April 30 in Music History

today

. 1717 ~ Guillaume Gommaire Kennis, composer

. 1792 ~ Johann Friedrich Schwencke, composer

. 1837 ~ Alfred Gaul, composer

. 1852 ~ Anton Rubinstein’s opera “Dmitri Donskoi”, premiered in St Petersburg

OCMS 1870 ~ Franz Lehar, Austrian composer of operettas. He achieved worldwide recognition for “The Merry Widow”.
More information about Lehar

. 1883 ~ David John de Lloyd, composer

. 1884 ~ Albert Israel Elkus, composer

. 1885 ~ The Boston Pops Orchestra forms

. 1885 ~ Luigi Russolo, composer

. 1886 ~ Frank Merrik, composer

. 1900 ~ Train engineer Casey Jones was killed when trying to save the Cannonball Express as it highballed its way through Vaughn, MS. The famous song about Jones is based on this train accident.

. 1903 ~ Victor Records made its first Red Seal recording this day. The premiere disk featured Ada Crossley, an opera contralto.

. 1916 ~ Robert Shaw, American conductor, Robert Shaw Chorale; music director of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

. 1923 ~ Percy Heath, Jazz musician: bass: founder of Modern Jazz Quartet, The Heath Brothers

. 1933 ~ Willie Nelson, American country-music singer, songwriter and guitarist

. 1940 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his band recorded the bandleader’s signature song, Contrasts, for Decca Records. The song went on to become one of the most familiar big band themes of the era.

. 1941 ~ Johnny Farina, Musician: rhythm guitar with Santo & Johnny

. 1943 ~ Bobby Vee (Velline), Singer

. 1944 ~ Richard Schoff, Singer with The Sandpipers

. 1953 ~ Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle became a team this day at Capitol Records in Hollywood. Sinatra’s new musical style, under Riddle’s direction, brought the crooner to the top of the record world for the second time in his illustrious career.

. 1953 ~ Merrill Osmond, Singer with The Osmonds: Alan, Donny, Jay, Marie, Wayne,Jimmy

. 1954 ~ Darius Milhaud’s Fourth Concerto for piano and orchestra premiered in Haifa

. 1956 ~ Richard Farina, folk singer: Reflections in a Crystal Wind

. 1983 ~ Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) passed away.  He was an American blues musician.

. 1987 ~ Three more compact discs of music by The Beatles went on sale for the first time. The discs were Help!, Rubber Soul and Revolver. All became hits again for the Fab Four.

. 2000 ~ Bill Woods, a band leader who helped Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and other country music stars launch their careers, died. He was 76. In the 1950s, Woods ran The Blackboard country music club in Bakersfield. The club attracted many country music stars and helped develop what became known as the Bakersfield Sound. Woods also could play many instruments, including piano, guitar, fiddle, drums, and the banjo.

. 2000 ~ Jonah Jones, a Grammy award-winning jazz trumpet player who began his career on a Mississippi riverboat and became a star playing with Cab Calloway, died at the age of 90.

. 2001 ~ Herman “Rock” Johnston, a musician known for his innovative work on steel drums, died of prostate cancer. He was 63. Johnston gained acclaim in the early 1960s with an innovation that stretched the musical range of the instrument from 24 to 36 notes. During his career, the Trinidad native appeared at the United Nations, Lincoln Center and Radio City Musical Hall in New York City, and with the Boston Symphony at its summer festival in Tanglewood. His repertoire spanned rock, spiritual, classical, show tunes and Caribbean folk music.

. 2003 ~ Bill Napier, a clarinetist who rose to prominence with the premier San Francisco jazz bands of the 1940s and 50s, died. He was 76. Napier helped create a catchy West Coast style with a Dixieland sound and a San Francisco vibe. He played with jazz stars including trombonist Turk Murphy, Lu Watters and Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band. Though he took some lessons, Napier essentially taught himself to play. His talent, and his love of music, brought him to an eclectic mix of venues – from cable car turnabouts to halftime of Harlem Globetrotters’ games to Silicon Valley soirees at the height of the dot-com boom. His last show was December 30, 2002.

Duke Ellington’s Birthday

ellington-bd
Duke Ellington (1899 to 1974) was a composer, bandleader, and pianist. He was born Edward Kennedy Ellington in Washington, D.C.

From an early age, the handsome, sharply dressed teenager (that’s where he got the nickname, Duke) was headed for success. At first it was art. He won a poster-design contest and an art scholarship, left school and started a sign-painting business. But it was his natural piano-playing ability that attracted the young women, so Duke Ellington headed in that direction. He developed his keyboard skills by listening to local black ragtime pianists; he composed his first piece, Soda Fountain Rag, around 1915. A successful professional musician by the early 1920s, he left Washington in the spring of 1923 for New York, which was his home base for the rest of his life. Between December 1927 and 1931 his orchestra held forth at Harlem’s Cotton Club, where regular radio broadcasts, together with an active recording schedule, helped him establish a nationwide reputation. Take the “A” Train was his “signature song”.

In such compositions as Black and Tan Fantasy (1927), Mood Indigo (1930),Solitude (1934), and Echoes of Harlem (1935), Ellington emerged as a distinctive composer for his ensemble, employing the rhythms, harmonies, and tone colors of jazz to create pieces that vividly captured aspects of the African-American experience. At the same time, he sought to broaden jazz’s expressive range and formal boundaries in such extended works asReminiscing in Tempo (1935), Black, Brown, and Beige (1943), and Harlem(1951).

An essential feature of Ellington’s composing method was to write with specific instrumentalists in mind, often drawing them into the creative process by building entire pieces out of their musical ideas.

He wrote scores for big band pieces, film scores, operas, ballets, Broadway shows, gospel music, musicals, films, television, and ballet and in the 1960s produced a series of sacred concerts combining his orchestra, choirs, vocalists, and dancers. He would work with each section of his orchestra as an entity unto its own and then bring them together to create the unique sounds such as, Mood Indigo. Over 1,000 musical pieces are credited to the great Duke Ellington. James Lincoln Collier studied the Duke and his Orchestra, comparing Duke Ellington to a “master chef who plans the menus, trains the assistants, supervises them, tastes everything, adjusts the spices … and in the end we credit him with the result.”

Ellington was successful, as few others have been, in reconciling the practical function of a popular entertainer with the artistic aspirations of a serious composer. His rich legacy consists of hundreds of recordings, his many pieces that have entered the standard repertory, and his musical materials now preserved in the Duke Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. There is a statue of Duke Ellington in New York.

 Ellington’s birthday

 anniversary of Ellington’s death

Ellington’s works were played in an Grammy Winning performance, Forty-Second Annual Awards

Read quotes by and about Ellington

 News Item about Ellington

April 29 in Music History

today

 

OCMS 1879 ~ Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor. Founded the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947 and did much to promote the works of Delius, Sibelius and Richard Strauss.
Read quotes by and about Beecham

. 1895 ~ Sir Malcolm Sargent, English conductor, born. He was in charge of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from 1942 until 1948 and of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1950 until 1957.

OCMS 1899 ~ Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist, bandleader and composer
Read quotes by and about Ellington
More information about Ellington
Grammy winner

. 1913 ~ Donald Mills, Singer with The Mills Brothers.

. 1925 ~ Danny Davis (George Nowland), Grammy Award-winning bandleader with Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass. Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1969, Country Music Awards Instrumental Group of the Year 1969 to 1974

. 1927 ~ Carl Gardner, Singer with The Coasters

. 1931 ~ (Anthony James) Lonnie Donegan, Folk singer, musician: guitar, banjo

. 1933 ~ Rod McKuen, Singer, poet-song writer

. 1936 ~ Zubin Mehta, Indian conductor, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and violinist

. 1936 ~ April Stevens (Carol Lo Tempio), Singer

. 1943 ~ Duane Allen, Singer with the Oak Ridge Boys

. 1947 ~ Tommy James (Jackson), Singer with Tommy James and The Shondells

. 1949 ~ Francis Rossi, Musician, guitar and singer with Status Quo

. 1968 ~ Hair made its way from Greenwich Village to Broadway. The show certainly opened eyes. It was the first time that actors appeared nude in a Broadway musical. Hair ran for 1,844 shows on and off Broadway. It was even more successful in its London run later. Big songs from the show: Hair (The Cowsills) and Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The 5th Dimension).

. 1969 ~ Sir Duke, Duke Ellington, celebrated his 70th birthday. He was honored with the presentation of the Medal of Freedom, the U.S. government’s highest civilian honor.

. 2001 ~ Opera diva Rita Nellie Hunter, a powerful soprano celebrated for her fine Wagnerian performances, died at the age of 67. Hunter, originally from Wallasey, England, was best remembered as the quintessential Brunnhilde of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, which she performed in London, New York, Germany and Sydney. Hunter’s agile voice led her through performances of Verdi’s “Aida,” and “Macbeth,” Puccini’s “Turandot” and Strauss’ challenging “Elektra.” Despite her remarkable voice, Hunter did not reach international stardom. Her physical size, at a time when the opera was seeking slimmer performers, and the fact that she sang roles primarily in English, kept her from achieving global fame. Hunter married tenor John Darnley Thomas in 1960, and after his death in 1994, took over management of his Singing Academy in Sydney.

April 28 in Music History

today

. 1870 ~ Hermann Suter, Swiss composer and conductor

. 1871 ~ Louise Homer, American opera singer, contralto at the NY Metropolitan Opera House

. 1892 ~ John Jacob Niles, Composer

. 1917 ~ “Papa” John Creach, Singer

. 1920 ~ Nan Merriman, American mezzo-soprano

. 1940 ~ Pennsylvania 6-5000, the classic Glenn Miller signature song, was recorded on Bluebird Records.

. 1940 ~ Luisa Tetrazzini, Italian soprano, died.

. 1941 ~ Ann-Margaret, Entertainer

. 1950 ~ Jay Leno, TV personality

 

. 1987 ~ For the first time, a compact disc of an album was released before its vinyl counterpart. The Art of Excellence by Tony Bennett, his first recorded work in a decade, went on sale.

. 2001 ~ Evelyn Kuenneke, a Berlin singer and cabaret artist whose tune Sing Nightingale Sing was a hit among German soldiers during World War II, died of lung cancer at the age of 79. Kuenneke started out as a dancer at Berlin’s State Opera in the late 1930s. When the Nazis banned her from appearing in cabaret shows under her artist name Evelyn King in 1939, she turned to movies and pop songs that also took her on the wartime military entertainment circuit. With the war started by Adolf Hitler in full fury, Kuenneke scored her biggest success in 1941 with Sing Nightingale Sing, a nostalgia-laced ditty set to a slow swing beat. She continued her career after the war with pop recordings and films, dropping out of the public eye in the 1960s but staging a comeback in the 1970s. Since then, she regularly appeared on stage in small productions or variety shows until a few months ago. Born Dec. 15, 1921 in Berlin, Kuenneke was the daughter of German operetta composer Eduard Kuenneke and the opera singer Katarina Krapotkin.

. 2002 ~ Noel Da Costa, a composer and professor at Rutgers University, died. He was 82. Da Costa also wrote music that drew from African folk music. His piece, Primal Rites, was performed in 1983 by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under John Williams, with Max Roach as the soloist. Born in Nigeria, Da Costa’s family moved to Harlem as a young boy. He attended Queens College and Columbia University. He won a Fulbright Scholarship to study music with Luigi Dallapiccola in Florence, Italy. Da Costa joined the faculty of Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J. in 1970 after teaching for the city universities of New York. He retired from Rutgers last year.

April 27 in Music History

today

. 1867 ~ Charles Gounod’s opera “Romeo et Juliette” was first performed, in Paris.

. 1894 ~ Nicholas Slonimsky, Russian-born American musicologist, musical lexicographer and composer

. 1871 ~ Sigismond Thalberg died.  He was a composer and one of the most famous virtuoso pianists of the 19th century.

. 1931 ~ Igor Oistrakh, Violinist

. 1932 ~ Maxine (Ella) Brown, Singer

. 1933 ~ Calvin Newborn, Jazz/blues guitarist, brother of piano wizard Phineas Newborn Jr.

. 1938 ~ Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded I Hadn’t Anyone ’til You for Victor Records. Jack Leonard was featured as vocalist.

. 1941 ~ Judith Blegan, American soprano

. 1944 ~ Cuba Gooding, Singer

. 1947 ~ Pete Ham, Musician, guitar, piano, singer

. 1948 ~ Kate Pierson, Musician, organ, singer with the B-52s

. 1959 ~ Sheena Easton, Singer

. 1959 ~ Lloyd Price’s song, Personality, was released. Price had 10 songs that made it on the nation’s pop music charts in the 1950s through early 1960s.

. 1970 ~ Mariah Carey, Singer

. 1976 ~ Maxine Nightingale received a gold record for the single, Right Back Where We Started From. Nightingale was in the productions of Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell and Savages in the early ’70s. Right Back Where We Started From was a number two hit for two weeks in 1976.

. 1981 ~ Former Beatle Ringo Starr married Barbara Bach at the Marylebone Registry Office in London. Paul McCartney and wife Linda, George Harrison and Harry Nilsson were in attendance.

. 1999 ~ Jazz trumpet great Al Hirt died

. 2002 ~ Classical violinist Guila Bustabo died at the age of 86. Bustabo, born in Manitowoc, Wis., in 1916, toured Europe and Asia, performing under such conductors as Herbert von Karajan and Wilhelm Furtwangler. Bustabo studied at the Juilliard School in New York before moving to Paris. During her career, she recorded concertos by Beethoven and Bruch with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Bustabo was arrested in Paris after World War II, accused of being a Nazi sympathizer because she played under conductor Willem Mengelberg. Mengelberg had been affiliated with musical associations sanctioned by the Nazi Party. The accusation against Bustabo was eventually dropped.

April 26 in Music History

today

. 1813 ~ Fredrich von Flotow, German composer
More information about von Flotow

. 1886 ~ Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett), American blues, jazz and vaudeville singer

. 1900 ~ Joseph Fuchs, American violinist

. 1924 ~ Teddy Edwards (Theodore Marcus), Jazz musician, tenor sax

. 1936 ~ Carol Burnett, Entertainer

. 1938 ~ Duane Eddy, Singer

. 1938 ~ Maurice Williams, Singer, songwriter

. 1941 ~ Claudine Clark, Singer

. 1942 ~ Bobby Rydell, American rock-and-roll singer and drummer

. 1970 ~ The musical, Company, opened on Broadway. It ran for 705 performances at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. Company starred Elaine Stritch.

. 1975 ~ On top of the Billboard popular music chart was B.J. Thomas, with the longest title ever for a number one song. (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song was number one for one week, though it took that long just to say the title.

. 1978 ~ An updated version of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper appeared on television. In the lead role (his first TV special), was former Beatle, Ringo Starr. He sang new versions of Act Naturally, Yellow Submarine and With a Little Help from My Friends.

. 1984 ~ Count Basie (William Basie), U.S. jazz pianist and big band leader who led his orchestra from 1937, died.

April 25 in Music History

today

. 1906 ~ John Knowles Paine died.  He was the first American-born composer to achieve fame for large-scale orchestral music.

. 1913 ~ Earl Bostic, Saxophonist, bandleader

. 1915 ~ Italo Tajo, Italian bass

. 1915 ~ Sal Franzella, Jazz musician, alto sax, clarinet

. 1918 ~ Ella Fitzgerald, American Grammy Award-winning singer (12), jazz and popular music. She was discovered at age 16 at an amateur night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and went on to work with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

. 1923 ~ Albert King, American blues singer and guitarist

. 1923 ~ Melissa Hayden (Mildred Herman), Ballerina with the New York City Ballet

. 1926 ~ Arturo Toscanini conducted the first performance of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Turandot” at La Scala, Milan.

. 1932 ~ Gator (Willis) Jackson, Composer, tenor sax, invented the gator horn

. 1933 ~ Jerry Leiber, Record producer with Mike Stoller

. 1945 ~ Stu Cook, Bass with Creedence Clearwater Revival

. 1945 ~ Bjorn Ulvaeus, Musician, guitar, singer with Abba

. 1946 ~ The popular Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra recorded Cement Mixer for Majestic records, tapes and CDs this day. Well, not tapes and CDs. We were still listening to 78s back then … thick, heavy ones, at that.

. 1956 ~ The rock ‘n roll legend, Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel went No.1.

. 1970 ~ DJs around the U.S. played the new number one song, ABC, quite often, as the Jackson 5 reached the number one spot in pop music for two weeks. ABC was the second of four number one songs in a row for the group from Gary, IN. I Want You Back was their first. ABC was one of 23 hits for Michael, Tito, Jackie, Jermaine and Marlon. ABC was knocked out of first place by The Guess Who and their hit, American Woman.

. 1973 ~ The group, The Sweet, received a gold record for the hit Little Willy. The English rocker band recorded four hits in addition to their first million- seller, Ballroom Blitz, Fox on the Run, Action and Love is like Oxygen. Little Willy was a top-three hit, while the group’s other gold record winner, Fox on the Run made it to the top five.

. 2000 ~ David Merrick, one of Broadway’s most flamboyant and successful theatrical producers who created “Gypsy,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “42nd Street,” died in London at the age of 88. During his long career as arguably Broadway’s most successful producer, Merrick won all the major theatrical awards, including 10 Tony Awards just for “Hello, Dolly!” He was best-known for his musicals but he produced many non-musicals as well.