November 14 Birthday: Aaron Copland: BALLET FOR MARTHA: MAKING APPALACHIAN SPRING


Aaron Copland, composer
November 14, 1900-December 2, 1990

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring by Jan Greenburg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca (Flash Point, 2010)

This is the story behind the story of the collaboration of three artists—a choreographer, a composer (Copeland) and an artist—who created the magnificent ballet, Appalachian Spring. Thank you Martha Graham, Aaron Copeland and Isamu Noguchi.

Interviews, features and music of Copland are archived at NPR Music.

October 10: Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi, composer
Oct. 10, 1813-Jan. 27, 1901


Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt (Harcourt, 1993)

An opera composer from Italy, Verdi was playing the organ for his village by the age of ten. Aida and La Traviata are two of his most famous works.

A Stanford University web site offers information about Verdi’s operas.

August 1 Birthday: Francis Scott Key and “The Star Spangled Banner”

Francis Scott Key, wrote words to U.S. national anthem
Aug. 1, 1779-Jan. 11, 1843


Francis Scott Key and “The Star Spangled Banner” by Lynea Bowdish, illustrated by Harry Burman (Mondo, 2002)

This book, the story behind the story of the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” illustrated with impressionistic paintings simply and vividly accounts Key’s inspiration.

Visit the Smithsonian’s Star-Spangled Banner National Museum of American History site to learn more.

June 17 Birthday: WHEN STRAVINSKY MET NIJINSKI. Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Najinsky

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky, composer, conductor
b. June 17, 1882
d. April 6, 1971

Vaslav Nijinsky, ballet dancer, choreographer
b. March 12, 1890
d. April 8, 1850

WHEN STRAVINSKY MET NIJINSKY: TWO ARTISTS, THEIR BALLET, AND ONE EXTRAORDINARY RIOT (Houghton Mifflin, 2013)

by Lauren Stringer

Overview

The Russian artists Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav
Nijinsky were popular in their time: Stravinsky for music, Nijinsky for
dance. When their radically new ballet, The Rite of Spring, was
first performed in Paris on May 29, 1913, the reaction was so polarized,
there were fistfights and riots! Brilliant or disastrous, the
performance marked the birth of modern music and dance. Stringer’s
rhythmic text and gloriously inventive, color-rich paintings capture the
wild and imaginative collaboration of composer and choreographer. The
fascinating author note includes photos of the dynamic duo and The Rite of Spring dancers.