Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

We all have different combinations of musical influence. I take my dose of Beethoven in the morning and Mozart in the evening. After listening to enough of them, I've worked out which sounds better or what have you. But, it didn't start off as simply listening to all their music. I've gotten to know the people behind the music, and some of them have become my heroes.

As a person on the autism spectrum, I cling to the possibility that great men in musical history were also "Aspies" themselves. Although there's no way to ever work that out without a time machine, the quirkier ones captured my attention:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

(note: I am not diagnosing, nor am I endorsing the idea that he should be diagnosed, with an autism spectrum disorder) Hands down, the historical Mozart is more than just a hero to me; he's my champion. This man lived and died for music within a career that spanned for most of his life. Not only that, I believe that his special talents and quirks make him genuine and believable as a person: he could memorize and perform entire piano pieces from memory, as well as improvise (which is something that I may never learn how to do myself). Letters written about him describe his laughter as annoying like nails on a blackboard, which I find simply adorable. And I didn't even mention the music that he wrote himself!

Glenn Gould

Now, I've seen video footage of this man playing piano: the repetitive swaying of his upper body, his humming (even in the recording studio!), and his jerking hand motions. I also know a lot about autism spectrum disorders (although I am in no way qualified to diagnose people with them). I concur with some people who were close to him that there was something going on with him besides genius. Look up some videos of him performing live and you'll see what I'm talking about.

So, obviously, I have my reasons for admiring these people. What about you? Who are your heroes of music?

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Comment by Gav Brown on March 21, 2012 at 7:30pm

Bach, Chopin, Joplin, Ravel, Gerswhin, Sondheim, Black Sabbath, John Williams, Yes, Lemon Jelly.

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