Arnold Schoenberg (13 September 1874 – 13 July 1951)
I've been spending a lot of time with Schoenberg the past few weeks, listening to many of his major works and reading his Letters, Style and Idea, and The Schoenberg Reader. I've even been toying around with Op.19 on the piano. Next, I plan to dive into his mammoth harmony textbook cum polemic, Harmonielehre (in English, of course). Most people find his music to be horribly ugly, but I love it. And his writings are fascinating glimpses into the mind of a true genius. Let's all sprechstimme a chorus of "Happy Birthday" to Mr. Schoenberg, the father of Modern-with-a-capital-M music.