In Honor of 3 German Composers Who Changed the World

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Although they never met, these three German composers changed the musical world. 2014 marks the 300th birthday of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, 150th birthday of Richard Strauss and the 205th birthday of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.

Born in 1714, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, son of Johann Sebastian Bach, was an influential composer during the time between the Baroque and Classic movements. Having developed his very own style known as “empfindsamer Stil” or sensitive style, he was well-regarded amongst his peers.  CPE Bach’s musical works include chamber music, piano sonatas, symphonies, as well as spiritual and secular pieces.

This year marks the 300th birthday of CPE Bach and it will be celebrated all over Germany. From Hamburg to Potsdam, Berlin to Frankfurt Oder, Leipzig to Weimar – all of these cities influenced Bach’s life thus his music. Concerts, exhibitions and readings are planned during the year to celebrate this musical genius.

Another musical influencer was born in 1864 in Munich: Richard Strauss. He is known as a master of modern instrumentation and innovative tone colors. After stops in Munich and Berlin, Strauss moved to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Southern Bavaria. Today, the town honors its most famous resident with the annual Strauss Festival (June 11-19, 2014). Orchestra and chamber concerts, lieder evenings or choral concerts – visitors can expect a variety of Strauss’ works to be played. The composer earned his international recognition with operas such as ‘Salome and Elektra’ as well as symphonic poems like ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’.  They’re even having a festival for him June 11-19, 2014 to honor his work.

Being called a musical prodigy can be a burden, but Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy made the best out of it. Born in 1809, during the early Romantic period, Mendelssohn wrote symphonies, concerti, oratorios, piano music and chamber music. His best known work might be ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. At the age of 26, Mendelssohn Bartholdy settled in Leipzig working with the city orchestra, the opera house and the Choir of St. Thomas Church.

On February 3, 2014, the 205th anniversary of his birth, the extended Mendelssohn House in Leipzig reopened. With a total size of 9,700 square feet it exhibits his life and achievements. Among the attractions is a so-called “Effektorium” – a unique, digital conductor‘s podium to conduct a virtual orchestra.