The concert piano, known in classical music circles as CD 503, was chosen specifically for Horowitz and presented in 1941. It was in his home until it was shipped to Russia when he made his triumphant return to the homeland he left in the 1920s.
Without Horowitz, the piano has traveled to from Fort Worth to Philadelphia and Florence, Ky. It’s made stops in London, Vancouver, Kansas City, Pensacola, Fla., Cleveland, Berlin and scores of other cities, large and small. There is no official estimate of how many individuals have played it, only a guess of “thousands.”
“It’s scheduled to be in our Chicago studios for just six weeks,” said Rhapsody Snyder, a Steinway employee and manager of this portion of the tour. “I’m not sure where it goes next, but don’t worry: It weighs between 700 and 800 pounds, but we move pianos every day.”
It is tuned for every performance, but there are standing orders that the piano’s “voice” will never be altered. It sounds today as it sounded when Horowitz played it.
. 1859 ~ Daniel Emmett introduced I Wish I was in Dixie’s Land (later named Dixie) in New York City. Just two years later, the song became the Civil War song of the Confederacy.
. 1875 ~ Pierre Monteux, French conductor, famed for his interpretation of early 20th century music, he conducted the first performances of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe.”
. 1891 ~ Distinguished American actor Edwin Booth made his final stage appearance in a production of Hamlet at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
. 1922 ~ Elmer Bernstein, Composer of Academy Award-winning film scores: Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967); Sudden Fear, The Man with the Golden Arm, Ten Commandments, Sweet Smell of Success, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Walk on the Wild Side and The Magnificent Seven
. 1938 ~ After seven years of singing on the radio, Kate Smith began a new noontime talk show.
. 1939 ~ Glenn Miller recorded his theme song, Moonlight Serenade, for Bluebird Records. Previously, the Miller theme had been Gone with the Dawn and, before then, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
. 1939 ~ Hugh Masakela, Trumpeter
. 1946 ~ Serge Leiferkus, Russian baritone
. 1954 ~ Maestro Arturo Toscanini conducted his last concert with the NBC Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Toscanini ended a 17-year association with the orchestra.
. 1964 ~ The Beatles set an all-time record on the Top 100 chart of Billboard magazine this day. All five of the top songs were by the British rock group. In addition, The Beatles also had the number one album as Meet the Beatles continued to lead all others. The LP was the top album from February 15 through May 2, when it was replaced by The Beatles Second Album. It was estimated at the time that The Beatles accounted for 60 percent of the entire singles record business during the first three months of 1964. The top five singles by The Beatles this day were:
1) Can’t Buy Me Love
2) Twist and Shout
3) She Loves You
4) I Want to Hold Your Hand
5) Please Please Me
. 1968 ~ Bobby Goldsboro received a gold record for the single, Honey. The poignantly sad song charted for 13 weeks, spending five weeks at number one. Goldsboro produced a total of 11 hits on the pop charts in the 1960s and 1970s. Honey was his only million seller and only number one hit.
. 1994 ~ Ginny Simms passed away. She was an American popular singer and film actress.
. 2000 ~ Blues singer Mary Smith McClain, better known to fans as “Diamond Teeth Mary,” died in St. Petersburg, Fla. She was believed to have been 97 or 98. McClain was a teen-ager posing as a boy when she hopped a train in her native West Virginia to begin a new life as a traveling blues musician more than 80 years earlier. She went from singing at carnivals with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels to the Chicago Blues Festival, New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Europe. She sang with such music greats as B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. McClain, who once had diamonds set in her teeth, was considered the world’s oldest-performing true blues musician, appearing at local clubs until two weeks before her death.