The “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as part of his ballet, “The Nutcracker.” It was premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1892. It had only modest success at first, but has since become deeply woven into the fabric of music and dance, in addition to appearances in animation, video games, and a host of other media. The New York City Ballet produced George Balanchine’s staged reinterpretation in 1954 and has done so for every Christmas season since, to houses packed particularly with parents bringing their children to see the grand two-hour spectacle.
In addition to piano, Joplin also played the cornet, mandolin, and was a noted singer. His early performances were with traveling brass ensembles and vocal groups. But composition was his main focus, and Joplin became arguably the most famous creator of Ragtime music, earning the name, “The King of Ragtime.”
In 1717, Johann Sebastian Bach was working for Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, the German prince of the House of Ascania. Bach was the prince’s music director. Bach composed his Orchestral Suite No. 3 in honor of Leopold, around 1731. The second movement, entitled, “Air,” was further popularized in 1884 when violinist August Wilhelmj arranged it for piano and violin.
Beethoven’s piano sonatas are among the most treasured compositions in the classical canon. He wrote 32 in all.
In 1801, Ludwig van Beethoven completed his 14th piano sonata, Op. 27 No. 2, and he gave it the descriptive title, “Sonata quasi una fantasia,” meaning roughly, “Sonata like a fantasy.”
"The Poet of the Piano," Frédéric Chopin was born in Poland in 1810. The nickname is attributed to the emotional range Chopin summoned in his piano works, a direct contrast to an excessively loud keyboard performance style that was in fashion at the time.