Dvořák’s father played the zither in a local tavern. Sibelius was fascinated with migrating birds, as reflected in the finale to his Fifth Symphony. Bruckner spent his formative years – and then some – in a monastery in St. Florian, Austria.
The small details of composers’ lives can add up to larger portraits of creativity and innovation. In a series of video program notes that I’ve produced for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I’ve expanded beyond individual concert programs to take larger snapshots of composers and their environments. Have a look at several examples below.