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If you're a fan of early music, as I am, then you know the name of Berlin-born conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. The cellist and early music pioneer died March 5th at age 86. His death dims another light on the 20th century which saw the rebirth of early music because of the scholarship and dedication of such early enthusiasts. He, and his violinist wife Alice, founded the period instrument ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien in 1953. He was on the podium, or conducting from the cello, right up until his retirement from performing this past December.

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Mozart actually lives on @chriswcrb's desk.

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Mar 4, 2016 at 12:02pm PST

Is there anything more fascinating than hearing the music of a composer who was deaf? Something about that idea - of creating something whose purpose is to be heard, but not by you - is fascinating, is beautiful and, in a way, is selfless. 

My love for the city of Chicago is pretty serious, and a big part of that is its modern classical music scene. The first time I visited the city as an adult I had the ridiculously good fortune of going to a concert at Constellation, a performance space with a bar (and excellent cocktails), and witnessing a program by the Spektral Quartet. On the program: a few movements of a Beethoven quartet, highlights from their Mobile Miniatures project, and the centerpiece of their new album, "Serious Business": The Ancestral Mousetrap by David Reminick.

Today we celebrate Gioachino Rossini, born in Pesaro, Italy in 1792. By normal math, the famed opera composer and eccentric would be 224 years old today. But with Rossini it’s not so simple. Because he was born on February 29, i.e. leap day, we need to employ some special math to calculate his birthday. So today, instead of 224, we say that Rossini is 54.

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