10/20/1874 - 5/19/1954
Born in America
Charles Ives was born in Danbury, Connecticut just nine years after the end of the Civil War. All the members of the Ives family were successful business people, except for Charlie's father George. George Ives was a band director and music teacher who loved to experiment with sound. Those experiments had a big influence on the music that Charlie wrote when he grew up.
As a kid, Charlie was already an excellent musician. He got his first paying job as an organist when he was only 14. But that doesn't mean he didn't do regular kid stuff, too. Charlie loved sports, especially baseball and football.
Charles Ives did not become a professional composer. Instead, he was a highly successful businessman in the early days of life insurance. But Ives spent all his evenings and weekends doing what he really loved, namely composing. Ives never tried to please anyone else with his music -- he did exactly what he liked. As a result, and because of his father's influence, Ives wrote music that was totally different from anyone else's. In fact, his music was way ahead of its time.