“Every great inspiration is but an experiment.”

Charles Ives

Unconscious bursts of creativity that engender significant artistic endeavors are not necessarily inspired by passionate romantic love alone. Greek mythology believed that this kind of stimulus came from nine muses, the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. Muses were long considered the source of knowledge embodied in poetry, lyric songs and ancient myths. Throughout the history of Western art, artists, writers and musicians have prayed to the muses, or alternately, drawn inspiration from personified muses that conceptually reside beyond the borders of earthly love. True to life, however, composer inspiration has emerged from the entire spectrums of existence and being. Nature has always played a decidedly important role in the inspiration of various classical composers, as did exotic cities, landscapes or rituals. Composer inspiration is also found in poetry, the visual arts, and mythological stories and tales. Artistic, historical or cultural expressions of the past are just as inspirational as is the everyday: the third Punic War or the contrapuntal mastery of Bach is inspirationally just as relevant as are the virulent bat and camel. Composer inspiration is delightfully drawn from heroes and villains, scientific advances, a pet, or something as mundane as a hangover. Discover what fires the imagination of people who never stop asking questions.

885 Posts
  • Martinů’s Experiments with Jazz Martinů’s Experiments with Jazz
    Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959) started his music career as a violinist, giving his first public performances at age 15. Townspeople supported his career and at age 16, he was given funding to attend the Prague Conservatory. He didn’t take
  • Zorba the Greek Zorba the Greek
    The Cretan novelist Nikos Kazatzakis brought us the expansive personality of Zorba the Greek in his 1946 novel Βίος και Πολιτεία του Αλέξη Ζορμπά (Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas). The education of a nameless well-meaning Greek intellectual, who has
  • Edvard Grieg and His Circle of Friends II Edvard Grieg and His Circle of Friends II
    Let’s continue to explore Edvard Grieg’s social circle. Christian Emil Horneman (1840-1906) was a Danish composer, conductor, and music publisher. Born in Copenhagen, he made his way to Leipzig to study at the Conservatory. That’s where he met his fellow
  • The Horses of Music The Horses of Music
    The Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu wrote his choral work Wind Horse between 1962 and 1966, taking his imagery from Tibet. ‘Tibetan nomads tie pieces of their national dress together, It is said, about the rope. The wind blows and the
  • Edvard Grieg and His Circle of Friends Edvard Grieg and His Circle of Friends
    Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was the foremost Scandinavian composer of his generation. He was a celebrated figure on the European musical stage, and highly esteemed by Liszt, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky. Influenced by the late-Romantic spirit he was a master of the
  • Violin Masterworks Inspired by Pablo de Sarasate Violin Masterworks Inspired by Pablo de Sarasate
    Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908), alongside Henryk Wieniawski, Joseph Joachim, Eugène Ysaye, and countless others, was part of a group of violin virtuosi that decidedly contributed to the development of instrumental music as both performers and composers. But what is more,