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Great Classical  Composers

The Greatest Classical Composers

Great Classical Composers From Bach to Beethoven, Mozart to Verdi, and nearly every other important composer of 18th and 19th century classical and operatic music in between – this is a fun-filled and lighthearted journey into their life, times, and  music.

Classical composers
Great Classical Composers


The Life of J. S. Bach

Born into a musical family, J. S. Bach’s (1685-1750) life was almost predetermined to be in the field of music.  From a child he internalized the art and passionately pursued the development of his skills.  It would result in a legacy that has enriched the world and continues to inspire, engage, and touch souls across diverse cultural boundaries now close to three hundred years later.



The Glory of Handel – Impresario Extraordinaire

Best known as the composer of Messiah, Handel (1685-1759) was one of musical history’s most gifted impresarios. His gifts were extraordinary – his life an adventure – his legacy priceless.  We travel with him from his initial musical successes in Rome to his superstar status in London. A master of the Italian Baroque style, he is considered a King of the Organ and Prince of the Concerto Grosso.


The Majesty of Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) lived only a brief 35 years, during which he knew both great joy and great grief—and composed wondrous music that was to enrich the lives of millions.  His story has become a legend.  Mozart has often been presented as a simpleminded boy with a miraculous musical gift, but the truth is both more complicated and more exciting.  Included will be excerpts from the composer’s musical works and personal letters.

Ludwig von beethoven

Ludwig von Beethoven – Magnificent Rebel

A veritable titan of talent, Beethoven (1770-1827) took the musical world of his day by storm. His meteoric rise and defiant end has become synonymous with the struggle of the artistic individual against the odds. Hear the intimate details of his life from dramatic excerpts from his letters. Discover what he meant when he said, “God made many princes, but only one Beethoven.”


Johann Strauss II

Johann Strauss Jr. – The Original King of the Viennese Waltz

Waltz to the lilting tunes and lovely melodies of Johann Strauss Jr.  (1825-1899), the Waltz King, as we journey to ‘Olde Vienna’ to meet this extraordinarily talented composer. Learn about his life and lasting legacy and the other members of his famous musical family dynasty as we journey down ‘The Blue Danube’, hear ‘Tales from the Vienna Woods’, and gather ‘Roses from the South’.


The Triumph & Tragedy of Tchaikovsky

Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was one of the outstanding composers of the late 19th century and the best known of all Russian composers. His genius for creating melodies, his mastery of musical structure, and his highly developed sense of musical drama enabled him, probably more than any other composer, to reach directly to the hearts of his listeners. Composer of such great works as the 1812 Overture, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, and the famous Pathetique for violin, his life reflected both great success and deep despair. Even today, his untimely death at the age of only 53 remains shrouded in mystery.



Antonio Vivaldi – A Maestro for All Seasons

Even casual listeners of classical music are likely familiar with Vivaldi’s most famous work, The Four Seasons. Antonio Vivaldi (1685-1741) was born in Venice, Italy, and soon became known as a virtuoso violinist and the “Red Priest”, owing to his flaming red hair and his actual profession. With a temperament as volatile as his red locks, Vivaldi led anything but a sedate priestly existence. As the composer of over 600 masterworks for violin and orchestra and once the darling of the European royal courts, he died in poverty and relative obscurity. Yet the legacy of his beautiful music remains as rich today as it was in his glory years.

Grand Opera

Bravo! An Introduction to the Rarified World of Grand Opera

Bravo! An Introduction to the Rarified World of Grand Opera


Luciano Pavarotti – King of the High C’s

Relax, refresh, sit back, and sip some wine, and journey back to sunny Italy, the birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007) – one of the world’s greatest operatic tenors.  Discover the story behind the maestro’s magical voice – from his humble origins to his rise to fame and acclaim.  It’s all here, the agony and the ecstasy, the love and glory, and yes, the beautiful voice and melodies that still make the world smile!

Three Tenors

The Original Three Tenors – Carreras ~ Domingo ~ Pavarotti

In the famous Baths of Caracalla, on a brilliant starlit night with a full moon rising, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti became a worldwide overnight sensation and, in doing so, stepped into the pages of musical history.

Enrico Caruso

Enrico Caruso – The World’s Greatest Tenor

The voice of the century was the Italian opera singer, Enrico Caruso (1873-1921), whose fame and popularity were universal in his day. From the Metropolitan Opera to the small streets of America – from operatic superstars to cab drivers – his famous arias were sung from coast to coast, continent to continent.

Mario Lanza

The Magnificent Mario Lanza – The American Caruso

Mario Lanza (1921-1959) the American operatic tenor and Hollywood movie star, was a success story whose voice was considered by many critics to rival that of the great Caruso. Learn more about his biographical background and operatic talents and achievements in both the world of opera and Hollywood, where he was among the first to bring opera to millions through the medium of film, before meeting his tragic and untimely end at the age of 38. The story of this South Philadelphia hero is indeed one of a meteoric rise in the rarified worlds of opera and Hollywood—a most unusual and unique accomplishment, one that still provides plenty of local color and personality even today.

Rossini – The Reigning Prince of Romantic Opera

The fact that his best-known works are comedies, combined with the alleged ease with which he wrote them, has sometimes led to Rossini (1792-1868) being viewed as a lightweight composer.  However, he occupied an unrivaled position in the Italian musical world of his time, and today can rightly be regarded as one of opera’s greatest composers.


Verdi – The Emperor of Italian Grand Opera

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was one of the giants of 19th century opera, and his works still form a major part of the standard repertoire.  He lived through a time of tumultuous political upheaval in Italy, and the passionate nature of his world-famous operas had much to do with this.


Puccini – The Count of Classic Italian Opera

At the end of the 19th century, an Italian opera composer finally emerged out of Giuseppe Verdi’s shadow.  With his matchless gift for melody, Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) became one of the most popular of all the great opera composers.

Franz Lehar

Lehar – The Lord of Viennese Light Operetta

Franz Lehar (1870-1948), the famous composer of Viennese operettas, led a life that might have come from one of his own librettos.  Lehar was a composer in constant dialogue with his dreams, surrounded by the great and extraordinary people of his time, living in the fabulous world of ‘Olde’ Vienna and the Habsburg royal court – where the rose and the waltz were still the order of the day…

Gilbert & Sullivan

The Topsy Turvy World of Gilbert & Sullivan & English Operetta

Gilbert and Sullivan go together as naturally as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding – they are as enduring a British institution as Westminster Abbey or Harrods.  Audiences laughed at their light-hearted but sharply satirical creations over a hundred years ago, and they are still laughing today the world over.  This program is full of famous, fun songs and well-known old favorites!

British Music Hall

The Sound of Laughter & Song – British Music Hall Memories

The Sound of Laughter & Song – British Music Hall Memories


A Short & Snappy History of American Vaudeville

A Short & Snappy History of American Vaudeville

Classical Ballet

On Point! An Introduction to the World of Classical Ballet

An Introduction to the World of Classical Ballet – It’s History & Highlights

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