April 28 ~ This Day 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.

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