Subject: Sir Edward Elgar
Born: June 2, 1857 in Broadheath, Worcester
Died: February 23, 1934 of intestinal cancer
Known for: beautiful melodies, music that can change from expansive to introspective as quickly as a cloud coming over the sun.
Child prodigy? Not particularly. Elgar studied music as a child. He was a fine violinist and made a living teaching music, but he did not receive widespread public acclaim as a composer until he was in his forties.
Contribution to music: Elgar was the first composer to understand the importance of audio recording, which was just emerging as a new technology. He recorded most of his works first on wax discs and later using electric microphones.
Happy or neurotic?: Happy. Elgar was happily married and had one child. When his wife Alice died in 1920 Elgar was devastated. At that point his productivity in composing slowed to a trickle with many works originating from sketches he had written earlier in his life.
Strange fact: Elgar had numerous hobbies including bicycling, soccer, and chemistry.