Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson (1925-2007)

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Oscar Peterson

June 25th, 2019
Anthony Tillman Williams (1945-1997) in 1984 It’s a story I told before, in a blog dated July 28, 2013. Since it’s been almost six years I will be forgiven for telling it again. It was sometime in the spring of 1980. I was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, living in a…

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The dancing mania by Hendrik Hondius, after Pieter Brueghel

Music History Monday: Boogie Fever

June 24th, 2019
On June 24, 1374 – 645 years ago today – the men, women, and children of the Rhineland city of Aachen began to dash out of their houses and into the streets, where – inexplicably, compulsively and uncontrollably - they began to twist and twirl, jump and shake, writhe and twitch until they dropped from…

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Paul Creston in 1943

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Paul Creston

June 18th, 2019
Paul Creston circa 1943, at age 37 When I and my compositional colleagues were ignorant graduate students (yes, ignorant and arrogant: I thought I was so freakin’ smart in my mid-twenties, only to realize, as real life unfolded, how colossally naïve I really was), when we were ignorant graduate students, among the nastiest things me…

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Igor Stravinsky circa 1968

Music History Monday: Igor Stravinsky

June 17th, 2019
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) circa 1968 We offer up our very best birthday wishes to Igor Stravinsky, who was born 137 years ago today, on June 17, 1882. A word of warning: saying Happy Birthday! to a Russian born before February 14, 1918 — as Stravinsky was — is an exercise in asterisks and parentheses. This is because it wasn’t…

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Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) in the early 1920s

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Igor Stravinsky – Pulcinella Suite

June 11th, 2019
We will return to the music of mid-century American symphonists next week. For now, we celebrate Igor Stravinsky’s spectacular and spectacularly influential Pulcinella in anticipation of his 139th birthday, which we will mark on June 17th in next week’s Music History Monday post. Bad Times Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) in the early 1920s The First World…

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Ludwig and Malvina Schnorr von Carolsfeld as Tristan and Isolde at the first performance of Tristan und Isolde on June 10, 1865

Music History Monday: Tristan und Isolde

June 10th, 2019
On June 10, 1865 – 154 years ago today - Richard Wagner’s magnificent music drama Tristan und Isolde received its premiere in Munich under the baton of Hans von Bülow (with whose wife, Cosima, Wagner was carrying on an affair).  Ludwig and Malvina Schnorr von Carolsfeld as Tristan and Isolde at the first performance of…

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Amy Beach (1867-1944)

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Amy Beach

June 4th, 2019
Amy Beach (1867-1944) Amy Marcy Cheney was born in Henniker, New Hampshire on September 5, 1867. She was a phenomenal child prodigy as both a pianist and composer. (She “composed” her first piece – a set of three waltzes – in her head at the age of four at her grandfather’s house, at which there…

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Georges Bizet in 1875

Music History Monday: Here music has buried a treasure, but even fairer hope

June 3rd, 2019
George Bizet (1838-1875) in 1875 We mark the death of the French composer Georges Bizet, who passed from this vale of tears on June 3, 1875, 144 years ago today. He was but 36 years, 7 months, and 9 days young when he passed. The title for today’s post is the epitaph that appeared on…

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Dr. Bob Recommends: Aaron Copland, Short Symphony

May 28th, 2019
Looking like the wedding scene from The Godfather; standing, left to right: Gerhard Samuel, Donald Fuller, Arthur Berger, Jerome Moross; seated: Leon Kirchner, Aaron Copland, Israel Citkowitz, David Diamond, Elliot Carter; Palisades, New York; 1949 Thus far, this post series has celebrated eight mid-twentieth century American composers – Howard Hanson, Roy Harris, Samuel Barber, Henry…

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Portrait of Niccolò Paganini by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Music History Monday: The Little Pagan

May 27th, 2019
Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840) in 1819) by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres We mark the death of the violinistic wizard, composer, and showman extraordinaire Niccolò Paganini, who died 179 years ago today in the Mediterranean resort city of Nice on May 27, 1840. Woman with Marfan Syndrome, making us squirm. Marfan Syndrome (or “MFS”) is a genetic disorder of the…

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