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Born in Danbury Connecticut on October 20 1874 Charles Ives pursued what is perhaps one of the most extraordinary and paradoxical careers in American music history Businessman by day and composer by night Ivess vast output has gradually brought him recognition as the most original and significant American composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries Inspired by transcendentalist philosophy Ives sought a highly personalized musical expression through the most innovative and radical technical means possible A fascination with bi-tonal forms polyrhythms and quotation was nurtured by his father who Ives would later acknowledge as the primary creative influence on his musical style Ironically much of Ivess work would not be heard until his virtual retirement from music and business in 1930 due to severe health problems The conductor Nicolas Slonimsky music critic Henry Bellamann pianist John Kirkpatrick and the composer Lou Harrison who conducted the premiere of the Symphony No 3 played a key role in introducing Ivess music to a wider audience Henry Cowell was perhaps the most significant figure in fostering public and critical attention for Ivess music publishing several of the composers works in his New Music Quarterly The American composer Charles Ives learned a great deal from his bandmaster father George Ives and a love of the music of Bach At the same time he was exposed to a variety of very American musical influences later reflected in his own idiosyncratic compositions Ives was educated at Yale and made a career in insurance reserving his activities as a composer for his leisure hours Ironically by the time that his music had begun to arouse interest his own inspiration and energy as a composer had waned so that for the last thirty years of his life he wrote little while his reputation grew The symphonies of Ives include music essentially American in inspiration and adventurous in structure and texture collages of America expressed in a
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