Johann Sebastian Bach composed his Weihnachts-Oratorium, or Christmas Oratorio in 1734 and is considered to be part of a group of three oratorios that were composed in Leipzig during this same time, the other two being the Ascension Oratorio and the Easter Oratorio.

The Chistmas Oratorio is a much larger…


Bing Crosby singing for the troops in 1944

Most people today associate the song White Christmas with the 1954 eponymous hit film, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. Filmed in Technicolor, it was also the first film to be filmed in VistaVision, a technique developed by Paramount Pictures that doubled the surface area on 35mm…


Twenty years ago, John Adams’ nativity oratorio, El Niño, premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris with soloists Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Willard White, a vocal ensemble from the Theatre of Voices — countertenors Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings and Steven Rickards), the London Voices, La Maîtrise de…


One of the most successful pianists of all time, George Winston established his unique and iconic style over forty years ago. Vince Guaraldi’s song, Cast Your Fate to the Wind, and his music for A Charlie Brown Christmas were major influences on Winston when he was a teenager. He writes,


In 1942, while traveling by boat from the United States to England, the British composer, Benjamin Britten, wrote a series of nine songs for three-part children’s choir and harp based on predominantly Middle English Christmas poems from The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems, edited by Gerald Bullett. They were originally…


Burl Ives’s voice is still part of the American consciousness, but his story has been largely forgotten.


Original 1951 production — Amahl and the Night Visitors

It is hard to imagine a world in which there were only a few television stations to choose for your at-home entertainment. Harder still to imagine one of those stations commissioning a living American composer to write an opera to be premiered and performed live on national television on Christmas…


The Flight Into Egypt — Giotto di Bondone

The French composer Hector Berlioz is mostly known in the U.S. for his truly groundbreaking Symphonie fantastique, but he was a prolific composer whose many works are admired and performed with regularity in other parts of the world, including his oratorio, L’Enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ).

Between 1850–1854…


Leonard Bernstein at the Berlin Wall in 1989

Probably born on this day in Bonn, Germany, in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sestercentennial is being celebrated around the world for his music and accomplishment, and justifiably so. His music had an incalculable impact on not only how music would be composed after him, but how music would be played…


Autograph score 1860

Franz Xaver Gruber was a school teacher, church organist and composer who lived in the small Austrian village of Arnsdorf, just twelve miles north of Salzburg. Even today, calling Arnsdorf a village is a stretch. …

Donato Cabrera

Music Director of the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic

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