Please help us choose and improve next week's featured profiles: Master Composers

+16 votes

This coming week, the featured example profiles will be competing Romantic era composers, Franz Liszt (his bio can use some additions) and Frederick Chopin.

We're searching for more notable master composers to feature alongside them in the Connection Finder. Could you help?

Here are a few we're getting started on:

Can you help with these profiles, or expand their families? Adding relatives in any direction helps with connections.

Who else should we feature? Do they need a profile?

All profiles need a good biography and a connection to the big tree. We also want each one to have an image, and the image needs to have proper source attribution explaining why it's in the public domain or why we have the right to display it.

We can't feature every composer (we only have room for eight per week), but if we don't feature a profile you work on, we may use it sometime in the future. And, of course, all contributions help improve our shared tree.

We'll make a final decision on which ones to feature early next week.

Please reply here with what you're working on so that we don't duplicate our efforts. Thanks!

in The Tree House by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (575k points)
edited by Chris Whitten

I totally agree that Scott Joplin would be an excellent choice. He was a consummate master of his genre, ragtime, and it has stood the test of time. Three years ago I had a talented young student present a public senior recital at which we included his terrific performance of the original "Maple Leaf Rag." HIs program also included Handel, lots of his favorite, Chopin, and Debussy. 

I included Joplin, as well as Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendessohn, on several JetPunk quizzes that I created some months back, All of my quizzes are titled Classical Music. All of this I'm sharing in the hope of correcting any misconception that my comments have been an attempt to narrow the field! I am a newcomer to WikiTree so I don't yet have the broad understanding of the far-reaching goals of the connection projects that so many of you do. I jumped into this one because it is a field that I have worked in for 70 years and I had hoped my comments might be of some interest or help to the project. The choice that was made to use Joplin's music for the soundtrack of "The Sting" - and the use of Baroque composer Pachelbel's now ubiquitous Canon in D in the movie "Ordinary People" - are tangible proof that presenting composers in media outside of concert halls or music schools brings them to the attention of a wider audience. Certainly WikiTree represents this out-reach. Bravo to all of you!

I took a stab at Mozart's biography. Please feel free to fix any typos, add/remove anything you like, or rewrite if you don't like the way it came out. I'm not married to it, so I'm sure it can be improved.

As I've said in each of my comments about "master composers" (none of which, frankly, seemed to be welcome or appreciated!)

 by Marguerite Brown


I think you may be misreading the tone of responses.  Remember, it is much easier to misinterpret when there are no facial expressions, tone of voice, or body language indicators as we have in person.  I have enjoyed your participation in this discussion, and look forward to more in the future.smiley

I apologize if my comments made you feel that your own comments were unwelcome. I disagreed with what I thought you were saying, but that did not mean I wanted you to feel your viewpoint was unwelcome. Although I did have musical training, I am by no means the expert here and will be withdrawing my comment and my participation in this discussion.
I'm all for any updates - the piano concertos were in multiple versions, so that's why the vague reference - otherwise that bit would have been much longer. There were standard piano concertos, four-hand versions, etc. that I was trying sum up without naming them all. I might have named them awkwardly in the process, so no worries about cleaning that up. I think it's clear enough from the large amount of work he created that tweaking a bit here and there wouldn't affect the impact of the size of his work.
Couldn't we do a separate connection sometime soon for modern era, post romantic, " masters" ?  That would solve having so many suggestions that we can't feature.
That is an excellent suggestion!
So I am slowly filling in Clara Wieck Schumann's what is the policy on Wikipedia profile pics are they allowed? She has many famous ancestors that have bios and pictures.
Public domain - allowed.

Creative Commons - depends on the reuse conditions.

Most others -  probably not.
Thanks Melanie! Do you have a moment to look over my work on Clara .. extra set of eyes is always good.  I  have added many family members and sources. Working on adding as many public domain pictures of her also famous family members as I can find next.  Tomorrow l maybe can add profiles for all her children.

18 Answers

+8 votes

See also :

by Melanie Paul G2G6 Pilot (367k points)
+9 votes

Think the von needs to be changed to van.  According to all sources on the net Encyclopedia of World Biography  and others it was :  

Ludwig van Beethoven


by Loretta Morrison G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
And so it does, Yay!  And why did my font go so big ?!!

@Loretta : Because Ludwig was (blind) deaf, you still need to shout his name laugh


I think he first needs to be connected.
Yes, Jelena, and that seems far from obvious ...
Indeed, he still isn't connected, though several people have been trying for years and there's already a lot of family. Looks like a tall order.
+12 votes

I suggest to have (at least two) women in the group. Melanie suggested one, whom I'd not the pleasure to know before. 

My own suggestions, to stick to the romantic area, would be :

Clara (Wieck) Schumann : profile connected ... but would need to write a bio from scratch ...

Fanny Mendelssohn : profile well connected to her awesome family of musicians, has an already rich bio, certainly needing a bit of brushing.

by Bernard Vatant G2G6 Pilot (113k points)
My mother (who was also a pianist and a composer) absolutely advocated on behalf of the "forgotten women" composers.  Clara and Fanny were two of her favourites!

(When her Persian queen had kittens Mum named them all after composers, so Fanny and Clara were both represented, as were Beethoven (as Ludwig aka Ludie), Wolfie (for Mozart), and Felix.)
Did she get to keep them all or where the little virtuosos shared with the community, Melanie?
I believe only Clara found a new home.  (I think it was because Mum didn't want to part with any of them, she kept making excuses why people weren't suitable for her "babies".)
Post-operative a coupleof decades-plus ago, I used to listen to Mum practice until I would fall asleep.  She had enormous posters of Mozart and Beethoven above the piano, and a small bust of Beethoven on a table beside it.

She (Mum) was an accredited teacher under the AMEB (Australian Music Examination Board (if I have that correct)),and I don't recall any of her pupils ever failing to get a passing grade or higher - - not even her grandson, who never saw just why he needed to do scales and so on.  (He sees it now, and he has two kids now who both follow the family music tradition.)

Mum could have been a concert pianist, but she hated being on stage, and would rather teach and compose.  So she did.  I am hopeful that one day some of her compositions will be played, if my daughter ever gets around to sorting them through and doing whatever is needful.
I figured she might have kept most of them.  Your mum sounds like a wonderful teacher.   I don't think that the stage would be for me either.  Maybe one of her grandchildren will take one of her pieces and share it with the world, that would be wonderful.
We have a few French composers connected (and with pic), but, since none of them have a bio, I'm reluctant to mention them. If one of them was selected, someone would have to write the bio...

Isabelle -- mention away.

At least one of this week's links has a very minimal biography, so it seems it's not of prime importance.

For two of the nominated composers, I have taken on the task of writing them biographies.

Here you go: Georges Bizet, Claude Debussy, Jules Massenet, Gabriel Fauré.

There are also profiles for Hector Berlioz and Maurice Ravel, but they are not connected and there would be a lot of work to connect them. I think we have Camille Saint-Saens too, not connected either though he would be a bit less hard than Ravel.

Was anyone working on connections for Clara to the larger tree up her parents lines, not just through her husband? Or did it go to nowhere?
I have filled in Clara's parents information and most of her siblings bios and sources. I am working on the grandparents , her mother's parents .  I have not found anything on the "merchant" her father's father's name yet .  Help!!

Her mother's parents were Christian Gotthold Tromlitz 1765 to 1825 and Christina Friederica nee'Carl 1766-1830.  Making pages now but no other Tromlitz on here may not be able to connect with the parents ... trying.  She is connected with husband but now some of her immediate family is at least on.  Going to go back and add her 3 half siblings on her mother's 2nd marriage.  Some of the places are fuzzy fill in if you find a source.
+10 votes
by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (464k points)
+9 votes
Frank Zappa!
by Mark Burch G2G6 Pilot (173k points)
Zappa-1 exists already

Would work when we feature modern composers... but he wasn't exactly romantic era.... although I am sure romance has blossomed to Frank Zappasmiley

+10 votes
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (728k points)
I already nominated Amy - but she doesn't have a WT profile, so it would be a start from scratch deal.

here is Amy’s profile

she will show as connected tomorrow.

she needs categories and a notable sticker.

Profile image, categories, and sticker added.
+12 votes
Two English Composers - Benjamin Britten-38 and Edward Elgar-154.

They are both already connected but Edward Elgar could do with some work on his bio.
by Gillian Thomas G2G6 Pilot (197k points)
Elger opened the door for English mixed race composer Samual Coleridge-Taylor.
Is this the same Samuel Coleridge Taylor from Ottery St Mary, Devon, who wrote (I think) the epic poem, The Ancient Mariner?
No. The White English poet is Samuel Taylor-Coleridge.

This is Samuel Coleridge-Taylor on WikiTree -

He needs a biography and to be connected. Anyone want to work on it? I’m happy to help.

It looks like Coleridge was originally a middle name, so  his LNAB should be Taylor.
Yes. Birth registered in Holborn in the Sep qtr, 1875 under Taylor. I've just applied for trusted list access to fix that up.
I've connected up Samuel Coleridge Taylor via his wife.
Nice work, Gillian! I was planning on adding a bit to his family and his profile (though it won't be a full bio).
Thanks Isabelle! Also the photo is great. I’ll work on the bio over the weekend, but feel free to work on it as well or tweak anything. I’ll probably then extend his mother’s line - hopefully make another connection if I can.
+13 votes
by Living Palmer G2G6 Mach 9 (92.3k points)
+12 votes
by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (489k points)
+7 votes
Please add Black Romantic Era composer:

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799)
by Lisa Dwyer G2G6 Mach 4 (44.4k points)
Dash, does he have a WikiTree profile?
No. Sorry, I thought suggestions were being sought-after.
You should create one! Even if we can't use it this time, we will definitely feature composers again.
+10 votes
Two of my favourite composers include the following

John Rutter - bn 1945 - still living - sorry

He wrote several famous Xmas carols - my favourite is Shepherds Pipe Carol

Leonard Cohen - dd 2016 - bn Canada dd USA

He wrote the song - Hallelujah
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+10 votes

Franz Joseph Haydn needs more connections!

by Megan Tremelling G2G3 (3.1k points)
In case he comes into the Profiles of the Week, I suggest to only link him as "Joseph Haydn" as that is the name he is known for.
+9 votes
I'd like to see "Ride of the Valkyries" composer Richard Wagner featured. He's one of my favorites.

He does need a bit of biography work, but he's connected to the tree already.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Looking at Wikipedia's list of Romantic Era composers:

Beethoven - already mentioned -

Johann Hummel -

Niccolo Paganini -

Carl Maria von Weber -

Giacomo Meyerbeer -

Gioachino Rossini -

Franz Schubert -

Hector Berlioz -

And many more, but these definitely have WikiTree ID's.
Johann Strauss I (the elder) -

Fanny Mendelssohn (previously mentioned) -

Frédéric Chopin (previously mentioned) -

Robert Schumann -

Franz Liszt (previously mentioned) -

Giuseppe Verdi -

Jacques Offenbach -
I think the only reason Wagner was not suggested is that he's closely connected to Liszt Ferenc, so they probably won't be featured together.

There is certainly an interesting pool to choose from, but they need to be connected... and they almost all come from tough-to-connect areas.
Agreed. My frustration tends to fall around the drop and run approach, where the profile is created with a very basic template (wikipedia link and blurb) and then nothing is ever done with it. At a bare minimum, I am much happier with a small biography (3-5 lines is good if time is limited), parents, spouses, and children. I get that in-depth research is not everyone's strong suit, but I would be hopeful that at least all of these might have some family so that their profile is in context and not just hanging out there all alone.

I'll probably pick a few of these who have been neglected and see what I can do for them.
Found Clara Schumann (mentioned above):

Very basic profile, Parents and Spouse added, no real biography to speak of, and no connection. At least it's a decent start.
One more: Bedrich Smetana - another German composer.
Actually, Clara Schumann is connected, but she has no bio and there are no profiles for her children.

Smetana inspired me to suggest Antonin Dvorak, who is connected.
Not sure how I missed that - thanks!!

And Dvorak is about another 18 down on the list I'm looking at, so he's a good one.

Here's the list, if you're interested...
I'm working on her parents, grandparents and siblings right now!
Scott, I am slowly filling in Clara's family.  .. question I think I have seen where Wikipedia pics are ok to use? Most of her family were also famous musicians and composers and have pictures and Wikipedia pages. Please feel free to check my work too. Another set of eyes and all.
+9 votes
Antonín  Dvořák:

No bio, but he's connected!
by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (489k points)
+4 votes
Wow - took a look at Tchiakovsky... he's going to be challenging to connect. I would need quite a bit of help. The only possible angle I've seen so far was either in his sister Alexandra's line (married a Davidov, had 7 children) or in his brother Ippolit's line (married a Petrovna, had 1 child who married a Alekseyev, and they had 3 children) or possibly in his brother Anatoly's line (married a Konsjin, had 1 child, she married 3 different husbands - Venevitinov, Unger-Sternberg, and Crosse).

This last one married a diplomat (Venevitinov), a Baron (Unger-Sternberg) and a writer (Crosse), so I was hoping there might be something there to dig into, but so far - nada. We'll see how that goes. Most of these profiles are not on WikiTree at the moment, so it will take some time to build up his tree so that others can contribute, but if you see research you can help with, please feel free. Here's a couple of sites to start with:

Maybe between several of us, we can either just improve his family tree, or if we're fortunate, find that elusive connection.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Ok, thanks I just checked the only one I just added so far and it is public!! But will check before adding each. Thanks for the guidance.
Both the images there now are Public Domain.  (I added a statement by comment to the smaller one.)
Yes I am adding that in the description when I upload. Most of the family were also famous , and I made sure they were all public domain pictures.  I will work on adding children tomorrow, right now just listed in bio.... getting there. Feel free to do a few of the 7 kids !
I added a bit more to Clara and hopefully that all works for you. I moved a few pieces around so that it flows a bit more smoothly, but feel free to move things back around if you like.
Thanks Scott, it looks fine.  I guess I was coming back to her biography was worn out from research, creating and bios for the rest of the family.  Feel free to add a few of the 7 children, lol!

Perhaps mention could be made that if not for Clara, Schumann would have been a lawyer instead of a musician and composer; and that he took lessons from her father, lodging in the household at the time.

Yes I have in his bio that he took lessons and that was how they met... but I didn't know he gave up a law career.

Directly quoting from the article on news that I linked to her profile in November 2019 (bolding is mine) :

As the author of a book on piano technique, Friedrich required his daughter to be a perfect exemplar, says Frances Falling, a singer, musicologist and research assistant at the Schumann-Haus in Leipzig.

"Apparently he was quite tyrannical at times," Falling tells RN's The Music Show.

"He had a very clear vision for what he wanted Clara to do, to be; he designed very carefully her days and took over all aspects of her life for a good 10 years, even writing her diary for her."

As Friedrich's protégé, Clara didn't disappoint. She made her public debut in Leipzig just after her ninth birthday.

Soon, a law student, Robert Schumann, heard her play and was so impressed by the young girl, he decided to devote his life to music. He asked Friedrich for lessons and became the Wiecks' lodger.

Over the next decade, with Friedrich her manager, Clara toured Europe. Liszt came to hear her perform. Paganini offered to play with her.

She became known for her performances of Beethoven, who had recently died, but she also played her own music, as pianists were expected to, including a piano concerto which she premiered, aged 16, at Leipzig's Gewandhaus.

"Even during her time, she could have been considered a composer," Falling suggests.

"The critics writing about this concerto were all very positive, saying they hadn't expected such 'serious' music and compositional talent from a woman."

To Friedrich's horror, Clara fell in love with Robert, nine years her senior.

They had to take the old man to court to obtain permission, but in 1840 they were married, one day before Clara turned 21.

The year he married Clara, Robert composed 138 songs, some of them among the greatest of the 19th century.

Great Melanie!  Feel free to add and source if you like!! Or I can later today.  I have some leads on connections to the tree up her Wieck line I am busy chasing down !!!
Wieck-244 has to have some connection because of the Gottlieb/lob and Aieldheld (various spellings) used in descendants of our subject and their families.  I have messaged the PM to see if she knows anything about Clara's "unsuccessful merchant" father Wtittenberg.

Addition to above is my edit , took it to G2G and a German expert seemed to think no connection, put it in the notes of Clara's father what the records there have for a father to Friedrich.

Also I have now added all the siblings and children for Clara.
+6 votes

There is a shortage of Italian opera composers. Rossini is there but not connected, I think, and the other major bel canto composers don't have profiles at all:

Donizetti, Gaetano

Bellini, Vincenzo

Pacini, Giovanni

Mercadante, Saverio

by Deborah Pate G2G6 Mach 4 (45.1k points)
Maybe opera composers could be a whole separate profile week!
+2 votes
I sourced a few church records for Johannes Strauss (both father and son), as well as Johann Strauss's (II) mother.
by Markus Brenner G2G4 (4.1k points)
+2 votes

I did a Can you help connect a composer? challenge a while ago, but most of the composers on the list haven't been connected yet.

Some composers who are already connected:

by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (530k points)

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