Why this database?
First of all the DISCLAIMER: All material presented in this database is freely available to everybody. To the best of my knowledge nothing in it violates copyright regulations. Should somebody, however, find anything that should not be in the database, please let me know, and I will remove it.
To the best of my knowledge, the sound files and images published on this web site have been published with the permission of their respective copyright holders, or are in public domain. I you think this is not correct, please let me know.
I tried to be very careful composing these pages, but there may of course still be mistakes in them. I cannot be held responsible for the effects of those possible errors. Use the information offered here at your own risk. Of course I am not responsible for other people's pages that I linked to my database.
One of the problems of the Internet is that the information on it is not too well ordered. This of course also counts for information about Classical Composers. This is an attempt to do something about that.
It is my goal to make this a starting place for looking for information on any classical composer, long dead or still living, famous or not at all (yet) so famous. It is not my intention to store all information at this site, but just to provide some basic data, and then link to as many pages at different sites as possible (which will probably be difficult for the less famous composers, but who knows...). I might start my own pages about some of my favourite composers; you will notice soon enough.
As it takes time to build up a database on such an extensive subject, I have first collected as many composers as I could think of, with their places and dates of birth and death, and put them in one big list. Actually, I put them in several short lists, to make searching a bit easier. Every composer gets its own page, where there will be room for more information (life, important works, pictures, links to other sites, and audio (MIDI) files).
The database was started at the end of 1995, and since then I had many reactions on it. Many people have sent their contributions and comments. A few people were disappointed in the information found here, but luckily more people reacted enthousiastically. In the beginning, only few composers had data on their works and lives or links to other sites, but their number grew, and is still growing, steadily. Your contributions and (positive!) reactions will certainly encourage me to make this a better and better database. I will fill more pages when I have time and inspiration.
And then there is this: I do this just as a hobby - I have a full-time job - and there is more to do in life, like making music, and listening to it! Also I would like to get some fresh air every now and then. So please do not be too hard on me if all this is going to take some more time than we would all like. [However, this changed in 2005, see below.]
...and remember, you can help: if you know any links to classical composers pages, or if you think you have any information about some of the composers in my list (especially the more obscure), or know of a composer that should be added, or if you think you found a mistake (I am only human, and my resources need not be flawless), or have any other useful information (maybe you would even want to thank me;-), please let me know!
Around February 1999 this database was restyled completely. Also I made the way to maintain the database more flexible. This was quite an operation, which I had been planning for quite some time. But as a result, from then on updating the database would be easier, and also more information could be drawn from it.
In the cause of 2000 I drastically changed the way this database works. I now use CGI scripts for almost all pages. This makes retrieving the information even more flexible. Side effect is that the old composer pages are no longer available. They are replaced by a redirect page. Someday these pages will also disappear!
In about August 2002 I moved the whole database to a new web host provider. The old one became too slow and unreliable; also they started to complain about the resources my site used on their system. Thus I had to spend some money to continue this project. Luckily, the affiliate programs I joined brought me some way to pay this. All links on the old host were redirected to the new host. Also I was now able to use my own domain name: www.classical-composers.org.
During the year 2003 I added more style sheets to my site. You can now select the presentation you like best. Another thing was that I actively began to ask for pictures of the composers, which I could put on my site. I was glad to notice that this worked very well; many people started to send me pictures. This gave me some extra work too...
Some bad luck occurred during my vacation in 2003. When I came back the website had disappeared! Due to a misunderstanding the automatic payment for the hosting had failed, and because I did not reply to the warning e-mails (I normally don't check mail on vacations), my hosting company had disabled the site. Luckily this was quickly solved, but the site had been offline for a fortnight!
Some significant improvement was made on 12 November 2003, when I installed my own full-text search for the database. Thus I could replace the Pico search I had used for some time. I had reached its maximum number of indexed pages. Some time before that I also included a Quick Search for composers at the top of every page.
Big changes in 2005, the year this site existed 10 years. I completely rebuilt the site, adding many new features. Also I am trying to make a living with this project.
Later updates can be found in the newsletter archive.