Our greatest connection to a composer is through his music. And as a lot of the music we listen to is so exceptional, it is easy to imagine that the person who created it is also entirely exceptional. While there is no doubt they would have had exceptional musical talent and artistic insight, this almost makes it impossible for us to look at the other parts of their personality and life. Here is a rare photo collection of some famous composers showing some interesting aspects of their day-to-day activities.
Jean Sibelius having an afternoon tea.
Leonard Bernstein going for a swim in Israel.
George Gershwin painting a picture of Arnold Schoenberg.
Manuel de Falla checking out a menu.
Johannes Brahms having a picnic with violinist Marie Soldat and a couple other ladies.
Giacomo Puccini at the Brooklyn Bridge.
John Corigliano having a beer with an eland.
John Philip Sousa reading daily news.
György Ligeti pouring water on Pierre-Laurent Aimard on a train.
Gustav Mahler at a party.
Antonín Dvořák having a picnic with his family.
Béla Bartók looking trim.
Edward Elgar smoking a cigarette with his dog Marco.
Heitor Villa-Lobos playing billiards.
Samuel Barber smoking under a tree.
Erik Satie having a drink.
Dmitri Shostakovich showing off his billiard skills.
Duke Ellington playing baseball.
Morton Feldman playing cards on a train.
Jules Massenet petting his dog.
Gian Carlo Menotti walking his dog in the rain.
Anton Webern bowling.
John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen flying a cartoon plane.
Sergei Prokofiev playing chess against violinist David Oistrakh with violinist Liza Gilels watching.
Theodor Adorno at the beach.
Camille Saint-Saëns wearing some fancy pajamas.
Zoltán Kodály playing with his children.
Aaron Copland eating an ice cream cone.
Sergei Rachmaninoff cutting his birthday cake.
Benjamin Britten playing tennis.
Krzysztof Penderecki doing yardwork.
Arnold Schoenberg and Winfried Zillig rocking one piece bathing suits.
Pierre Boulez and Simon Rattle chatting at a party in 1989.
Ruth Crawford Seeger chopping wood on a beach with Carl Sandburg.
Richard Wagner with his family.
Tchaikovsky with his family.
Olivier Messiaen with his son, Pascal.
Claude Debussy holding an umbrella on a beach.
Paul Hindemith at an early age playing with a toy carriage.
Arvo Pärt and Alfred Schnittke reenact their high school yearbook photos.
Giuseppe Verdi at a garden party surrounded by friends.
Ennio Morricone playing some ping-pong.
Richard Strauss playing cards.
Igor Stravinski rocking a speedo.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky properly dressed for winter.
Igor Stravinsky having breakfast.
All photos © their original photographers