Composers and Cars

When stuck on a long flight, my imagination tends to get out of hand. I thought it would be fun to speculate what kind of car some of our favorite composers would have driven.

David Yang, Artistic Director

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827, Germany)
1972 Plymouth Satellite Custom
Completely badass, powerful, rebel

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791, Austria)
1960 Fiat 500
Fun, playful, quick, iconic

Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809, Austria)
1960 VW camper van (with surfboard)
For those who love life

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975, Soviet Union)
1970 Trabant 601
Best vehicle to avoid attention from the authorities

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750, Germany)
1990 Chrysler Town and Country
Twenty children on a provincial Kappelmeister’s salary?
A simple minivan, no frills.

Philip Glass (b. 1937, United States)
1969 Checker Cab
He actually drove a Checker cab in NYC in the 70s

Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741, Italy)
2023 Alfa Giulia
Raw and fast, an Italian attention-grabber

Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897, Germany)
1953 Mercedes 300 Cabriolet D
Powerful, complex, unmistakably romantic

Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990, United States)
1967 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Volante
Lenny’s actual car. Is anyone surprised?

Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957, Finland)
1961 Saab 96
Quirky and utterly unique, makes you feel small
in the presence of immense natural forces

Aaron Copland (1900 – 1990, United States)
1940 Ford Deluxe Rockville
As American as apple pie

Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937, France)
1960 Citroën DS
Mais bien sûr!

Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924, Italy)
Mr. Softee Truck
Sweet and delicious, everyone loves Mr. Softee

Arnold Schoenberg (1875 - 1951, Austria)
1937 LaSalle
Herr Doktor Schoenberg’s actual car when he lived in L.A.
(although he never actually learned to drive)

John Cage (1912 – 1992, United States)
1974 electric Citicar
Undeterred by mockery and ahead of his time

Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934, England)
2023 Range Rover
Stuffy but strong and oh so British

Béla Bartók (1881 – 1945, Hungary)
Stubborn and doesn’t give a $&%* whether you like him or not
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