Musical Leap Year Babies

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Famous Leap Year Day babies are rare, although among the composers Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868; RISM Catalog | RISM Online) is very well known. But the RISM database has many more people who celebrate their birthdays on February 29.

The English composer Humphrey Bralesford (1658-1733; RISM Catalog | RISM Online) has almost only manuscripts for services in RISM, which are kept at the library of Canterbury Cathedral.

Adolf Schimon (1820-1887; RISM Catalog | RISM Online) is a true European: Born in Vienna, he studied in Paris and later lived and worked in Florence, London, Leipzig, and Munich.

Fernand Mertens (1872-1957; RISM Catalog | RISM Online) was born in Belgium but spent almost his whole life in Luxemburg.

The life of Wladimir Vogel (1896-1984; RISM Catalog | RISM Online) was marked by both world wars. He was born in Moscow and during the First World War his family fled to Berlin. Due to his political activities and his mother’s Jewish faith, he emigrated to Switzerland after a long odyssey through Europe.

The princely organ-builder Johann Nicolaus Langenhan (1756-1809; RISM Catalog | RISM Online) appears in RISM as former owner of the manuscripts of several preludes and fugues by Johann Peter Kellner.

The Brussels violinist and maître à danser Ferdinand-Joseph Cupis (1684-1757; RISM Catalog | RISM Online) was baptized on 29 February 1684, and was active as a dancer at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels before moving to Paris.

In addition, the French music publisher Gustave Legouix (1844-1916; RISM Catalog | RISM Online), the Czech writer Josef Svatopluk Machar (1864-1942; RISM Catalog | RISM Online), and Pope Paul III (1468-1549; RISM Catalog | RISM Online) were all born on February 29. The pope is in RISM as a dedicatee in the second book of masses by Cristobal Morales.

There are also some people in RISM who died on February 29:

Image: Gioachino Rossini, Engraving, Porträtsammlung Manskopf, Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main, Signatur S 36/G02069

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