February 11 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1830 ~ Peter Arnold Heise, Danish composer

. 1830 ~ Hans Bronsart Von Schellendorf, classical musician, pianist and composer who studied under Franz Liszt

. 1889 ~ John Mills, Guitarist, singer, bass with The Mills Brothers. He was father of the four Mills brothers and took youngest son John, Jr.’s place after his death in 1935

. 1908 ~ Josh White, ‘The Singing Christian’, blues/folk singer, guitarist

. 1912 ~ Rudolf Firkušný, Czech composer, classical pianist

. 1914 ~ Matt Dennis, Pianist, singer, recorded vocals for Paul Whiteman

. 1916 ~ The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra presented its first concert. The symphony was the first by a municipal orchestra to be supported by taxes.

. 1941 ~ Sergio Mendes, Brazilian jazz pianist and composer

. 1935 ~ Gene Vincent (Craddock), Singer, actor

. 1938 ~ Larry Clinton and his orchestra recorded Martha on Victor Records. Bea Wain was heard warbling the vocals on the tune.

. 1939 ~ Gerry Goffin, Lyricist with Carole King and with Michael Masser

. 1940 ~ Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett, Singer

. 1940 ~ NBC radio presented “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” for the first time. The famous Blue network series included several distinguished alumni — among them, Dinah Shore and Zero Mostel. The chairman, or host, of “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street” was Milton Cross. He would say things like, “A Bostonian looks like he’s smelling something. A New Yorker looks like he’s found it.” The show combined satire, blues and jazz and was built around what were called the three Bs of music: Barrelhouse, Boogie Woogie and Blues.

. 1968 ~ The new 20,000 seat Madison Square Garden officially opened in New York. It was the fourth arena to be named Madison Square Garden. The showplace for entertainment and sports opened with a gala show hosted by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.

. 2001 ~ Dame Sonia Arova, a Bulgarian-born ballerina who danced with Rudolf Nureyev, at his request, in his American debut, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 74. Arova was knighted by King Olaf V of Norway, only the second woman to receive that distinction. During her years as founding artistic director of the State of Alabama Ballet, Dame Sonia Arova changed the face of dance in Birmingham. Through a stage career that lasted three decades and a teaching career that occupied three more, she lived and breathed ballet. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Arova began dancing at age 6. By 8, she was studying ballet intensively in Paris. When war broke out in 1940, she escaped the Nazis’ advance with her English piano teacher in a harrowing flight during which their train was machine-gunned by German troops. Arriving in England, Arova was enrolled in an arts school and later joined the International Ballet. In 1965, Arova became artistic director of the Norwegian National Ballet, moved to California in 1971 to co-direct the San Diego Ballet and in 1975 accepted a teaching position at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Maintaining her position at ASFA, she took over the newly formed State of Alabama Ballet in 1981 as artistic director, with her husband, Thor Sutowski, as artistic associate and choreographer. In 1996, the couple returned to San Diego, and she spent her last years with the San Diego Ballet.

. 2003 ~ Moses G. Hogan, 45, a pianist and choral conductor known for his contemporary arrangements of spirituals, died of a brain tumor in New Orleans. He was editor of the Oxford Book of Spirituals, published in 2001 by Oxford University Press. The book has become the U.S. music division’s top seller. Mr. Hogan also toured with his own singing groups, the Moses Hogan Chorale and Moses Hogan Singers. His arrangements, more than 70 of which have been published by the Hal Leonard publishing company, were performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, soprano Barbara Hendricks and countertenor Derek Lee Ragin.

. 2003 ~ William L. “Weemo” Wubbena Jr., 72, a retired Army colonel who sang in Washington area barbershop quartets, died of cancer. Col. Wubbena was born in Marquette, Mich., and raised in Washington. He was a member of the Montgomery County chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America.

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