No lessons today due to the snowy weather.
Those using Piano Maestro may find a new assignment for today 🙂
• 1879 ~ “Bunk” Johnson, American jazz trumpeter
• 1901 ~ Marlene Dietrich, German singer and actress
• 1903 ~ The barbershop quartet favorite, Sweet Adeline, was sung for the first time, in New York City. The song was composed by Henry Armstrong with the words of Richard Gerard. The title of the song came from a theater marquee that promoted the great operatic soprano, Adelina Patti. Now female barbershop quartets call themselves Sweet Adelines.
• 1906 ~ Oscar Levant, American pianist, composer, writer and radio personality
• 1911 ~ Anna Russell, Operatic parodies
• 1927 ~ The Jerome Kern (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics) musical, Show Boat, opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. Its star, Helen Morgan, received excellent reviews from critics of the show; a musical about riverboat show people and their romances and disappointments.
• 1932 ~
Radio City Music Hall, in New York City, opened. It was the largest indoor theater in the world. The gala grand opening show was a six-hour extravaganza that lost half a million dollars within three weeks. The theater has since been renovated to recapture its original decorative charm. An Art Deco cathedral of entertainment, it seats more than 6,200 people and is still a must-see for those visiting New York. During the holiday season, audiences continue to get a kick out of seeing the world- famous Rockettes perform in precision on Radio City Music Hall’s nearly 10,000-square-foot stage which is a combination movie palace and live theater. It remains a showcase for many exciting musical events. It has a seating capacity of 6,200 seats.
• 1939 ~ The Glenn Miller Show, also known as Music that Satisfies, started on CBS radio. The 15-minute, twice-a-week show was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes and was heard for nearly three years.
• 1940 ~ Singer Al Jolson and actress Ruby Keeler were divorced after 12 years of marriage. They had separated a year earlier; but Jolson talked Keeler into co-starring with him in the Broadway show, Hold on to Your Hats. She left the show before the opening and then left the marriage.
• 1941 ~ Leslie Maguire, Pianist with Gerry and The Pacemakers
• 1944 ~ Mick Jones, Guitarist with Foreigner
• 1952 ~ David Knopfler, Guitarist, singer with Dire Straits
• 1953 ~ Elliot Easton (Shapiro), Guitarist with The Cars
• 1975 ~ The Staple Singers reached the top spot on the pop music charts for the second time in their career. This time with Let’s Do It Again. The song, the theme from the movie soundtrack of the same name, was the last hit the group would have. I’ll Take You There was The Staple Singers’ first number one hit (June 3, 1972).
• 1980 ~ The John Lennon hit, (Just Like) Starting Over, began a five-week stay at #1 on the pop charts. The hit was from the album, Double Fantasy. Lennon was murdered on December 8th of that year, as the single and LP had started their climb up the charts.
• 1981 ~ Hoagland “Hoagy” Carmichael, American composer, singer and actor (In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening), died at the age of 82
• 2003 ~ Vestal Goodman, a pioneering gospel music singer who performed for half a century, including a stint on “The PTL Club” with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, died. She was 74. Goodman and her late husband Howard “Happy” Goodman were part of The Happy Goodman Family act, which recorded 15 No. 1 gospel music songs and performed more than 3,500 concerts. In the mid-1980s, the couple were regulars on “The PTL Club” television show starring the Bakkers. They left in 1988 after three years on the show, and were not linked to financial improprieties as others on the show were. The Happy Goodman Family was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998. They were original members of “The Gospel Singing Jubilee” syndicated TV program that was a pioneer in gospel music broadcasting, appearing on more than 100 U.S. stations. The Goodmans sang at the White House in 1979 for President Carter.
• 2003 ~ Bobbie Nell Brookshire Gordon, a singer who toured in the 1970s with jazz great Duke Ellington, died. She was 64. Gordon, a Dayton native, was discovered in 1961 while singing at a bar in her hometown. She performed with pianist Betty Greenwood and had come to the attention of Ellington, the noted bandleader. Gordon toured from 1970 to 1974 with Ellington. A newly released digital video disc of a 1971 performance, “Live at Tivoli Gardens,” includes Gordon singing “Love You Madly” and “One More Time.” Gordon was featured as “Nell Brookshire” with Ellington on the cover of Jet magazine in September 1971.
• 2003 ~ Dick St. John, half of the Dick & Dee Dee duo, whose 1961 hit, The Mountain’s High, made No. 2 on the Billboard pop singles chart, died. He was 63. Dick & Dee Dee’s biggest hit was The Mountain’s High, but they also cracked the Top 25 pop singles chart in 1963 with Young and In Love and 1965’s Thou Shalt Not Steal. St. John, born Richard Gosting, began performing with his friend Mary Sperling in junior high. With St. John as the chief songwriter, the two soon attracted the attention of Liberty Records in Los Angeles. St. John and Sperling, who was renamed Dee Dee by the label, combined elements of doo-wop, soul and R&B in their sound. They toured with the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones. Dick & Dee Dee were semi-regulars on such musical shows as “American Bandstand.” St. John also wrote songs that were recorded by Lesley Gore, Jan and Dean, the Four Seasons and Quincy Jones, and he contributed music to many television shows.
Florence Foster Jenkins was an American socialite and amateur soprano who was known and mocked for her flamboyant performance costumes and notably poor singing ability. The historian Stephen Pile ranked her “the world’s worst opera singer … No one, before or since, has succeeded in liberating themselves quite so completely from the shackles of musical notation.”
Despite (or perhaps because of) her technical incompetence, she became a prominent musical cult figure in New York City during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Cole Porter, Gian Carlo Menotti, Lily Pons, Sir Thomas Beecham, and other celebrities were fans. Enrico Caruso is said to have “regarded her with affection and respect”.
In 2016 Meryl Streep made Jenkins famous (again)
In the 1940s, New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) dreams of becoming a great opera singer. Unfortunately, her ambition far exceeds her talent. The voice Florence hears in her head is beautiful, but to everyone else it is quite lousy. Her husband St. Clair goes to extreme lengths to make sure his wife never finds out how awful she truly is. When Florence announces her plans for a concert at Carnegie Hall, St. Clair soon realizes that he’s facing his greatest challenge yet.
• 1854 ~ Moritz Moszkowski, Polish-born German pianist and composer
More information about Moszkowski
• 1900 ~ Ernst Krenek, Austrian-born American composer, conductor and pianist
• 1905 ~ Constant Lambert, British composer, conductor and writer
• 1912 ~ Gene (Eugene Curran) Kelly, Dancer, actor: Singin’ in the Rain, An American in Paris, Anchors Aweigh, The Three Musketeers, Marjorie Morningstar, Inherit the Wind, North and South Book I; director: Singin’ in the Rain, Hello, Dolly!, A Guide for the Married Man, The Cheyenne Social Club
• 1917 ~ Tex (Sol) Williams, American country-western singer
• 1923 ~ Billy Jones and Ernie Hare, The Happiness Boys, were heard on radio for the first time. The two were billed as radio’s first comedians and were also credited with creating and performing the first singing commercial.
• 1936 ~ Rudy Lewis, Singer with Drifters
• 1942 ~ Patricia McBride, Ballerina: New York City Ballet. For many years she was Mikhail Baryshnikov’s only partner
• 1943 ~ LIFE magazine spotlighted a dance craze that was sweeping the U.S.A., the Lindy Hop
• 1947 ~ Keith Moon, Singer, drummer with The Who
• 1947 ~ Margaret Truman, daughter of U.S. President Harry S Truman, presented her first public concert. Margaret sang before 15,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert did not get great reviews. In fact, the critics didn’t like Margaret’s singing at all. And Margaret’s dad didn’t like the critics, and said so, from the White House.
• 1949 ~ Rick Springfield, Singer
• 1951 ~ Mark Hudson, Singer with The Hudson Brothers
• 1951 ~ Jimi Jamison, Singer with Survivor
• 1953 ~ Bobby G. (Gubby), Singer with Bucks Fizz
• 1962 ~ Shaun Ryder, Singer with Happy Mondays
• 1966 ~ The U.S. premiere of the motion picture Help!, starring The Beatles, was held for thousands of moviegoers wanting to see the group’s first, color, motion picture. Their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, had been produced in black and white.
• 1990 ~ David Rose passed away
• 2001 ~ Kathleen Freeman, a veteran character actress whose face if not her name was known to audiences from television sitcoms, the film classic “Singin’ in the Rain” and Broadway’s “The Full Monty,” died of lung cancer at the age of 82.
Freeman gave her final performance in “The Full Monty”. She played a sassy piano player in the hit musical and earned a Tony nomination in May 2001.
Big, brash and funny were Freeman’s trademarks in playing recalcitrant maids, demented nuns, mouthy housekeepers, battle-ax mothers, irate landladies and nosy neighbors.
Starting in the Golden Age of television, Freeman appeared in such shows as “Topper,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “The Lucy Show,” “The Golden Girls,” “Murphy Brown” and “Married … With Children.”
“This will sound very corny and I’m sorry,” Freeman said last year in an Associated Press interview, “but I have always had the sense I was put here to do this: I am somebody who is around to help the world laugh. I have always had that sense. Corny but absolutely true.”
In “Singin’ in the Rain,” considered by many to be the best movie musical ever made, she played Jean Hagen’s frustrated voice teacher. Among Freeman’s other films were the sci-fi thriller “The Fly,” “The Rounders” with Henry Fonda, “Far Country” with Jimmy Stewart, and “North to Alaska” starring John Wayne. More recently she appeared in “Dragnet,” “Gremlins II,” “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” and both “Blues Brothers” comedies.
Freeman was born in Chicago and was propelled into show business at age 2. Her parents had a vaudeville act, Dixon and Freeman, in which their daughter did a little dance.
Freeman attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where she majored in music and was going to be a classical pianist. Then, she said, “A terrible thing happened. I got in a play and got a laugh. I just said a line and, `boom.”‘
Freeman then worked in many small theater groups, including the Circle Players, acting for such eminent directors – and actors – as Charles Laughton, Charlie Chaplin and Robert Morley.
At the same time, the early 1950s, the television explosion took over Los Angeles. From her first regular sitcom role, as the maid in “Topper,” Freeman went on to do just about every sitcom of the last 50 years.
For all her voluminous credits, Freeman’s stage credits were mostly on the road – touring as Miss Hannigan in “Annie” for 18 months, then in “Deathtrap” and later with Lauren Bacall in “Woman of the Year.”
Her only other Broadway appearance was for five months in the 1978 production of “13 Rue de l’Amore” starring Louis Jordan.
• 2001 ~ Frank Emilio Flynn, a blind pianist and Latin jazz pioneer who performed with many great American jazz artists, died at the age of 80.
Flynn lost his sight at age 13 but continued to study and perform classical works, transcribed into Braille, with the Symphonic Orchestra of Havana.
Flynn’s great passion was jazz, and in the 1950s he developed his own jazz-influenced ballad style, known in Cuba as “feeling.”
Performing with the Quinteto Cubana de Musica Moderno, or Cuban Quintet of Modern Music, he developed into one of the most important Cuban jazz musicians of his era.
• 2018 ~ George Walker, Trailblazing American Composer, died at the age of 96
“Solfeggietto” is an Italian word meaning “little study” or exercise.
The work is unusual for a keyboard piece in that the main theme is only one note being played at a time. The piece is commonly assigned to piano students and appears in many anthologies.
This piece is easily Bach’s best-known and is often performed by left-hand alone.
See if you can follow along. The notes with the stems down (even in the treble clef) are normally played with the left hand.
With just the left hand:
Are you any of these? This is the first annoying pianist. Too Humble – Solfeggietto in C minor by C.P.E. Bach
1791 ~ Carl Czerny, Austrian pianist and composer whose vast musical production amounted to over a thousand works.
His books of studies for the piano are still widely used in piano teaching.
More information on Czerny
At the age of fifteen, Czerny began a very successful teaching career. Basing his method on the teaching of Beethoven and Muzio Clementi, Czerny taught up to twelve lessons a day in the homes of Viennese nobility.
His ‘star’ pupils included Theodor Döhler, Stephen Heller, Sigismond Thalberg, Leopoldine Blahetka and Ninette de Belleville.In 1819, the father of Franz Liszt brought his son to Czerny.
Liszt became Czerny’s most famous pupil. He trained the child with the works of Beethoven, Clementi, Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Sebastian Bach. The Liszt family lived in the same street in Vienna as Czerny, who was so impressed by the boy that he taught him free of charge. Liszt was later to repay this confidence by introducing the music of Czerny at many of his Paris recitals.
Shortly before Liszt’s Vienna concert of 13 April 1823 (his final concert of that season), Czerny arranged, with some difficulty (as Beethoven increasingly disliked child prodigies) the introduction of Liszt to Beethoven. Beethoven was sufficiently impressed with the young Liszt to give him a kiss on the forehead. Liszt remained close to Czerny, and in 1852 his Études d’exécution transcendente (Transcendental Études) were published with a dedication to Czerny.
. 1660 ~ Johann Sigismund Kusser (or Cousser), composer of Hungarian parentage active in Germany, France, and Ireland
. 1778 ~ Fernando Sor, Guitar composer
More information about Sor
. 1867 ~ Johann Strauss’ magnificent Blue Danube Waltz was played for the first time at a public concert in Vienna, Austria.
. 1870 ~ Leopold Godowsky, Polish American pianist, composer, and teacher
. 1873 ~ Feodor Chaliapin, Russian Bass
. 1895 ~ France, There’s no business like show business, right? Well, this is where it all started. A patent for a machine “to film and view phronopotographic proofs” (in simpler words, a projector) was assigned to the Lumiere brothers of Paris.
. 1904 ~ Wingy (Joseph Matthews) Manone, Trumpeter, singer, bandleader
. 1914 ~ The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (known as ASCAP) was formed in New York City. The society was founded to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.
. 1918 ~ Oliver Smith, Scenic designer for Broadway Musicals such as On the Town, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot, The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly! and films Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma!, Porgy and Bess, The Band Wagon
. 1919 ~ “Tennessee” Ernie Ford, American country music singer and songwriter
. 1920 ~ Eileen Farrell, American soprano, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera. Also successful in singing and recording popular music and jazz
. 1940 ~ Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and his orchestra recorded the classic Boogie Woogie on St. Louis Blues on the famous Bluebird record label.
. 1925 ~ Gene Ames, Singer with The Ames Brothers
. 1929 ~ Jesse McReynolds, Guitarist, folk singer with Jim & Jesse
. 1930 ~ Dotty McGuire, Singer with McGuire Sisters
. 1944 ~ Peter Tork (Peter Halsten Thorkelson), Bassist, singer with The Monkees
. 1950 ~ Roger Christian, Singer with The Christians
. 1956 ~ Peter Hook. Bass with Joy Division
. 1957 ~ Tony Butler, Bass with Big Country
. 1971 ~ The Osmonds, a family singing group from Ogden, Utah, began a five-week stay at the top of the pop music charts with the hit, “One Bad Apple”. The song, featuring the voice of little Donny Osmond, also showcased the talent of Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay Osmond. The brothers were regulars on Andy Williams’ TV show from 1962 to 1967. The group began as a religious and barbershop quartet in 1959. Together, the Osmonds scored with 10 singles in four years — four of them were top ten hits.
. 1976 ~ Lily (Alice) Pons passed away
. 1990 ~ Musical highlight of glasnost when cellist/conductor Mstislav Rostropovich returned to Russia after a 16-year absence. Russian listeners cheered wildly when he played American favorite march, “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa
. 2001 ~ Music critic George T. Simon, the original Glenn Miller Band drummer who swapped his sticks for a pen and eventually earned a Grammy for his acclaimed liner notes, died of pneumonia following a battle with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 88. In 1937 Simon sat in with the fledgling Glenn Miller Band. But he opted for writing over drumming, and became editor-in-chief of Metronome magazine in 1939. As a writer, Simon worked for the New York Post and the now-defunct New York Herald-Tribune. He also served as executive director of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Grammy Awards. In 1977, Simon won his Grammy Award for best album notes – his contribution to the collection “Bing Crosby: A Legendary Performer.” Simon was hand-picked by Crosby to write the liner notes for the release.
. 2002 ~ Waylon Jennings, whose rebellious songs and brash attitude defined the outlaw movement in country music, died peacefully at his Arizona home after a long battle with diabetes-related health problems. He was 64. Jennings’ list of hits spans four decades and includes country music standards like Good-Hearted Woman and Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, both duets with Willie Nelson. Jennings made 60 albums and had 16 country singles that reached No. 1. His “Greatest Hits” album in 1979 sold 4 million – a rare accomplishment in country music for that era. Jennings won two Grammy awards and four Country Music Association awards. Other hits include I’m a Ramblin’ Man, Amanda, Lucille, I’ve Always Been Crazy, and Rose in Paradise. Jennings’ deep, sonorous voice narrated the popular TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard” and sang its theme song, which was a million seller. Jennings had been plagued with health problems in recent years that made it difficult for him to walk. In December 2002, his left foot was amputated. He traditionally wore a black cowboy hat and ebony attire that accented his black beard and mustache. Often reclusive when not on stage, he played earthy music with a spirited, hard edge. Some of Jennings’ album titles nourished his brash persona: “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean,” “I’ve Always Been Crazy,” “Nashville Rebel,” “Ladies Love Outlaws” and “Wanted: The Outlaws.” He often refused to attend music awards shows on the grounds that performers shouldn’t compete against each other. He didn’t show up at his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year. He made occasional forays into TV movies, including “Stagecoach” and “Oklahoma City Dolls,” plus the Sesame Street movie “Follow That Bird” and the B-movie “Nashville Rebel.”
. 2015 ~ John McCabe died. He was an English composer and pianist. He was a prolific composer from an early age but first became known as a pianist. He created works in many different forms, including symphonies, ballets, and solo works for the piano.