January 31

1797 Franz Schubert – Austrian composer (d.1828 at age 31); remarkably prolific, writing over 1,500 works in his short career; ranked among the greatest composers of the late Classical era and early Romantic era and one of the most frequently performed composers of the early 19th century; appreciation of his music while he was alive was limited to a relatively small circle of admirers in Vienna, but interest in his work increased as Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and other 19th-century composers discovered and championed his works.

1906 Benjamin Frankel – English composer (d.1973); most famous pieces include a cycle of five string quartets and eight symphonies as well as a number of concertos for violin and viola; also wrote film scores, including Battle of the Bulge (1965).

1937 Philip Glass – American composer (80 years old); one of the most influential music makers of the late 20th century; his music is also often described as minimalist, sharing characteristics with the works of composers like La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Steve Reich; but Glass has distanced himself from the ‘minimalist’ label, describing himself instead as a composer of "music with repetitive structures".

1960 George Benjamin – English composer, conductor, pianist and teacher (57 years old); his Duet for piano and orchestra was commissioned by Roche for the 2008 Lucerne Festival, where he was Composer-in-Residence, and was premiered there by Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst.

1965 Ofra Harnoy – Israeli-born Canadian cellist (52 years old); performed and recorded the world premiere of the Offenbach Cello Concerto in 1983 and the North American premiere of the Bliss Cello Concerto in 1984.

 

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