Composer of the Week: Johannes BrahmsJohannes Brahms was a 19th Century/Romantic Period composer, born in Hamburg, Germany. Brahms was born in 1833, and was the son of a struggling musician. His father taught him cello and piano, though Brahms took to piano much more easily. As a teenager, he started composing and performing music, winning several competitions and awards. However, Brahms was a perfectionist and very critical of himself. It is said that he destroyed many of his earlier compositions.
Brahms was very close to the Schumann family (Robert and Clara, who were composers). He lived in Vienna, Austria for quite some time. His compositions were heavily influenced by Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn. In fact, Brahms could be considered a great “student of music,” as he also studied the works of Handel and Bach quite a bit.
Brahms wrote four symphonies, two piano concertos, string quartets, many choral (chorus) pieces, and other orchestra compositions. He is a prime example of a Romantic Period (or 19th Century) composer. Romantic Period music often told a story or expressed great emotion through its complicated melodies and harmonies. Orchestras and Choruses grew from a few dozen musicians to 100 or more at times.
Map of Hamburg, Germany
The Music of Johannes Brahms