10 Composers in fast cars

10 Composers in fast cars


norman lebrecht

September 11, 2014

rachmaninov car

Rachmaninov takes the wheel

puccini car

Puccini waits for driver

schoenberg car

Schoenberg shows the wife

britten car

Britten takes the boys out for a ride


prokofiev car

Prokofiev (2l.) takes a lesson


Alban Berg takes a spin with Alma Mahler

copland car

Copland changes a wheel

john cage car

John Cage gets child-locked


Kurt Weill, back fender driver

Richard-Strauss mercedes

Richard Strauss drove a Mercedes.


Any more?



  • steve says:

    Delightful, but can we be so sure that these cars were ‘fast’? …they look quite stately to me. Design-wise,the modern car is anodyne in comparison (except Fiat) notwithstanding the cowering to the oil industry.

  • PJ says:

    Larger formats please!

  • Hank Drake says:

    If I remember correctly, Rachmaninoff toured the United States in 1909 (where he premiered his Third Concerto) to earn enough money to buy an automobile.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    What, no picture of Richard Cartwright?

  • M. T. Anderson says:

    Prokofiev was a hasty driver at first — until he bowled over a few unfortunate bicyclists on the way to Monte Carlo. After that, he was painfully slow and cautious, supposedly. Ah, all these Futurists who began their careers with joy in speed and the loud action of pistons — and then had to put on the brakes in the Thirties …

  • Keith Redwood says:

    It is Vladimir Dukelsky (Vernon Duke) at the wheel. Prokofiev appears to be the tutor.

  • Bruys says:

    When cars are mentioned, I think of Sir John Tavener, as almost every article I’ve read about him noted that he liked cars. It’s funny that I’ve never seen a photograph of him with one.

  • Greg from SF says:

    I LOVE these old photos! I am totally digging Prokofiev – or Vernon Duke (whoever he is, he looks like he’s going undercover, and he’s got a hot babe waiting for him in the back seat) – and Weill (casual to the point of total coolness)!

    From where can I obtain copies of them, and others like them, in a larger digital format?

  • Keith Redwood says:

    Vladimir Dukelsky,aka Vernon Duke was the composer of ‘April in Paris’ – the ‘hot babe’ is Lina Prokofiev.

  • Jon Jacob says:

    There are two girls in the car with Britten. They’re not all boys as your caption suggests.