December calendar with music notes

 

When December rolls around, a lot of us associate this time of the year with the holidays and spending time with our friends and family. But new people are born every single day of the year, which means there are a lot of birthdays in December! These birthdays often get overshadowed by other major holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve, but that doesn’t mean they’re not just as special as any other birthday. In fact, there are quite a few famous composers who were born in December… Can you guess who?

 

This German composer was a predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras. He’s also widely regarded as “the greatest composer who ever lived.”

Beethoven Photo: Pinterest
Correct! Wrong!

Beethoven deserves the title of greatest composer who ever lived. His birthday is December 17th!

This famous Korean-American violinist is recognized as one of the foremost violinists of our time.

Sarah Chang Photo: The Strad
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Chang is a modern, living violin superstar and made her debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of just eight years old! Her birthday is December 10th.

This Italian composer basically brought the Italian opera to an end, and is considered one of the greatest champions of operatic realism.

Giacomo Puccini Photo: Britannica
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One of Puccini’s mature operas, Turandot, was left incomplete. His birthday is December 22nd!

This Spanish cellist is regarded as the pre-eminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century.

Pablo Casals Photo: The Guardian
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Casals was a Catalan cellist, composer, and conductor who is known as one of the greatest cellists of all time! His birthday is December 29th.

This Finnish composer is the most noted symphonic composer of Scandinavia.

Correct! Wrong!

Sibelius drew constant inspiration from the Kalevala, a mythological epic literature of Finland. His birthday is December 8th!

This French composer was also a critic and conductor of the Romantic period.

Hector Berlioz Photo: Classic FM
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Berlioz is most known for his Symphonie fantastique, and the choral symphony Romeo et Juliette. His birthday is December 11th!

This renowned Jamaican-American jazz pianist and composer is known for his lively, blues-based playing and as one of the finest accompanists in jazz.

Wynton Kelly Photo: The Blue Note
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Kelly began playing professionally at the age of 12 and was also a distinctive soloist who later became a great influence for Benny Green. His birthday is December 2nd!

This Belgian-French Romantic composer was an organist and a key figure in a movement to give French music more emotional engagement, technical solidity, and seriousness.

Cesar Franck Photo: Britannica
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Franck became a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, then wrote several pieces that have entered the standard classical repertoire. His birthday is December 10th!

This French composer was also an organist and is known for his use of mystical and religious themes.

Olivier Messiaen Photo: Britannica
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Messiaen developed a highly personal style consisting of rhythmic complexity, rich tones, and a unique harmonic language. His birthday is also December 10th!

This American singer-songwriter is also a multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and composer in jazz, rock, and fusion.

Frank Zappa Photo: Rolling Stone
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Zappa’s work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form inspiration, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture. His birthday is December 21st!

Can You Guess These December-Born Composers?
Pianissimo
It’s tough trying to guess when someone’s birthday is... after all, there are 366 choices! The good news is, you didn’t need to guess all of the composers correctly to love their music.
Mezzo
Wow, you know your stuff! Next time, we think you’ll get them all right.
Fortissimo
Perfection! You’re either a really good guesser or you really love classical composers. We’re going to say it’s the latter.

 

Reading about all of these composers and musicians makes us want to listen to all of our favorite songs, how about you? Give them a listen and get ready to freshen up your own musical skills this coming summer with Hawaii’s best summer music camp!