling and boxing on television. Globe-spanning lifetime of setting musical standards for the entire world through the amplified power of both broadcasting and the authoritarian magnetism of his personal presence upon the podium. Maria Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842) - Italian conductor and composer. Outer: Son of a cembalist who was his first teacher. Later studied with various musicians, and was given a stipend by the Tuscan ruler to continue his education. Began composing as a teenager, doing two stage pieces, but otherwise confined himself to church music and contrapuntal works. At 20, he began creating theater pieces, but because of an initial cool reception, resumed his studies, before gaining success with his next half-dozen stage works, one of which was an earlier failure. Went to London in his mid-20s and produced two operas, while holding the post of composer to the king. The following year, he went to Paris, then returned to Italy before making Paris his permanent base in 1788. After Italian opera was established in Paris, he became a conductor, inserting his own pieces in the works of others. Brought forth a new dramatic style which revolutionized the French stage, with richer orchestral combinations, and a heightened dramatic effect, which were imitated by many French composers. Had difficulty with his librettists in several of his own works, but continued his prolific composing in addition to his other musical duties. Made Inspector at the new Paris Conservatoire, but clashed with the Emperor Napoleon by not only disagreeing with him on musical matters but also directly speaking his mind. In his mid-30s, he made an unhappy marriage to Anne Tourette, a Frenchwoman, 3 children survived him from the union. Spent several years in a gloomy and depressed state, then gladly left Paris to write for the Viennese. When the French occupied Vienna, he disgustedly returned to Paris, turning down an offer to organize and conduct Napoleon’s soirees in the occupied city. After failing to win the Emperor’s favor with an opera, he retired to a French prince’s chateau and studied botany, breaking his hiatus from composing when some friends asked him to write some church music. Its success prompted him to concentrate on that form, although he continued to write operas. In his mid-50s, while visiting London, he wrote several pieces for the Philharmonic Society, but then lost his position at the Conservatoire because of Napoleon’s fall, but was appointed superintendent of the Royal Chapel. The following year, 1815, with the Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy, he was made professor of composition at the Conservatoire and director 5 years later, a position he held for two decades before retiring at the age of 81. Continued composing in that post and also wrote several theoretical treatises that proved more important than his music. In his prolific and long career, he wrote over 300 pieces, although their formality and frigidity retained far more popularity in Germany than in France, despite his long residence there. Notoriously sharp-tongued, and more than willing to stand up for his belief. Stranger-in-a-strange-land lifetime of expanding his musical knowledge and seeing that the power of his music lay more in his powerful personality and feel for his art than his skills as a composer, which induced him to return as a conductor and world-teacher his next time around. Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) - Italian composer and singing teacher. Outer: Father owned a book shop. Began his musical education at the music conservatory in Naples, and spent a decade there. When he was in his early 20s, he composed his first opera, “Agrippina,” (Unity Mitford) about the mother of the Roman tyrant Nero (Adolf Hitler). Spent the early part of his career in Naples, both composing and teaching singing at two musical schools there. In 1720, he began collaborating with Pietro Metastasio (Federico Fellini) a poet who became the most celebrated librettist of the 18th century, and the two had a long and productive partnerships. Moved to Venice in 1726, and it became his base, while also working in Vienna, Dresden and London, where he failed in trying to set up a rival opera company to Georg Handel’s (Ang Lee). Able to garner the support of aristocratic patrons, while his true reputation would lie in his teaching of singing. Famously spent six years with the castrato Cafarelli (Justin Bieber) going over only one page which covered all the basics, much to the latter’s impatience, before pronouncing him the greatest singer of his time. Also taught several other castrati, including Carlo Farinelli (Michael Jackson), the most famous angel-voiced vocalist of his era. Took on a young Joseph Haydn (G.W. Pabst) as a valet, who resented his methods, but ultimately greatly appreciated his teaching abilities. Returned to Naples in 1758 and spent the rest of his life there in reduced circumstances, since his teaching style was, by now, considered old-fashioned. Penned his last opera, which was a failure, in his mid-70s, and retired the next year. Lost his German pension and descended into poverty, so that when he died, a subscription concert was needed to pay his burial expenses. Many singers and musicians performed at his funeral, giving his accomplishments one final musical accolade. Composed some four dozen operas, as well as miscellaneous pieces, which were more geared towards the tastes of his times than the ages. Inner: Temperamental disciplinarian, but high-spirited. Fluent in French, German and English, as well as his native Italian. Witty and well-read, and far better remembered as a teacher than a composer. Taskmaster lifetime of serving as a memorable maestro for a host of brilliant singers and musicians, in his ongoing self-appointed role as a primary teacher of his many different eras of classical music


Storyline: The perennially politically incorrect podium-meister is forced to eat cultural crow despite his transcendental abilities at turning concert-halls into churches of the music of the spheres .

Wilhelm Furtwangler (1886-1954) - German conductor. Outer: From a prominent family. His father was a professor of archaeology, while his mother was painter. Brother Philipp became a mathematician. Given a good musical education from an early age, during which time he fell in love with the works of Ludwig van Beethoven (Van Morrison), and maintained that infatuation his entire life. From his late teens, he was a theater conductor, first in Zurich and then in Germany. Tall, gangling, slightly awkward, far more of a spiritual than physical leader, who learned how to elicit the absolute best from his musicians through a complete knowledge of his orchestras and music. From 1915 to 1920, he led the opera in Mannheim, then became an orchestral conductor in the early 1920s. For 8 years, he was associated with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, while also leading the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, with the position of principal conductor of the latter. In addition, he visited England, beginning in the mid-1920s, and was a highly successful guest maestro with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, before he achieved world-wide recognition for his talents. Married in his late 30s to Zita Lund, and again in his late 50s, to Elizabeth Ackermann. 5 children from his two unions. Appeared frequently at the Bayreuth and Salzburg festivals starting in the 1930s. With the rise of the Nazis, he resigned his post briefly as conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic in protest over the exclusion of Paul Hindemith’s works, but continued to work in both Berlin and Vienna throughout the war. When he was appointed musical director of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony, on the recommendation of Arturo Toscanini, who later despised him for his politics, he was forced to withdraw because of the vehement protests of American anti-Nazi groups. After WW II, he was exonerated of pro-Nazi activity, when it was established that he did much to protect Jewish musicians. Nevertheless, he was viewed with suspicion in the United States, and in 1949 a pact that would have made him conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was canceled. Too respected to be banned, he was made leader of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1952 for life and died 2 years later. Conducted as if he were a priest giving benediction, eliciting sublime responses from his musicians. Did some composing, but his lasting influence was through his metaphysical mastery of his musical charge. Inner: Had an innate ability to turn a concert-hall into a church. Never took the Nazis seriously, and thought art could be separate from politics, a lesson he once again woefully learned to the contrary. Woefully inarticulate, letting his music speak for itself. Compromised lifetime of mastery of the art of conducting, giving both musicians and audience a true glimpse into the heavenly potential of the arts, while once again, having his career overshadowed by his projected politics. Ludwig Spohr (1784-1859) - German conductor. Outer: Son of a physician who played the flute, mother was a pianist and singer. Spent his childhood in a musical environment. Highly precocious, he began playing the violin at the age of 5, and composing for that instrument as well. Studied with various teachers, as well as learned from texts and scores by himself to make up for his deficiencies. Had an athletic build, while his hands were of exceptional strength and size. Toured briefly, then appealed to the Duke of Brunswick to become a member of his band. The duke, on accepting him, also defrayed the expenses of his further education. At 18, he toured Russia with his violin teacher, returned to Brunswick and established a pattern for the next several decades of touring, composing and conducting. In his early 30s, he married a harpist, Dorette Scheidler, and toured Germany with her, 4 children from the romantic union. Commissioned to write an opera which was successful, and the same year conducted the first music festival given in Germany. Considered the first modern conductor. From 1817 on, he used a baton, probably the first conductor to do so, and is credited with the invention of letters and numbers in musical scores for reference during rehearsal. Tall, with a dignified stage presence. Continued composing operas and conducting them, scoring a phenomenal success in England, which he would repeat each time he visited the British Isles. In 1822, he was appointed Hofkapellmeister to the Elector of Hesse-Kassel for life. After his first wife died, he married a pianist in his early 50s. Championed the cause of the highly controversial composer Richard Wagner (Werner Herzog). His radical political sympathies during the revolutionary period of 1848 caused considerable strain with his benefactor, and when he took a vacation without permission, he was sued by the Elector’s theater. His last years saw a decline in his creative energies, and in 1857, he was pensioned against his will, and also broke his arm, which prevented him from violin playing. Gave his last public performance the year before his death. Wrote his autobiography, and composed orchestral works, concertos, operas and chamber works, among his varied output. Inner: A romantic at heart, whose talent at composition was superficially pleasing and therefore highly popular in his day. his real talent lay in his playing and conducting. Straightforward, sincere with a childlike sense of purity and great musical integrity. Uncompromised lifetime of giving foundation to the art of conducting, while following the courage of his political convictions at the expense of his later career. Pietro Locatelli (1695-1764) - Italian violinist. Outer: Educated at Basilica S. Maria Maggiore, he was appointed 3rd violinist there at the age of 15. Probably studied briefly with Arcangelo Corelli (Gerard Mortier) in Rome the following year, and then spent the next decade there, composing and completing his studies. May have been married and widowed while in Rome as well. Began his career as a traveling virtuoso in his late 20s, first in Italy and then in Germany, showing both an ostentatious sense of dress and a regal sense of his own self-worth. Settled in Amsterdam in his mid-30s, and spent the rest of his life there. Probably chose Amsterdam, because it supported music publishing as well as instrumental works rather than opera, and he wanted to protect his interests as a musical publisher, since he was granted the privilege of printing his own music. Established his reputation as both a composer and a player, and led a comfortable independent existence, without having to seek patronage. Gave public concerts in his own house and had a large collection of instruments. Only taught amateurs, and held tightly to his own secrets of play. Published his own works prolifically, although much of it became outmoded, and lived quietly, as a bachelor, although probably had a relationship with his avaricious housekeeper. Died without leaving a will. Considered the greatest violin technician of his century, and could be called the father of violin virtuosity. Inner: Extremely knowledgeable about music, with s great desire to control all aspects of his life. Authoritative lifetime of exerting total dominion over his own affairs, to the point of musical isolation, in order to have his art completely support him and give him the creative freedom to explore his vast fund of musical knowledge, before entwining himself with larger political forces in his succeeding go-rounds to test the boundaries of his own ethic of self-control.


Storyline: The posturing power-monger exercises complete control over his artistic domains, and despite continually running up against the political realities of his times, manages to make his unpleasant presence in the pursuit of beautiful music divisively known.

Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) - German conductor. Outer: Family was of Greek origin. Father was a chief surgeon and amateur musician who pushed both his sons towards music. Gave his first public performance at 5, and wanted to be a conductor from the first time he saw Arturo Toscanini. Fanatically ambitious from childhood on. Studied at a musical academy in Vienna and took courses in philosophy and music his/story at the Univ. of Vienna. Made his conducting debut at 20 with a student orchestra and launched his professional career a month later. Acted as impresario for his own debut, hired the Salzburg Mozarteum orchestra, for whom his father played the clarinet and sent an invitation to the impresario of Ulm Opera House, who gave him the opportunity to replace its ailing conductor. Technologically inclined, including staging and lighting, he got his chance to flex his skills at that provincial house, while assisting composer Richard Strauss and Toscanini at rehearsals. Never shy about identifying with power, he joined the Nazi Party as soon as Adolf Hitler usurped the government in 1933. Youngest municipal director in Germany, although later claimed naivete over the Nazis. Took up zen and yoga to help his nervous and mental strain, although was unwilling to stand up to the Nazis, as fellow conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler had done, and was used by them, causing a total breach in their post-war relationship. In 1938, he married Elmy Holgeroef, a singer, before divorcing two years later, then in 1942, he wed Anita Gueterman, an industrial heiress who was 1/4 Jewish, 2 daughters from the union. Expelled from the Nazi party, although information about him during the war years is often contradictory. Fled to Italy in 1944 and remained there. After the war, he was reinstated as conductor and cleared by the Allied Denazification Committee, after being unable to officially conduct publicly. Did continual battle with Furtwangler, waiting until his death in 1954 to claim the Berlin Philharmonic, which was the most noted orchestra in the world at the time. Made director for life of that prestigious institution. In the 1950s, he began filming his musical presentations, and became known as the general musical director of Europe. After divorcing his 2nd wife in 1958, he wed Eliette Mouret, a French fashion model soon afterwards, 2 children from the union. Had continued successes mixing media technology with music. Suffered a stroke on the podium and fell, although recovered. Made more than 800 recordings, selling over 100,000,000 copies. Became extremely wealthy, owning several houses, a plane, cars and a yacht, and despite his personality defects, he was an extremely dedicated artist. Died of a heart attack. Inner: Cold, calculating autocrat, genuinely unpleasant. Extremely self-obsessed perfectionist. Saw himself as an instrument of God to bring beauty to the world. Believed in reincarnation. Power-tripping lifetime of trying to integrate an ugly personality with a masterful sense of aesthetics. Gasparo Spontini (1774-1851) - Italian opera composer and conductor. Outer: From a peasant family. At 16, his parents took him to Naples, where he entered the Conservatorio della Pieta de’ Turcini. 5 years later, he had his first opera performed, after establishing himself with some church music. After composing several more operas, he went to Paris in his late 20s, and had one success followed by several hastily written failures. Permanently made his name with La Vestale, which, despite much intrigue by the Paris Conservatoire against producing it, was finally offered in his early 30s to wide popular acclaim, cementing his continent-wide reputation. Won the support of the Empress Josephine (Estee Lauder), and in turn won over the Paris public. Made conductor of the Italien Opera in Paris in 1810, improving standards and giving the first performance of Wolfgang Mozart’s Don Giovanni in its original form. After complaints about his greed and inefficiency, he was dismissed from his post. The king of Prussia was deeply impressed with his operas and he was made Kapellmeister and general director of music at Berlin in 1819. Despite royal protection, he had an extremely stormy career because of his competitive, autocratic personality. After several successes, his jealousy and refusal to conduct too many works other than his own made him very unpopular, as did his desire for absolute musical control. Failed to complete several operas he had promised, while the musical world of Berlin was sharply divided over him, with an equal amount of vociferous detractors as supporters. When his kingly benefactor died in 1840, he quickly fell from grace with the public. Hissed from the podium the following year and several months later was dismissed. Despite being given liberal benefits and his full salary, he entered a claim for an additional princely sum. Tried and convicted of lese majesty, although the charge was later remitted. His inefficient and selfish administration of the Berlin Royal Opera did great harm to its popularity and prestige. Despite all the controversy surrounding him, he won many honors during his lifetime, including investiture as a Papal Count. During his last year, he traveled to Italy and then to Paris, where he conducted a performance of La Vestale prepared by composer Richard Wagner, before drifting off into deafness and depression. In his last years, he established schools and other institutions and left all of his property to the poor of his native town of Majolati and nearby Jesi. Inner: Autocratic, egocentric, highly competitive and unable to work with others. Grave, pedantic, and morbidly sensitive to public opinion. Had a great love of grandiosity, and looked like a general conducting an army on the podium. Power-tripping lifetime of suffering for his overweening ambition and displaced view of himself, with an isolated ending of good works to try to temper a go-round dedicated wholly to his own considerable ambition. Francesco Veracini (1690-1768) - Italian violinist. Outer: From a family of excellent musicians. Grandfather was a violin teacher, and his uncle was both a composer and violinist, who taught him so well, he needed no further instruction. At 9, his grandfather took him to Rome for a year, then he returned home for a decade, perfecting his playing while studying musical theory. Took his first journey to Germany at 21 to play a composition in honor of the coronation of HRE Karl VI (Michael Eisner), then moved to London several years later, making his resoundingly successful debut there, although the British public much preferred his playing to his composing. Afterwards, he played first violinist at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, then had the patronage of the Elector of Saxony for 5 years in Dresden. After being tricked by a rival violinist on a sight-reading challenge, he tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a top floor window, but survived with a broken leg, which caused a lifelong limp. Traveled afterwards, writing operas in London, before returning to his native Florence, then re-established himself in London in his early 50s, staying for 4 years. Returned to Florence, and became a forgotten figure, living and dying quietly there in reduced circumstances. Had great power, sweep and boldness as a musician, as well as a monstrous ego, proclaiming, “”one God and one Veracini.” Wrote mostly solo pieces to show off his own virtuosity. Inner: Arrogant, conceited, intolerant and extremely self-confident. Known as capo pazzo - “fool head.” Unable to settle anywhere because of his jealous and overbearing nature. Self-defeating lifetime of curtailing his immense talent with a colossal ego that ultimately doomed him to obscurity, necessitating an expansion of his musical abilities to complement his ambitions.


Storyline: The one-shot wonder combines brains, brawn and a highly developed aesthetic to produce one masterpiece, before allowing his creative life to fritter away through his inability to learn from his mistakes.

Michael Cimino (1939-2016) - American filmmaker. Outer: Probably shaved several years off his birthdate, claiming to have been born in 1943, although the dates of his academic degrees indicate otherwise. Son of a well-to-do music publisher. Enjoyed a privileged upbringing, and attended exclusive private schools but was fascinated by kids from tough neighborhoods, and hung out with them whenever he could. Studied graphic arts at Michigan State, while editing the school’s satirical paper. Was also a competitive weightlifter in college. 5’5”, and solidly built. Received his BA from Yale in 1961, and earned an MFA degree at the same institution, studying painting, architecture and art his/story. Following a stint in the Army Reserves, he went to NYC where he trained in acting and the ballet and worked as an editing apprentice for a documentary production house, before becoming a successful director of TV commercials. Moved to Hollywood and began collaborating on screenplays before making his directorial debut with a successful Clint Eastwood vehicle, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot in 1974. His next effort was an epic, operatic view of the Vietnam War called The Deer Hunter, which won Best Picture and Director awards among its 5 Oscars in 1978, and was hailed as a masterpiece. His following work, Heaven’s Gate, became a Hollywood legend of self-indulgent excess, one of the most expensive flops up until that time, with enumerable problems, a budget that tripled in cost overruns, and a structureless, plotless framework that ran over 3 hours. Despite its beauty and flashes of brilliance, it was immediately withdrawn and re-released in an abbreviated version, but its failure sounded a death-knell for his larger ambitions, and gave him the reputation of an out-of-control director. Didn’t get another film assignment for 5 years, and though he continued with his career as a co-producer, as well as a director, the artistic heart of his earlier films were no longer evident, and his efforts were far more pedestrian. Plastic surgery also made him virtually unrecognizable. In 2001, he published a novel, “Big Jane,” while his career after the turn of the century, largely remained in turn-around. Died peacefully in his own bed at home. Directed 8 films all told. Inner: Self-involved, highly aloof, demanding formality from those he worked with. Career curiously paralleled that of Francis Coppola, without the ability to rebound, probably because of a lack of ability for true self-examination. Roller coaster lifetime of a spectacular early success and then relegation as a Hollywood also-ran, because of an inability to truly see who was staring back at him from his own mirror. Ruggerio Leoncavallo (1858-1919) - Italian composer. Outer: Son of a magistrate. Studied piano privately and then was admitted to Naples Conservatory, where he continued his education in that instrument, learning harmony and composition as well. Graduated at 18 with the diploma of maestro. His first opera, Chatterton, based on the life of a suicided prodigy, was accepted for production in Bologna, but the impresario absconded with the funds for it. Because of his own desperate financial condition, he was forced to play accompaniments at cafe concerts, traveling around Europe as well as Egypt, where he got caught in an insurrection and had to ride for his life. Conceived a trilogy on the Italian Renaissance and wrote the libretto for the first part, which was accepted, and then completed the music within a year. After waiting 3 years for the opera to be produced, he sought out a rival house, for which he wrote his masterpiece, I Pagliacci. After its successful production, he had his first two delayed operas produced, although he did not complete the remainder of the trilogy. After an earlier bohemian life in Paris, he composed La Boheme, which was never produced, and caused a lifelong feud with Giacomo Puccini (Francis Coppola), who scored a far more resounding success with his version. Toured the United States with a special opera company in his late 40s, and continued writing for the rest of his life, although all his subsequent work was second-rate. Wrote all his own librettos. Inner: One-shot lifetime of a fitful helter-skelter start, which forced him to do much travel, broadening his sense of his/story and place, so that he could settle comfortably into his career, in direct contrast to his next existence, in which his spectacular start would overshadow the rest of his working life, although once again, only produced one work of lasting value. Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) - Italian operatic composer. Outer: Father was a weaver who became a pawnbroker. Apprenticed to an architect, but showed no interest in the field. Studied at the Naples Conservatory and the Liceo Filarmonico in Bologna. His parents opposed his musical career, and wanted him to be a teacher, so he enlisted in the Austrian army and began composing in his leisure time, completing his first opera in his early 20s. The success of his 4th opera allowed him to be released from military service, and he pursued a highly prolific career, winning renown all over Europe. In his early 30s, he married Virginia Vasseli, a 16 year old, in a happy union, 3 children from it, but all died young. His wife died from cholera. His career was supported by the impresario of the La Scala opera house. In his thirties, he hit his stride, producing his best-known work, Lucia di Lammermoor. In all produced some 65 operas and operettas, composing very quickly and facilely, in one case completing an operetta in 9 days, and in another finishing an entire act in a couple of hours. In his late 30s, he was appointed professor of counterpoint at the Real Collegio di Musica in Naples, and 2 years later was made director of that school. When one of his works was prohibited from production by the censor, he went to Paris and had it produced under another name. Began suffering from intense headaches, melancholia and hallucinations. Had a paralytic stroke in his mid-40s, was confined to a mental institution and eventually returned to his home city to die. Noted mostly for his abilities as a melodic composer, written for the skills of his singers, rather than the longlasting dramaturgy of his operas. Too facile, prolific and careless in his 60 operas, going for quantity most of the time rather than quality. Influenced by Goacchino Rossini (Federico Fellini) early in his career, although without that master’s enduring style. Inner: Paralysis at life’s end may have been a bodily attempt to underline an underlying artistic rigidity in merely channeling his prolific output rather than focusing himself on his higher capabilities. Self-crippling lifetime, as usual, of producing one masterpiece, among a host of far less memorable works, in a consistent display of inconsistency that has marked all his recent creative lives.


Storyline: The artistic adept shows himself to be quite deft at whatever discipline he undertakes, whether it be the artistic or the political, or padding his pockets with the remunerative rewards of his remunerative rewards of his skilled business acumen.
Sir Alan Parker (1944) - English filmmaker, producer and actor. Outer: Mother was a dressmaker, father was a house painter. Grew up in a housing project, and remained defiantly working-class his entire life. Began his professional life as an advertising copywriter, before moving up to commercial scripts for TV during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1966, he married Annie Inglis, 3 sons and a daughter from the union, which ended in divorce in 1992. Married Lisa Moran, a producer afterwards. Two of his sons, Alexander and Jake, would work on his various projects, including composing scores for his films. Wrote for the prestigious Collett Dinenson Pearce (CDP) advertising agency in London, where he directed several award-winning commercials, before trying his hand at film/writing, working in conjunction with producer David Puttnam, a former photographer’s agent. His first effort was the script for a preteen romance, Melody, in 1971, which led to film direction, following TV commercials and shorts for the BBC. Had his breakthrough feature with Midnight Express in 1978, about an American caught in a Turkish prison for drug dealing. His collaboration with writer/director Oliver Stone on the film, however, would lead to a lifelong antagonism twixt the two. Many of his works would have downbeat endings, per his own view of the larger world. Fame, two years later, about the pursuit of saidsame from a youthful perspective of 8 high school teenagers would spawn a popular American TV series. His signature films would be offbeat musicals, including Bugsy Malone, which had an all-children’s cast, as well as the Pink Floyd film The Wall and Evita, the story of Argentinean populist, Evita Peron. In addition, he conducted the score for Jaws 3-D, and has directed several music videos. Knighted in 2002, he is also a founding member of the Director’s Guild of Great Britain. Has received numerous awards, as well as nominations for America and Britain’s most prestigious accolades. Lectures at film schools around the world, and has appeared in small roles in several of his films. Also a cartoonist and author, to round out his dabbling in a host of media, in his deliberate expansion from his previous fields of expertise. Inner: Largely pessimistic, with a great need to exercise great control over all his creations. Well-orchestrated lifetime of switching his milieu from pure music, to the far more encompassing realm of film, while retaining his affection for the letter ‘P, as a cognomen initial, and still exhibiting a longheld need for personal power, whatever the realm he chooses to make his own. Ignaz Paderewski (1860-1941) - Polish pianist, composer and statesman. Outer: Father was an administrator of estates. Mother was a professor’s daughter who died shortly after her son’s birth, both parents very very musical. Composed his first piece when he was 6, although his early teachers were mediocre and did not inspire him. His poor initial training probably curtailed his later playing, despite his immense popularity. Entered the Warsaw Musical Institute at 12, and graduated 6 years later, after which he became a piano teacher there. Earlier had toured Russia with a fellow student, which was a complete failure. Wound up ill and penniless, but his father saw in a dream that his son was in trouble and sent him money to come home. In his late teens, he married Antonina Korsak, a piano student, although his wife died in childbirth a year later. Went to Berlin to study, then quit his position to continue his education there. Several years later, he went to Vienna to study piano and remained for 3 years, composing, with one side trip to Poland. Began his career as a virtuoso pianist in Vienna, and quickly established himself as a master of that instrument, winning acclaim in Paris, London and later New York. Undertook a schedule of extensive touring all over the world, although it reduced his time for composing to the summers, which he spent in France and then Switzerland. In his late 30s, he married Helena Gorska, a baroness and bought a Swiss villa, which became his permanent residence. At the turn of the century, he completed his first opera, based on a Polish novel, and for the next decade, he composed prolifically, most notably a symphony describing in musical terms the misfortunes of the Polish people. Became the personification of Polish patriotism after a rousing speech in Cracow, and his villa served as a center for Polish patriots. Considered the richest living musician by the time of WW I. With the advent of that conflict, he turned his entire attention and fortune to the plight of Poland, and was looked on as a spiritual leader of the country. Made personal appeals in all his concerts in the U.S. during the war, and it was largely through his efforts at the conflict’s end that Poland was granted independence by the treaty of Versailles. His arrival in December of 1918 in Poland saw an uprising against German troops in the Poznan district, and he was given a triumphal reception in Warsaw. The following year he became Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the first government. Relinquished his posts the succeeding annum because of political differences and retired to his Swiss home and later to California. Resumed touring again in the early 1920s, giving a series of benefits in Europe for the victims of WW I. Gave freely of both his time and money to artists, as well as refugee Jews, and sponsored numerous competitions and scholarships, although, because of his charitable nature, he never regained the fortune he had before the war. Appeared in the motion picture Moonlight Sonata and was feted with many honors and degrees in a long life of both artistic and humanitarian achievement. Died of pneumonia. Asked that his body be buried in the U.S. until Poland was free, which it was until 1992, when it was returned, although his heart remained ensconced in a bronze monument in Pennsylvania. Inner: Generous, ardent, with a deep sense of humanity. Charming, magnetic, witty, sincere, sympathetic and industrious. Born orator. Lightning rod lifetime of accomplishment in many spheres, as composer, virtuoso, patriot and philanthropist, all done with equal grace and style. Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831) - Austrian composer and piano manufacturer. Outer: 24th child of a village schoolmaster. Studied piano in his early teens, and later was put under the care of Joseph Haydn (G. W. Pabst), at the behest of an Austro-Hungarian count. Became that master’s dearest pupil. Made private Kappelmeister to a count, who allowed him a leave of absence to study in Rome, where he decided to remain, ultimately becoming 2nd Kapellmeister at the Strassburg Minster. 6 years later, he was upgraded to 1st Kapellmeister, but later lost his post because of political reasons and went to London to conduct the Professional Concerts, unknowingly becoming involved in a rival enterprise to his former teacher, Haydn’s, series of concerts there. Later vexed him further by imitating his style without his spirit. Returned to his estate in Strassburg several years later, but was harassed by revolutionaries and sold it and went to Paris where he became a music dealer. At the age of 50, he founded a piano factory which was so successful that it absorbed all his attention and he was forced to give up composing to deal fulltime with the business. His son was a pianist and composer who eventually went into partnership with him and took over the business. The firm maintained its tradition of musicians at its head, with Friedrich Kalkbrenner (Paul McCartney), ultimately becoming a partner. A prolific composer with 29 symphonies to his credit, as well as many works for the piano and violin. Inner: Political upheavals that affected his life probably gave him motivation to become head of state later in this series, after proving himself successful in the material sphere. Thoroughly grounded lifetime of combining his sense of artistry with the bottom line, once again, in a highly successful life in both disciplines. Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) - German organist and composer. Outer: From a modest middle-class Lutheran background. Father was a wine dealer, and his mother was the former’s second wife. Received his early instruction from local teachers, while also evincing an interest in a variety of fields. Studied at a university in Altdorf, where he was also organist, but was forced to leave after less than a year because of family finances. Given a scholarship to the Gynasium Poeticum in Regensburg, where a special place was held for him because of his potential. Also studied outside school and was made aware of the work of the leading Italian composers of the time. Moved to Vienna in 1673 and became deputy organist of St. Stephen’s Cathedral where he was able to absorb the works of Catholic composers, to augment the Lutheran traditions in which he was raised. Served as court organist in 1677 at Eisenach for a year, then moved on to Erfurt, where he was extremely successful as an organist, composer and teacher. Married in 1681 to Barbara Gabler, the daughter of the Stadt-Mayor of the city, but his wife and son died 2 years later of a raging plague. The following year, he married Judith Drommer to the daughter of a coppersmith, 5 sons and 2 daughters from the union, 4 of whom became well-known, including a daughter Amalia who became a painter, two sons, Wilhelm and Charles, who became organ composers, as well as an American transplant, and a third son who came to be a noted instrument maker. Drawn to the Bach family, he served as one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s (Isaac Stern) early models, as well as godfather and teacher to his children. Asked for a leave in 1690, then held several more posts before returning to his native city of Nuremberg, where he spent the last decade plus of his life at St. Sebald. Extremely prolific, he composed much church music as well as fugues and suites, and is best remembered for the ubermelodic “Canon in D.” Very popular during his life, and never at a loss for remunerative positions, he brought the southern German Baroque organ traditions out of which he worked to a peak. Inner: Cerebral, with an intellectual curiosity about all the arts, and a willingness to experiment and explore with his work. Well-received lifetime of transcending his modest beginnings to become a preeminent musical figure of his time, as teacher, composer and player, while serving as an inspiration for talent even more transcendental than his own. Giovanni da Palestrina (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina) (c1524-1594) - Italian composer. Outer: From a family of small landowners. Took his name from the town of his birth. Had a humble upbringing, mother died when he was 12. By the next year, he was a chorister at the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. May also have been a chorister in Palestrina. Studied music in Rome, although considerable question remains as to who his teacher was. Appointed organist and choirmaster at the cathedral in his native town and 3 years later, at the age of 23, married a woman who brought him a considerable dowry, 3 sons from union. The Bishop of Palestrina was elected pope as Julius III and summoned him to become choirmaster of the Capella Giulia in 1551. Published his first book of masses several years later, with a picture of himself on his knees presenting his work to the pope. Made a member of the Pontifical choir, although supposedly had an inadequate voice, which deeply offended the other singers. After the death of the pope and his successor, a 3rd pope dismissed him because he was married, along with two others. Succeeded Orlando Lassus (G. W. Pabst) as musical director to the Church of St. John Lateran, but resigned because of dissatisfaction with the way the choirboys were fed, since one was his son. After a period of unemployment, he became choirmaster at Santa Maria Maggiore and published his first book of motets. The Council of Trent then put severe restrictions on music for the Mass, which he subtly protested by never dedicating any of his work to the 2 cardinals on the council who had reformed the music. Eventually resigned his position and entered the service of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este. Wrote two more books of Masses and dedicated both to Felipe II of Spain (Adolf Hitler). Was offered the post of musical director to the court of Vienna by HRE Maximilian I (Charles de Gaulle), but asked for such a large salary, that negotiations were called off. After several other posts, he returned to the Vatican and became director of the Cappella Giulia in 1571, holding that position until his death. His later years were marked by losses, with the death of his 2 elder sons and his brothers, as well as his wife. Decided to enter the priesthood, but then changed his mind, and married a wealthy widow of a merchant who had been a prosperous dealer in skins and furs. Immediately entered into partnership and within a decade the duo had garnered huge profits. Produced many of his greatest masterpieces during this period, while again demanding such a huge salary when asked to be musical director at the court of Mantua, that he was turned down. The rest of his life was spent largely composing. Died of pleurisy. Brought Church music to its classical Renaissance culmination, and, in doing so, stands as a seminal composer of his time. Inner: Extremely clever in business, balancing the spiritual and secular worlds quite handily in his ambitious career, in preparation for adding the political to his triumvir of his ease in the world of power. Prodigious lifetime as master of the Mass, as well as astute master of matters of the purse, before eventually coming into modern times as an exemplar of the all-around involved artist.


Storyline: The grace-filled gladiator takes a casual attitude to his craft, before being whipped into shape by his drill sergeant spouse to become a powerful purveyor of his unique combination of power and precision, while never taking himself or his gifts too seriously.

Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) - German/French/American violinist. Outer: Father was a physician and an enthusiastic string player. Began playing the violin at 4, taking his first lessons from his father. Admitted to the Vienna Conservatory at 7, despite an age requirement of 10. Instead, he graduated at 10, then was taken by his father to the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied under Lambert Massart, who had been a pupil of his in his Kreutzer lifetime, creating a singular thread twixt the two existences. Taught by him to play with emotion over technique, which he developed into a very sensuous sound. Finished the Conservatoire at 12, winning First Prize in violin over competitors twice his age, despite his unorthodox style. Began his touring career in the U.S. a year later, although received mixed reviews. Big, strong and broad-shouldered. Returned to Vienna to complete his education over the next 6 years, never touching the violin during that period, and then served in the army, playing the fiddle to entertain his fellow soldiers, but never practicing. Failed to gain the post of assistant concertmaster with the Vienna Opera, although 2 years later, he appeared as a soloist with them. Led a bohemian existence, occasionally reduced to pawning his violin. His career advanced slowly, picking up considerably at the turn of the century with a 2nd concert tour of the U.S. Married Harriet Lies, the divorced daughter of a tobacco merchant who was none too happy over the union. His wife, however, proved to be strong-willed, giving order, discipline and substance to his life. By WW I, he was the dominant violinist in the world. Called to active duty, he was wounded on the Russian front, causing a permanent limp, although his playing was unaffected. Gave charity concerts, even though the general public had learned to distrust Germans. Despite his misgivings over rejection, he eventually resumed his mantle as well-loved virtuoso for the next 2 decades. Became a French citizen with the fall of Austria, and in 1943 he became a U.S. citizen. 3 years earlier he was hit by a truck, although his playing was not impaired, despite lying in a coma for days. During the 1940s, he slowly wound down his career, gradually losing interest in playing. Died 4 days before his 87th birthday. An extremely powerful performer, as well as an accomplished composer, arranger and editor. In 1905, he perpetrated a hoax by passing off some of his compositions as works of old masters, fooling the experts for decades. Inner: Affable, easy-going, generous, physical and well-loved. Trickster lifetime of allowing his true talent to be molded by a domineering wife, giving him the discipline to turn his charm into virtuosity, while continually dealing with bodily blows that did not affect his interior grace and style. Rodolphe Kreutzer (1766-1831) - German/French violinist. Outer: Born in France to a German violinist in the Chapel Royal. His teacher was the son of well-known German composer. Proved himself to be an extremely adept student, and made his first solo appearance at the age of 13. Drawn into the circle of Giovanni Viotti (Gerard Mortier), two years later, and became a disciple of that master. At 19, he was made a member of the Royal Music in Versailles. Because of the death of his parents, he was responsible for the support of his 4 younger siblings. Married the daughter of an affluent courtier 3 years later, which greatly increased his fortunes. The union proved harmonious, and their house became a center for artists and intellectuals. The Royal Music moved to Paris the year of the French Revolution, although that upheaval did not affect his career. Made an easy transition from royal musician to Republican office-holder, becoming solo violinist at the Theatre Italien and later violin professor at the future Paris Conservatoire, a position he held for 30 years. Helped organize the massive revolutionary festival honoring the “Supreme Being.” Became one of the most popular opera composers of his day, writing over 40 works for the stage. Self-taught as a composer, he wrote with ease, and copied the styles of the day. After the fall of the Jacobin government in 1794, he followed the victorious French armies into Italy and Germany, continually enjoying great success wherever he played, and under whatever regime headed France. Later became solo violinist of the Grand Opera and chamber soloist of the Emperor Napoleon. Centered his career around Paris, rather than constantly touring, although his concert career ended with a broken left arm in his mid-40s. Became a fulltime conductor after that, although failed to recognize the genius of Ludwig van Beethoven (Van Morrison). Relinquished all his posts at the age of 70, and was deeply disappointed in not seeing his last opera staged in Paris. Died after a protracted illness. Stressed power over subtlety in his play, which was notable for both its grandeur and instinct. His greatest contribution to music, however, was as a teacher. Inner: Well-loved, generous, good-hearted. Extremely absorptive, able to go with both the musical and political flow of his times with ease, and reflect both, thanks to his innate warrior impeccability and lack of need to do battle to prove it. Carried a reflection of his name in his next go-round, a warrior habit shared by many, in which certain letters and sounds mirror a personal sense of power. Go-with-the-flow lifetime of learning, assimilating and then teaching as an exemplar of the transcendence of music delivered with a good strong heart.


Storyline: The insightful instrumentalist learns how to negotiate the vagaries of success without compromising his skills or embracing failure as an antidote to ego and a spur to art, and lives a long and splendid life as an icon of the transcendental power of his own virtuous virtuosity.

Pablo Casals (1876-1973) - Spanish cellist and conductor. Outer: 2nd of 11 children of the town organist, who gave him his first musical instruction. Mother was born in Puerto Rico. Sang before he could speak clearly. Father wanted him to be a carpenter, but his mother prevailed, and he was sent to Barcelona to study music. Learned to play various instruments, but soon settled on the cello. Later studied at the Madrid Conservatory. At 19, he became soloist in the orchestra of the Paris opera and 2 years later, he taught at the Barcelona Conservatory, where he founded a string quartet. His career as a virtuoso began when he was 22. Made his first tour of America 3 years later. Gradually attained a position of recognized supremacy, not only for his technical abilities but also his rare musical insight. Greatly expanded the cello as a medium of musical expression. Lived with Guilhermina Suggia, a Portuguese cellist for a half dozen years, then married Susan Metcalfe, an American socialite and singer of German Lied in 1914. At one point he wanted to stop his career to further enhance hers. In his mid-40s, he founded the Orquestra Pau Casals in Barcelona and began a 2nd career as a conductor. Despite being quite popular in Germany, he refused to play there once Adolf Hitler came to power. Ardently supported the Loyalist Government of Spain, and after the Civil War of the late 1930s, he became a voluntary exile and settled in France near the Spanish border, where he later organized a series of summer concerts that became known as the Prades Festival. Afterwards, he established the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, where he eventually came to live after a near decade of seclusion. Refused to give public concerts, save for his own festivals, after 1946 because of the Allies support of the dictator Francisco Franco. Eventually was awarded the Peace Medal from the United Nations. After divorcing in 1957, he married Marta Montanez y Martinez, a young cellist who was his pupil, when he was 80 and she was 20. Died after a heart attack at the age of 96. Given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. Inner: Modest and restrained, a romantic anachronism from another era. Believed that music was a process of recreating an emotion, mood or experience. Infallible ear, into the pure joy of music. Despite his long career, he suffered from stage fright throughout. Strongly political, and highly moral. Long lifetime of learning to enjoy success and his special musical gifts, after suffering earlier as a similarly adept virtuoso. Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) - Italian cellist. Outer: Father was a double-bass player who served as his primary teacher. When he was 14, he was sent to Rome to study cello and composition. Made a long concert tour afterwards and established his reputation as a brilliant instrumentalist. At 23, he came to Paris and published two books that established his reputation as a chamber composer. Married Clemintina Pelicho, five children from the union. At the invitation of the Spanish ambassador, he went to Madrid in his mid-20s, and settled there as chamber virtuoso to the heir to the throne. Dedicated a work to Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia in 1787 who gave him title of chamber composer and a modest salary. The same year, he wed Joaquina Porreti. Went to his court, but when the king died 12 years later, he was forced to depend on his own resources again. Returned to Spain, but suffered from ill health and a lack of interest by those in power. Often in want, and plagued by domestic troubles with his wife, he was reduced to making guitar arrangements of his works for wealthy amateurs. Died in dire poverty. Prolific composer of chamber music. Looked upon as a complementary musician to his contemporary, Joseph Haydn (G.W. Pabst), who admired his work, as he did his. Inner: Industrious, facile, highly gifted, but with a propensity for suffering. Ill-fated lifetime of living out the adage that the great artist must suffer in order to bring forth beautiful music, a belief he was able to turn around in his next life in this series.


Storyline: The sly sybarite learns to harness his competitive seductive nature, and winds up sailing through century number 20 as one of its best loved performers, while following the old adage that living well is the best revenge against the restrictions of mortality.

Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982) - Polish/American pianist. Outer: Father was a textile producer. Youngest of 8 children. Extremely precocious, he began piano lessons at 3. Sent to Berlin at 10 and became a protege of violinist Joseph Joachim (Jascha Heifetz), while also taking lessons from pianist Ignace Padereweski (Alan Parker). His hands had an octave and a half span. Toured widely, lived well, pursuing good food, good cigars, great wines and a host of amours. His initial career was full of dazzle, playing, as he called them, “crowd pleasers,” while overcoming his deficiencies with grand flourishes. The turning point of his professional life came when he married Nela Mlynarski, the 23 year old daughter of a Polish conductor in 1932 after a 6 year courtship. 4 children from the union, with one son, John, becoming an actor. When he first heard Vladimir Horowitz play, he realized his rival was a better pianist, which motivated him to concentrate more fully on his art. Began recording in 1929, after earlier disdaining the technology. Stopped being a playboy and started practicing intensively 6-9 hours a day, particularly after hearing the increased fidelity of his recordings, which highlighted his shortcomings, and emerged transformed from his self-imposed discipline. Moved to America with his family during WW II, and became a U.S. citizen in 1946. Made a vast number of recordings from an equally vast repertoire, and by the 1950s, he was the most sought-after pianist in the world. Wrote a sparkling biography and was still touring in his late 80s, during which time he had one final fling with his secretary. A loss of sight at life’s end caused him to retire from the stage in 1976. Did a “Rubinstein at 90” documentary and still looked vibrant beneath his aureole of white hair. Lived nine and a half decades, and died quietly in his sleep. Given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. Inner: Witty, exuberant extrovert. Naturally gracious and good-humored, with an equal delight in the sensual and the aesthetic. His sheer pleasure in playing was always communicated to his audiences. Great stamina, prodigious musical memory. Sybaritic lifetime of fame, adulation and the thorough sensual enjoyment of all that he did, by concentrating on what he did best, and raising it to another level. Sigismund Thalberg (1812-1871) - German pianist and composer. Outer: Said to be the son of Swiss-German nobility, although his real parents were probably ordinary German citizens. Father sent him to Polytechnic School in Vienna to prepare him for a diplomatic career, but he much preferred music. Studied that art with several well-known teachers, and played in public for the first time at 14. Two years later, he published his first compositions, while continuing his career as a piano virtuoso. At 22, he was appointed Kammervirtuoso by the Austrian Emperor. Continued his studios in Paris, and played there to wide acclaim, as well as in London. Had great strength in his wrists and fingers, while evincing a quiet demeanor at the piano, playing erect with a minimum of gestures, and using his thumbs to great advantage, which gave the impression that three hands were playing the piano. Handsome and aristocratic, highly disciplined, with a cold, clear style that never varied. His composing,however, never equalled his playing. Toured widely in both Europe and America, mostly tinkling his own pieces, as one of the most accomplished pianists of his day. Married the daughter of an opera singer, and co-managed an opera house, before settling in an Italian villa, where he grew wine, and lived the pleasurable life of a well-celebrated celebrity. Wrote two operas that were failures. Inner: Impeccably mannered, genteel, although a creature of his time, rather than a transcendental musician. Self-inventing lifetime of straitjacketing his immense talent into a highly controlled virtuosity and unimaginative composing, which he would redress in his next existence in this series, by focusing on and bringing out more of his extraordinary gift at sheer expression, both in his performing and his life lived.


Storyline: The dualistic purveyor of fire and ice keeps his humanity rigidly reigned in, while putting the full breath of his potential for beauty in his instrument, and letting everything else sit secondary and stunted in the shadow of his virtuosity.

Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) - Russian/American violinist. Outer: Son of a violinist and concertmaster for the local symphony. Mother imbued him with a, “Jaschinka, it was not good enough,” sensibility of self-criticism. Began playing with his father at the age of 3, evincing a perfect ear. Entered the Vilna school at 4 and was performing publicly at 7. Because the family was Jewish, his father had to enroll at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with his son in order to get a permit to reside in the capital, which was nominally closed to Jews. His sire later became an effective teacher, although he dedicated all his energy to the development of his precocious son. Studied under maestro Leopold Auer, both at the Conservatory and in his summer studio near Dresden. Made his Berlin debut at 10. Also an accomplished pianist. His family left Russia at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution and moved to NYC. Made his American debut at Carnegie Hall when he was 16, establishing himself as a true phenomenon, setting the stance and tone he would henceforth use, of an unsmiling, immobile, icy veneer, which hid the fiery fever of his play. Broke away from his father’s control and expanded his repertoire, for which he had been criticised. After 3 years of unparalleled success in the U.S., he began his musical conquest of the world in 1920, to start a near 6 decade public career, while returning to Russia in 1934 after a nearly 20 year absence. Began his recording career in 1917, which extended all the way until 1972, putting virtually the entire literature of the violin on record in that long time span, while commanding top fees all along the way. Formed a particularly effective partnership with the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, whose effusive personality counter-pointed his own. In 1928, he married Florence Vidor, a former motion picture actress, daughter and son from the union, which ended in divorce in 1948. Married Frances Speigelberg afterwards, one more son. After an extremely long career of concert-giving, he accepted a violin master class at USC, but proved to be a less-than-ideal teacher, being far too authoritarian and unable to communicate on a personal level, although continued in that role, despite his obvious limitations. Retired from the stage in 1972, after logging some 2 million miles traveling. Also played himself in 3 movies, and performed frequently on radio. Combined intuition with hard practice, and supported both modern and classical composers. Given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award two years after he died. Inner: Inborn aristocrat, reserved, hidden and extremely self-protective. Desire to be both adulated and anonymous, although secretly generous. Perfectionist who loved fast tempos and playing off of the hidden fire and overt ice of his persona. Steely-eyed lifetime of bringing a sense of perfection to his play, integrating his dualistic exterior and interior through his music, if not his life. Joseph Joachim (1831-1907) - Hungarian/German violinist. Outer: Son of a Jewish merchant of modest means living in Hungary. 7th of 8 children. Given a toy violin at 4, which inaugurated his career. Gave his first public performance at 8, then was taken to Vienna to study and live with a professor at the Vienna Conservatory. Entered the Leipzig Conservatory at 12, and established a rapport with Felix Mendelssohn (Leonard Bernstein), who felt he needed only to play with masters and get a general education, rather than a musical one. Very taken with the boy, helped him inaugurate his career, with opportunities to play and letters of introduction in England. Performed before Queen Victoria at 13, and considered that country his 2nd home forever afterward. Deeply affected by Mendelssohn’s death 3 years later. Accepted an invitation by Franz Liszt (G. W. Pabst) to become concertmaster in Weimar, where he fell in with the modernistic circle of musicians there, although he eventually broke with them because of their disparagements of his past academic musical associations. In the interim, he became royal music director in Hanover, a post he held for 12 years, where he became a lifelong friend of Johannes Brahms (Van Morrison). Refused to revise the concerto Robert Schumann (Charles Mingus) had written specifically for him to play, after that composer’s death, setting a pattern of purity in play for him. Inaugurated a new era in violin-playing, as interpreter of the works of others, rather than a celebrator of his own, as had been the custom. Tried to interpret compositions he played with the closest fidelity possible to the intentions of the masters who wrote them. Rose to great prominence during the Hanover years. His greatest response was in German-speaking countries and England, elsewhere he was perceived as cold and calm rather than passionate. Married Amalie Weiss, a singer, 6 children from the union. Despite a happy union, his jealousy prevailed and he ultimately sued her for divorce on unfounded grounds of adultery, claiming their last child was not his. Also composed and taught. Ended his Hanover association because of perceived anti-Semitism against one of his colleagues. Moved to Berlin where he was named director and violin professor at the Hochschule fur Musik in 1869, a post he held until his death. That same year, he organized the famous Joachim Quartet, which became one of the most noted ensembles of the entire century. Created a distinct violin school in Berlin, although was a poor instructor, uninterested in technique, and unable to interact with his pupils, despite 40 years of teaching. Died of a malignant abscess. Inner: Uncompromising prophet of beauty in music. Ill-at-ease in glamorous settings, preferred the intimacy of devotees. Objective, intellectual, singular passion was jealousy. Highly controlled lifetime of altering the traditions of performing on the violin as a classicist devoted to bringing the highest musical ideals to the world, while keeping his passions well-hidden save for the intimacies and projected betrayal of marriage.


Storyline: The little boy lost stays at that fearful level emotionally, allowing his exterior abilities to mature, while retarding his interior so as not to allow it to interfere with his pursuit of artistic excellence.

Vladimir Horowitz (1904-1989) - Russian/American pianist. Outer: Father was a prosperous electrical engineer. Began his musical studies at 6. Graduated from the Kiev Conservatory 11 years later, and made his debut on the piano the same year in Kharkov. Had a youthful ambition to be a composer, but never actualized it. After further study, he began his European tours. Showed himself to be an astonishing virtuoso, with a wizardry of finger and pedal-work that could bring out the full sonority and tonal gradations of his instrument. Left Russia at 22, and never saw his mother again, to whom he was deeply attached, a traumatic happenstance from which he never emotionally recovered. Made his American debut at the age of 23 with the New York Philharmonic and emigrated to the United States, where he married Wanda Toscanini, the daughter of conductor Arturo Toscanini. Mutually dependent, while their interfaith marriage created an often strained relationship, one daughter from union, who died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 40. Bisexual, and the couple separated briefly in 1949. Continued touring until his early 30s, when illness forced him to stop for two years. Resumed his career, but in his late 30s, he stopped making concert appearances for 12 years, concentrating on recordings, while also adding to his mystique through his absence from public view. Returned to the stage at Carnegie Hall, and then made infrequent appearances afterwards. His 50th anniversary appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1978, marking the date of his American debut, was a cultural mega-event. Died of a heart attack. Considered the greatest pianist of his time. Given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award the year after he died. Inner: Adolescently vain, highly cultured and equally neurotic. Probably never recovered from being separated from his mother, keeping him at the fearful level his entire life. Depressive hypochondriac who suffered from stage fright. Continually torn between being an artist and being an entertainer, often given to mannerist interpretations, viewing the performer as equal to the composer. Arrested development lifetime of focusing on performing, and playing on his fears of inadequacy to motivate him to greatness. Alexander Dreyschock (1818-1869) - German/Bohemian pianist and composer. Outer: Brother was a well-known violinist. Traveled throughout Europe as a virtuoso between 1838 and 1848, while startling the music world with his execution and technical stunts. Evinced an extreme virtuosity with his left hand, playing loud and fast to deliberately excite his audiences. Spectacular technician, and a better musician than he was given credit for, thanks to his audience-pleasing pyrotechnics. Practiced 16 hours a day with his left hand alone so that he could play octaves as fast as single-note passages. Could perform with great beauty when he wanted to, although he preferred showboating with his stunts, viewing music as a way to show off his technique. Had the smallest repertoire of the great pianists of the 19th century. Became a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory towards the end of his career, and court pianist to the czar his final 4 years. Inner: Obsessive, monomaniacal, far more the showoff than the virtuoso, despite his extraordinary capabilities. Showboat lifetime of playing for easy applause, rather than hard art, a situation he would better deal with, the next time around in this series, by dividing his exterior and interior development, and using the fear of truly seeing himself as his primary motivating factor.


Storyline: The blazing fire-eater learns to channel his passions so as to serve his art rather than burn his incandescent talent down to a charred ember.

Nathan Milstein (1904-1992) - Russian/American violinist. Outer: 4th of 7 children of a middle-class family, which had absolutely no musical background. A concert by 11 year old Jascha Heifitz inspired his parents to make a violinist out of him, so that he did not start with the instrument until he was 7. Studied in Odessa until he was 9 with famed teacher Piotr Stoliarsky, whom he would later remember without affection, then went to St. Petersburg to learn under maestro Leopold Auer, although later denigrated him, despite feeling that his stay in the city was one of his life’s highlights. At the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917, he returned to his home city, where he underwent great privation. Finally made his way to Kiev at 16, where he gave a concert and met pianist Vladimir Horowitz, who invited him to his parents’ home for tea. Wound up staying there for 3 years, despite their differences in personality. His early style was exuberant and highly physical, although he later learned to discipline his excess technique. Along with Horowitz, he made a joint concert tour of Russia, and then both left Russia in 1925, at the behest of Leon Trotsky, who wanted them to act as cultural ambassadors for the Bolshevik regime. Never returned. Married, one daughter from union. Although Horowitz was an instant European success, he took a longer time to establish himself. Came to the United States 3 years later, and made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Eventually settled in NYC and became an American citizen. In 1945, he acquired a 1716 Stradivarius, which he would use for the rest of his life, naming it Maria Therese, after his wife and daughter. After WW II, he re-established his European reputaton and returned there, with residences in Paris and London. Had an extremely long and active public life, with no diminution of his exuberant style, even into his 70s, so that he wound up with the longest career ever among violinists, some 72 years of performing, stretching from 1915 to 1987. Concentrated his repertoire on the Romantics, putting his own unique imprint on all he played. Continually rethought and reinterpreted his performances so as not to repeat himself. Also composed and arranged violin music, as well as taught it. Despite his flawless technique, he never achieved the reputation of his singular rival and exact contemporary, Jascha Heifitz, despite his sobriquet of “prince of the bow.” Broke his arm after his final concert, thereby ending his career by default. Died of a heart attack. Inner: Lively temperament, fiery, impetuous, with great curiousity and an equal appetite for learning and life. Largely repelled by celebrity, and never really publicized himself, preferring the encomia of his peers, rather than the public. Buoyant lifetime of learning to discipline his ardent nature and abilities so that they would serve, rather than consume him, as they had his previous existence. Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880) - Polish violinist. Outer: Mother and uncle were both professional pianists who had lived in Paris, and their home was the center for much musical activity. By the age of 8, he was so advanced on the violin that he was sent to Paris for further study. Admitted to the Paris Conservatoire after a brilliant audition, which was unprecedented at the time, and studied in a master class. At the request of the czar, he left for a concert tour of Russia at 12, after making his debut in Paris. Re-entered the Conservatoire for more study, and then began his career as a concertizing virtuoso. Together with his younger brother Jozef, traveled through Russia for the next 2 years, giving some 200 concerts. Also began composing for the violin. As he continued to tour, the versatility and passion of his play was greatly admired all over Europe. Married the niece of an English composer in London, and his youngest daughter became a composer under the pen name of Poldowski. Persuaded to move to St. Petersburg by pianist Anton Rubinstein (Dmitri Shostakovich), he settled there in 1860 for 12 years, intensely devoting his time to raising the musical standards of the Russian capital to a European level. Soloist for Czar Alexander II (Steven Spielberg) and professor at the new St. Petersburg Conservatory, although he later resigned in sympathy with Rubinstein over faculty dissension. Disliked the Russian police state and constant surveillance and resented the repression of his Polish countrymen. Left to tour extensively in America with Rubinstein, although the two clashed over billing and for a while stopped speaking with one another. The tour, however, was a huge success, despite its debilitating effects on the two high-strung artists. Accepted a temporary post at the Brussels Conservatory, but after two years, began touring again to wide acclaim. By 1878, a heart condition made it difficult for him to perform. Stricken with an asthmatic attack in Berlin, he had to be helped off the stage. Joseph Joachim (Jascha Heifetz), who had been in the audience, finished his concert for him, and the two embraced on stage afterwards. Similarly in Moscow, he was forced to leave the stage after another attack, but, because he was desperately in need of money, he continued touring until he wound up in a hospital in Odessa. Gave one more farewell concert on his release and then died in the palatial home of Petr Ilych Tchaikovsky’s (David Bowie) patroness, who had taken him there to get better care. A benefit concert was later given to save his family from starvation in London. An extremely emotional and fiery performer, with a great sense of lyricism and perfect technique. Was considered one of the 2 or 3 great masters of the later half of the 19th century. Inner: Had a nervous temperament and energy which ultimately sapped his strength. Romantic to the core, giving his all for his art. Burn-out lifetime of allowing his passion for music to thoroughly dominate and define his life to the point of prematurely ending it.


Storyline: The world-class clown brings his effervescent impishness to the sanctified realm of the classical concert hall, and always leaves his audiences roaring for more through his uncanny ability to see the comic underpinnings beneath the seriousness of high art.

Victor Borge (Borg Rosenbaum) (1909-2000) - Danish/American pianist. Outer: Father was a Russian/Jewish violinist for the Royal Danish Orchestra. Mother was an accomplished pianist. Youngest of 5 sons, in a very musical household. Showed a passion for the piano from an early age, reading music at 4, and gave his first recital at 8. Constantly involved in pranks and hoaxes as a schoolboy, seeing humor as a rebellion against formalities. Studied from the age of 10 with a celebrated pianist. At 14, he gave a recital, then suddenly saw the humor in the whole tableau, and winked at the front row. The conductor sped up play as the audience giggled. Got up, turned the conductor’s score back 3 pages and sat down to the uproar of the crowd. Continued his serious music training for several more years, but the seed for his playful performance persona was firmly planted. Worked as an organist in a cemetery to cement his unconventionality, then played concerts, but his nervous tics of apprehension beforehand were soothed by his humorous banter with the audience. Became an entertainer instead, appearing in Danish films and ultimately becoming a star. Once was physically assaulted by Nazi sympathizers, because of his anti-Nazi remarks in his shows, “What’s the difference between a Nazi and a dog? A Nazi lifts his arm.” In 1933, he married Sarabel Sgaper, an American citizen who held dual citizenship in both countries, one son and two daughters from the union. Barely left home his final year in Denmark, then fled to Sweden the day before the German takeover of his native land in the early days of WW II, leaving everything behind save his dog. Returned to occupied Denmark when he learned his mother was dying of cancer, then left permanently, and came to the U.S., changing his name to Victor Borge. Mastered English by watching hundreds of movies and was able to make the bridge as an entertainer, appearing on top name radio shows throughout the early 1940s. Initially memorized translations of his Danish material, without knowing what any of the individual words meant. Switched to concert halls, then Broadway, with his long running “Comedy in Music” show that he continued to perform on television as well. Compelled to talk more than play in his media performances, while given the opportunity to show his licks in his concert performances, proving to be an adept pianist, but a far more gifted humorist. Divorced and in 1953 married his manager, 3 children from 2nd union. One of his best known bits was speaking all the punctuation points in a sentence, giving amplified sound to the phhhts of the periods and theewkts of the commas, making a simple declaration into a percussive poem. Able to maintain his popularity over the decades through an innate sensitivity to his audiences, and a genuinely droll way of looking at the world of classical piano. Still active in his 9th decade as the clown prince of the concert-hall, doing some 60 concerts a year. Died peacefully in his sleep. Inner: Courtly, kindly, well-loved, with impish humor. Felt he was a talented, but not a great pianist. They all laughed when I sat down at the piano lifetime of joyful self-mockery to puncture the grandiose egos of his profession, in a continuation of his previous existence’s act. Leopold de Meyer (1816-1883) - German pianist. Outer: Father was a spa doctor, who wished his son to enter the civil service. On the death of his sire from cholera, he pursued his true love, music. Studied in Vienna, and then began touring Europe. Often would have the piano pushed around the stage until he found its proper location, while making speeches to the audience. Played with his elbows, thumbs and fists, continually clowning, while he pretended to be a serious musician. Short and fat, bragged he was the only great fat pianist. Had a limited repertoire, which he would pummel out, evoking far more laughter than serious appreciation. The first of the Europeans to tour America. Known as the Lion Pianist because of his flowing mane. Well-loved because of his routines, which would inspire him to continue that pathway in his succeeding go-round, combining his genius for the comic and his talent for conventional performance. Inner: Clown at heart, with a need to rib the seriousness of his chosen profession. Jokester lifetime of compensating for his limited abilities as a serious purveyor of music, by playing for laughs, albeit under the pretense of being an artiste of immeasurable talent, a theme he would continue to explore.


Storyline: The uncaged noisemaker turns the art of sound on its ear in his ongoing mission to teach the world how to make its own music out of the ordinary din of everyday life, in order to dissolve the distinctions between artist and audience.

John Cage (John Milton Cage, Jr.) (1912-1992) - American composer. Outer: Descendant of frontiersman Daniel Boone. Father was an inventor of both dubious and practical devices, mother was a newspaperwoman, who wrote a society column for the Los Angeles Times. Only child from the union, inheriting his sire’s originality. Spent part of his chidhood in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich. Had his own radio show in Los Angeles at the age of 12, featuring his own performances on the piano, as well as fellow members of his Boy Scout troop. Was class valedictorian of his high school, then attended Pomona College but left after 2 years to travel and study in Europe. Worked with an architect in Paris with Dadaist connections, that would later influence his similar view of music. Painted and wrote poetry during this period, and while in Majorca, composed his first piano pieces. Felt ambivalent about his own playing skills, and later admitted he couldn’t even keep a tune. Returned to the U.S. to experience the musical potential of California and NYC, before coming back to Los Angeles, where he worked as a cook and gardener, lectured on modern art, despite a lack of knowledge of it, and studied with a disciple of composer Arnold Schoenberg (Alex Cox). Also studied Oriental and folk music at the New York School of Social Research, then returned to California to finally meet with Schoenberg, who showed little interest in his work. Drifted into the world of dance afterwards, as an accompanist and composer. Although his early pieces conformed to the conventions of harmony and theme, he soon rejected those restrictions as well as atonal compositional systems, because of the distinction they made between musical sounds and noise. Became the champion, instead, of pure noise, writing for percussion instruments alone, using racketmakers like radios, as well as buzzers and flowerpots, even altering the piano to make it an instrument of din rather than pitch. During his mid-30s and early 40s, he organized and composed percussion concerts in California, and invented the prepared piano, which made noises by applying various objects to it, and inserting materials between the strings. Opened the doors of musical minimalism, and performance art, as well as a host of avant-garde modes of expression through his total rewriting of the language of tonal and atonal noise. Moved to NY in 1942 and made his debut there the following year with a percussive concert, while the city would become his permanent home base. A homophile, he had a 4 decade relationship with dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, with whom he both lived and collaborated, proving a central influence on the latter’s work. Also had a decade-long marriage with artist Xenia Andreyevna Kashevaroff, daughter of the Eastern Orthodox archpriest of Alaska, which ended in divorce in 1945. Studied Eastern philosophy and Zen at Columbia Univ., and became interested in chance procedure in his compositions. Became associated with progressive Black Mountain College in North Carolina, in order to apply his esthetic of chance procedures to theater as well as musical events. Discovered the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes, and developed chance compositions from it in his late 40s. In his early 50s, he composed 4’33” in which the performer makes no sound at all for that time span, and the music is entirely fashioned from the audience’s rustles, coughs and other movements, as well as additional distractions from outside the theater. Often audiences would angrily storm out from his concerts, while he was roundly dismissed by conventional critics. Taught at the New School for Social Research during the 2nd half of the 1950s, and while at Wesleyan Univ. compiled his first volume of essays. Toured the U.S. and abroad, giving lectures, concerts and performances all over the world. Became composer in residence at the Univ. of Cincinnati and held various fellowships and academic positions. His politics and social views eventually also came to embrace the same tenets as his musical theories. Wrote a goodly number of books, although was always reticent about exposing his emotions. Also received many worldwide honors in his later years. Lived with Cunningham from 1970 until his death from a stroke in a Manhattan hospital. Considered himself an anarchic egalitarian, working to obliterate the distinctions that divide people rather than democratically unite them. Inner: Monumentally creative, endlessly optimistic, and constantly filled with curiosity. Man on a musical mission, natural teacher, extremely self-disciplined, with an enormous capacity for work. Based his musical philosophy on the idea that opposites must be seen as non-opposites. Saw composer and audience as essentially the same. Trickster lifetime of acting as a teacher for those who wish to learn how to truly listen, while trying to integrate the disparate realms of art and life without the bothersome interference of emotion. Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858) - German/English pianist and teacher. Outer: Father was a violinist in the famous Mannheim Orchestra. Mother was a French singer and harpist. Oldest of 5 sons, all of whom became well-known musicians. Taken to England when he was a year old, and received most of his training in London under the direction of Muzio Clementi (Richard Strauss). While in his teens, he debuted in London, and then toured widely, although his improvisations were too artistic and involved for public tastes. Held in high regard by Ludwig van Beethoven (Van Morrison). Made his home in London, and became an extremely popular teacher there, producing his first book of studies in his early 30s, for which he is best remembered. Married twice, the first time to Anna Catharine Ludin, and after her death, a second time in 1829. No children from either union. Drew many of the leading music professors to him, and exerted a strong influence on the teachers of his time. With 2 partners, he established a musical publishing company in his early 50s which bore his name. Remained connected to the firm for most of the next 2 decades. Through its strong position in the music trade, it has continued on as an important publishing house, adding the manufacture of pianos to its repertoire after its founder’s death. Lived in Paris for a goodly part of the 1860s and early 1870s, then returned to London to finish his long life there and died at home. Inner: Classical musician’s musician, geared toward the connoisseur rather than the lay audience, which he would expand into his next go-round, on his ongoing self-appointed goal of teaching the world to hear with new ears. Well-crafted composer rather than an inspired one, with a love of Mozart (Stevei Wonder). Professorial lifetime as a teacher of teachers, as well as a fount of musical information for the well-informed.


Storyline: The uncompromising purist employs the world as his ongoing classroom in his deeply dedicated mission to uplift, speak his own truths and elevate the planet to the same strongly held esthetics he manages to maintain through his cradle-to-grave lifetimes of teaching, playing and scolding.

Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin (1916-1999) - American/English violinist and conductor. Outer: Parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants who had met in Palestine; family was always very closely-knit. Named Yehudi to emphasize his Jewish heritage. Two younger sisters, Hephzibah and Yaltah were accomplished pianists, the former accompanying her brother on tours in their later years. Taken at 9 months to San Francisco, where he showed his precocity as a child with a miniature violin. Began taking lessons at 5, although he was intractable around technique, preferring to trust his own instinct. Made his first appearance at 7 in Oakland, and immediately showed his purity of style, intensity and lack of artificiality of play, as well as his semi-trancelike state, touching on his subconscious to become a virtual channel for the music he played. Moved to NYC with his family to follow his teacher, before it was decided he go to Europe to complete his musical education. At 11, he began studying with Georges Enesco in Paris, who proved to be kindred spirit and the precise master he needed. His world fame began with his Carnegie Hall debut in 1927, when his artistry and precocity were viewed as one. Made a transcontinental tour the following year, and then continued his education in Europe, always taking what he needed from the various masters he worked with, rather than being overwhelmed by them. Lived near Paris with his family the first half of the 1930s, and his house served as an artistic mecca, while dividing his winters between Europe and America. Blond, blue-eyed, broad shouldered and stocky. His early career culminated with his appearance with conductor Arturo Toscanini at the New York Philharmonic. The following year, he made a world tour, after which he took a year and a half off to regroup. In 1938, he married Nola Nicholas, the daughter of an Australian industrialist, which produced a daughter and son, while her brother wed his sister Hephzibah, who gave up her career to live in Austrialia. Found little in common with his wife, in what prove to be a problematic union that ended in divorce in 1947. During WW II, he gave many free concerts, traveling tens of thousands of miles and enduring hardships. His practice time and mechanics were affected, however, and he began to decline as a soloist, in part because of bowing technique. Became the first foreign artist to perform in Moscow after the war, as well as playing in a Displaced Persons camp. Championed the rehabilitation of conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, after charges of Nazi colloboration were brought against him, winning a great deal of animosity in America and Israel for his stand. In 1947, he married Diana Gould, a ballet dancer/actress, 2 sons from the union, one later entered films, the other became a pianist. Became a British citizen in the 1950s, and was later knighted and given a life peerage. In the late 1950s, he began actualizing his desire to conduct, proving himself quite inspirational on the podium, while he also started organizing festivals. Became a teacher of children, as well, in order to compensate for the loss of his own childhood to the isolation of being a prodigy. Made president of the International Music Council in 1969, although alienated Russian authorities through his outspokenness, causing bitterness, despite his avowed love of his ancestral land. Active in many causes, and author of numerous works, including his autobiography, “Unfinished Journey,” in 1977, with an excellent command of the written language. Suffered increasing deafness in his last years. Died of a massive heart attack. Inner: Quiet, kindly, courtly. Uncompromising in his principles and willing to stand up for them. Despite his first name, never practiced the religion, and both his wives were non-Jews. Instinctual, rather than studied in his playing. Highly idealistic and moral. Dedicated lifetime of purity and idealism in his esthetics, politics and life. Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881) - Belgian violinist. Outer: Father was a retired army officer turned instrument maker and piano tuner. Began playing at 4, then was tutored by his father who was also an amateur violinist. Played in public by 6, and obtained a royal scholarship through Charles Beriot, a noted violinist and teacher. Taken by Beriot to Paris and made his debut there at 9. Studied with him for 2 years, before his fierce taskmaster of a father took over his career, taking him on a successful tour through Germany, where he settled in Vienna, falling in with a circle of musicians, and continuing his studies. Debuted in London the following year, where he met Nicolo Paganini (Jimi Hendrix), the acknowledged master of the time, who was duly impressed with him. By the time he was 17, his apprenticeship had been completed, and he began touring widely, including Russia, Brussels and London, where he was a frequent visitor, with his base in Paris. Married an eminent pianist, Josephine Eder (Hephzibah Menuhin) who often accompanied him on his tours. Over the next 2 decades, he toured America twice, although the first time, he was disappointed in the level of the audiences. Lived in St. Petersburg for the next 5 years, during his mid-20s and early 30s, and was given the honored position of soloist to the czar. Also taught at the Theatrical Music School and made significant contributions to the development of Russian violin playing. In addition, he composed while in Russia, eventually resigning to resume his worldwide tours. After completing his 3rd American tour in his early 50s, he decided to return to his native Belgium to become a violin professor at the Brussels Conservatory, a post his initial teacher had held. Considered his teaching a “sacred mission,” although after only 2 years he was incapacitated by a stroke, paralyzing his left hand. Resumed some teaching 4 years later after a partial recovery, but was forced to resign and died several years later. Played with a fervent romanticism, always showing impeccable taste and a nobility of mannered style, as well as a broad and exceptionally powerful tone. Also took his composing quite seriously, although as a whole, it was not on the same level as some of his fellow virtuoso/composers. Inner: Serious, with a sense of musical mission. Dedicated lifetime of trying to elevate the musical consciousness of the world through teaching, playing and composing.



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