On March 14 in Music History

pi-day

. 1681 ~ Georg Philipp Telemann, German composer. One of the leading composers of the German Baroque, Georg Philipp Telemann was immensely prolific and highly influential. He wrote an opera at age 12, produced it at school, and sang the lead. His mother put all his instruments away and forbade further music. However, he continued to study and write in secret. He led a remarkably busy life in Hamburg, teaching, composing two cantatas for each Sunday, leading a collegium, and writing immense amounts of additional music. For two centuries musical scholars tended to look down on him by comparison with Bach, but from the midpoint of the twentieth century his reputation soared as musicologists began cataloguing his immense output, uncovering masterpiece after masterpiece.
More information about Telemann

. 1727 ~ Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, German virtuoso harpsichordist, organist, and composer of the late Baroque and early Classical period

. 1804 ~ Johann Strauss, Sr., Austrian composer; “The Father of the Waltz”
Read quotes by and about Strauss
More information about Strauss

. 1864 ~ (John Luther) Casey Jones, railroad engineer, subject of The Ballad of Casey Jones, killed in train crash Apr 30, 1900

. 1879 ~ Albert Einstein, Mathematician and enthusiastic amateur violinist
Read quotes by and about Einstein

. 1885 ~ “The Mikado,’ the comic operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan, premiered at the Savoy Theater, London.

. 1912 ~ Les Brown, Bandleader, Les Brown and His Band of Renown

. 1922 ~ Les Baxter, Bandleader

. 1931 ~ Phil Phillips (Baptiste), Singer

. 1933 ~ Quincy Delight Jones, Jr., American jazz composer, trumpeter, bandleader and pianist. He composed film scores, TV show themes; record producer; arranger; 25 Grammys, Grammy’s Trustees Award in 1989, Grammy’s Legends Award in 1990; Musical Director for Mercury Records, then VP; established Qwest Records

. 1934 ~ Shirley Scott, Swinging, blues-oriented organist, recorded mostly with former husband Stanley Turrentine

. 1941 ~ Years before Desi Arnaz would make the song Babalu popular on the I Love Lucy TV show, Xavier Cugat and his orchestra recorded it with Miguelito Valdes doing the vocal. The song was on Columbia Records, as was the Arnaz version years later.

. 1945 ~ Walter Parazaider, Reeds with Chicago

. 1955 ~ Boon Gould, Guitarist with Level 42

. 1958 ~ The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the first gold record. It was Perry Como’s Catch A Falling Star on RCA Victor Records. The tune became the first to win million-seller certification, though other songs dating as far back as the 1920s may have sold a million records or more. Due to lack of a certification organization like the RIAA, they weren’t awarded the golden platter. The next three gold records that were certified after Perry Como’s million seller were the 45 rpm recordings of He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Laurie London, Patricia, an instrumental by the ‘Mambo King’, Perez Prado and Hard Headed Woman by Elvis Presley. The first gold-album certification went to the soundtrack of the motion picture, Oklahoma!, featuring Gordon MacRae. Is there really a gold record inside the wooden frame presented to winners? Those who know say, “No.” Its a gold-leaf veneer of maybe 18 kt. gold and/or it is a record painted gold. Yes, the song earning the award is supposed to be the one making up the gold record, but this is not always the case, according to several artists who have tried to play theirs.

. 1959 ~ Elvis Presley made the album charts, but no one would have known by the title of the disk. For LP Fans Only was the first LP ever issued without the artist’s name to be found anywhere on the cover — front or back.

. 1976 ~ Busby Berkeley, U.S. director and choreographer, died. He was best known for his lavish mass choreography in the films “42nd Street,” “Gold Diggers of 1933” and “Roman Scandals.”

. 1985 ~ Bill Cosby captured four People’s Choice Awards for The Cosby Show. The awards were earned from results of a nationwide Gallup Poll. Barbara Mandrell stunned the audience by announcing that she was pregnant while accepting her second award on the show. Bob Hope won the award as All-Time Entertainer beating Clint Eastwood and Frank Sinatra for the honor.

. 2016 ~ Sir Peter Maxwell Davies died.  He was an English composer and conductor.

On March 13 in Music History

today

. 1860 ~ Hugo Wolf, Austrian composer
Read quotes by and about Wolf
More information about Wolf

. 1890 ~ Fritz Busch, German composer

. 1910 ~ Sammy Kaye, Bandleader, Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye

. 1914 ~ Bobby Haggart, Bass with these groups: Bob Cats; Peanuts Hucko’s Pied Piper Quintet, Lawson-Haggart Jazz Band, composer

. 1915 ~ Percy Grainger makes his debut as a pianist with the New York Philharmonic playing Grieg’s Piano Concerto

. 1916 ~ Ina Ray Hutton (Odessa Cowan), Tap dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies, pianist, bandleader, singer and actress

. 1918 ~ Tessie O’Shea, Singer, actress

. 1923 ~ Red Garland, Jazz musician, reeds, pianist

. 1926 ~ Roy Haynes, Modern jazz drummer, bandleader

. 1930 ~ Liz Anderson (Haaby), Country singer, songwriter, mother of country/pop singer Lynn Anderson

. 1932 ~ Jan Howard, Country singer, toured with Carter sisters

. 1933 ~ Mike Stoller, Record producer, songwriter with Jerry Leiber

. 1934 ~ Dick Katz, Pianist, composer with the Tony Scott Quartet, J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding groups

. 1939 ~ Neil Sedaka, American songwriter and singer of popular music

. 1942 ~ Bing Crosby and Mary Martin were heard having a bit of fun as they joined together to record Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie for Decca Records.

. 1946 ~ Thomas Frederick Dunhill passed away.  He was an English composer and writer on musical subjects.

. 1947 ~ The musical “Brigadoon” opened at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City. The show ran for 581 performances and was later staged in London (1949). Memorable melodies from “Brigadoon” include I’ll Go Home with Bonnie Jean, The Heather on the Hill, Come to Me, Bend to Me, Almost Like Being in Love and There but for You Go I.

. 1949 ~ Donald York, Singer with Sha Na Na

. 1960 ~ Adam Clayton, Musician with U2

. 1968 ~ The Byrds received a gold record for the album, “Greatest Hits”, which featured Turn! Turn! Turn!, written by Pete Seeger (excerpted from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible). The Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

. 1972 ~ The Merv Griffin Show, starring perennial game show and late-night TV host, singer and pianist, Merv Griffin, debuted in syndication for Metromedia Television. Joining Merv were sidekick, Arthur Treacher and Mort Lindsey and his orchestra. Griffin had a number one song with the Freddy Martin Orchestra in the 1940s. I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts launched him to fame and fortune.

. 1976 ~ The Four Seasons, featuring the falsetto voice of Frankie Valli, returned to the pop charts after a 10-year absence. The group scored with December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night), which became the top song in the country. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

. 1987 ~ Gerald Moore, England, pianist (Am I Too Loud), died at the age of 87.

On March 12 in Music History

today

. 1563 ~ John Bull, English composer, musician and organ builder, credited with composing Britain’s national anthem “God Save The King/Queen” (debated), died about the age of 68

. 1710 ~ Thomas Arne, English composer
More information about Arne

. 1890 ~ Vaslav Nijinsky, Ukrainian ballet dancer

. 1891 ~ Clara Schumann gave her final piano performance.

. 1921 ~ Gordon MacRae, Singer

. 1923 ~ Dr. Lee DeForest demonstrated his putting sound on motion picture film. One of the pioneers of radio in the early 1900s, DeForest came up with a snappy name for his invention; he called it phonofilm. Today, we call it a soundtrack.

. 1937 ~ Charles-Marie Widor died.  He was a was a French organist, composer and teacher.

. 1939 ~ Artie Shaw and his band recorded the standard, Deep Purple, in New York for the Bluebird label. Listening carefully after the first minute or so, one can hear Helen Forrest sing the vocal refrain. Larry Clinton and his orchestra had a number one song with a similar arrangement of the same tune that same year. It later was a hit for saxophonist, Nino Tempo and his sister, April Stevens in 1963. Hundreds of versions of this song have been recorded through the years, making it one of the most popular standards of all time.

. 1940 ~ Al Jarreau, Singer

. 1946 ~ Liza Minnelli, American actress and singer of popular music
More information about Minnelli

 

. 1948 ~ James Taylor, American folk-rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist

. 1955 ~ Charlie “Bird” Parker, influential U.S. jazz saxophonist, died.

. 1955 ~ One of the great groups of jazz appeared for the first time at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Dave Brubeck Quartet presented a magnificent concert for jazz fans.

. 1969 ~ Wedding bells rang in London for singer, Paul McCartney and his new bride, photographer, Linda Eastman.

. 1985 ~ Eugene Ormandy, U.S. conductor, died. He directed the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1936-1980 and was especially noted for his performances of Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich.

. 1987 ~ The famous musical play “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo opened on Broadway in New York.

. 1991 ~ Jimmy McPartland passed away

. 1993 ~ June Valli, singer (Crying in the Chapel), died at the age of 62

. 1999 ~ World-famous violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin died in Berlin.

On March 11 in Music History

today

. 1851 ~ The first performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto” was given in Venice.

Rigoletto lacks melody.  This opera has hardly any chance of being kept in the repertoire.” ~ Gazette Musicale de Paris, reviewing Rigoletto shortly after its premiere.

. 1876 ~ Carl Ruggles, American composer

. 1897 ~ Henry Dixon Cowell, American composer
More information about Cowell

. 1903 ~ Lawrence Welk, American accordionist and conductor of “champagne” music
More information about Welk

. 1914 ~ William Lloyd Webber, English composer

. 1919 ~ Mercer Ellington, Trumpeter, bandleader, songwriter, only son of Duke Ellington. He led the Duke’s band after he died.

. 1921 ~ Astor Piazzola, Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player and arranger

and

. 1942 ~ Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra recorded the classic, Sleepy Lagoon. It was the last song Monroe would record for Bluebird Records. Vaughn sang on the track while Ray Conniff played trombone. Both later moved to different record companies. Monroe went with RCA and Conniff to Columbia. The big-voiced baritone of Monroe was regularly heard on radio and he was featured in several movies in the 1950s. He died in May 1973. Racing With the Moon and Ghost Riders in the Sky were two of his greatest contributions to popular music.

. 1950 ~ Bobby McFerrin, Singer, pianist, jazz musician, songwriter, improvisational solo, McFerrin can sing all vocal parts and imitate instruments.

. 1968 ~ Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for the single, (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay. Redding was killed in a plane crash in Lake Monona in Madison, WI on December 10, 1967. The song was recorded just three days before his untimely death. He recorded 11 charted hit songs between 1965 and 1969. Otis Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

. 1975 ~ Philip Bezanson, composer, died at the age of 59. He helped guide the Department of Music at UMass Amherst through its period of rapid expansion in the late 1960s and early 1970s (when Mrs. O was a student there!). After graduate study (PhD 1954) and appointment to the faculty at the University of Iowa, Bezanson was brought to UMass in 1964 to become Head of the Music Department and helped to expand and reorient the program, recruiting an increasingly accomplished faculty, including his former student Frederick Tillis.

. 1985 ~ DJs around the U.S. began questioning listeners to see which ones could name the 46 pop music stars who appeared on the hit, We Are the World. The song, airing first on this day as a single, contains a “Who’s Who” of contemporary pop music.

. 2000 ~ Roy Henderson, a baritone famed for his performances of Frederick Delius’ works and a teacher of Kathleen Ferrier, died. He was 100.

. 2003 ~ Sidney Lippman, a songwriter who helped compose hits for Nat King Cole and other artists, died. He was 89. Lippman, who studied musical composition at the Juilliard School in New York, wrote or co-wrote several well-known songs, including Too Young, a song Cole took to the top of the charts in 1951. That hit, co-written by longtime collaborator Sylvia Dee, came two years after he teamed up with Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise on ‘A’ You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song), a No. 1 hit performed by Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters.

. 2007 ~ Betty Hutton [Elizabeth June Thornburg], American actress, dancer, singer and comedian (Greatest Show on Earth), died of colon cancer at the age of 86

and

. 2015 ~ Jimmy Greenspoon died.  He was an American keyboard player and composer, best known as a member of the band, Three Dog Night.

. 2018 ~ Ken Dodd, British singer and comedian described as “the last great music hall entertainer,” died of complications from a chest infection at the age of 90.

On March 10 in Music History

international-bagpipe

 

and

mario-day

National Mario Day is observed each year on March 10th and honors Mario from the popular Nintendo game.
It is celebrated on March 10th because of the way the date appears, when abbreviated (Mar.10),  it looks just like the name Mario.

. 1832 ~ Muzio Clementi died.  He was an Italian-born English composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer.  He is also the subject of this month’s Piano Explorer, which is enjoyed by my students.

. 1844 ~ Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish violinist

. 1879 ~ Ignaz Moscheles died.  He was a Bohemian composer and piano virtuoso

. 1892 ~ Arthur Honegger, French composer
Read quotes by and about Honegger
More information about Honegger

1903 ~ “Bix” Beiderbecke, American jazz cornetist
More information about Beiderbecke

. 1910 ~ Carl Heinrich Carsten Reinecke, composer, died at the age of 85

. 1935 ~ Nelson Eddy recorded Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life for Victor Records. The song came from the film, “Naughty Marietta”. Later, Eddy recorded the classic tune with Jeanette MacDonald.

. 1937 ~ An audience of 21,000 jitterbuggers jammed the Paramount Theatre in New York City to see a young clarinetist whom they would crown, ‘King of Swing’ on this night. The popular musician was Benny Goodman.

. 1940 ~ W2XBS-TV in New York City originated the first televised opera as members of the Metropolitan Opera Company presented scenes from “I Pagliacci”.

. 1956 ~ Julie Andrews was 23 years old this night when she made her TV debut. She appeared with Bing Crosby and Nancy Olson in the musical adaptation of Maxwell Anderson’s play, “High Tor”.

. 1977 ~ E Power Biggs, English organist/composer (CBS), died at the age of 70

. 2003 ~ Lionel Dakers, who directed the Royal School of Church Music for 16 years, died at age 79. Dakers was a stickler for high musical standards and opposed some of the modernizing trends in English church music. Dakers was organist at Ripon Cathedral from 1954 to 1957, then moved to Exeter Cathedral before his appointment as director of the Royal School of Church Music in 1972. In 1976, he was appointed a director of Hymns Ancient & Modern, publisher of some of the most widely used Anglican hymnals.

. 2016 ~ Keith Emerson died.  He was an English keyboardist and composer with English rock musician Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

. 2017 ~(Joan) Joni Sledge, vocalist (Sister Sledge “We are Family”), died at the age of 60

On March 9 in Music History

today

. 1706 ~ Johann Pachelbel, German organist/composer, died at the age of 52
More about Pachelbel

 

Just the cello part:

and a bit of humor

 

. 1745 ~ The first carillon was shipped from England to Boston, MA.

.1903 ~ “The Master of Charms“. ~ Claude Debussy on fellow composer Gabriel Fauré in the Paris periodical Gil Blas

. 1910 ~ Samuel Barber, Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer
Read quotes by and about Barber
More information about Barber

. 1925 ~ Billy Ford, Singer with Billy & Lillie

. 1927 ~ John Beckwith, Canadian composer and music critic

. 1930 ~ Thomas Schippers, American conductor

. 1930 ~ Ornette Coleman, American jazz saxophonist and composer (Downbeat Musician of Year 1966), born in Fort Worth, Texas

. 1932 ~ Keely Smith (Dorothy Keely), Singer, was married to Louis Prima

. 1942 ~ Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded Well, Git It! for Victor Records. Ziggy Elman was featured on the session which was recorded in Hollywood. Sy Oliver arranged the Dorsey classic.

.1950 ~ Howard Gordon Shelley OBE, British pianist and conductor

. 1974 ~ Many new musical faces were on the scene, including Terry Jacks, who was starting week two of a three-week stay at the top of the pop charts with his uplifting ditty, Seasons in the Sun. Other newcomers: Jefferson Starship, Billy Joel, Kiss, Olivia Newton-John, Kool & the Gang and The Steve Miller Band.

. 1985 ~ The most requested movie in history, “Gone With The Wind”, went on sale in video stores across the U.S. for the first time. The tape cost buyers $89.95. The film, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, cost $4.5 million to produce and has earned over $400 million, making it one of the biggest money-makers in motion picture history. “GWTW” is now the cornerstone of the massive MGM film library owned by Ted Turner.

. 1986 ~ Bill Cosby broke Liberace’s long-standing record and earned the biggest box-office gross in the 54-year history of Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

. 1993 ~ Bob Crosby, swing-era bandleader, passed away

. 2001 ~ Richard Stone, whose musical compositions for such popular cartoon shows as “Animaniacs” and “Freakazoid” won him more than a half-dozen Emmys, died Friday at the age of 47. Stone grew up watching Warner Bros. “Looney Tunes” cartoons in the 1950s and ’60s before going on to study cello and music composition in college. He not only emulated the style of Carl Stalling, who composed hundreds of musical scores for classic Warner Bros. cartoons in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, but also incorporated elements of jazz, Broadway, country and rock music into his work. Stone also carved out his own style on modern-day shows, winning seven Emmys since 1994 for such cartoons as “Animaniacs,” “Freakazoid” and “Histeria!” He also worked on the cartoons “Pinky & the Brain,” “Taz-Mania,” “Road Rovers” and “The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries” and scored several movies, including the cult classics “Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat” and “Pumpkinhead.”

. 2016 ~ George Martin, British record producer (The Beatles), died at the age of 90

What George Gershwin’s Piano Teaches Us About Technology

gershwinpiano

The Gershwin family donated the Steinway to the University as part of the George and Ira Gershwin initiative that is focused on research and study of the brothers’ music.

According to Marc Gershwin, George and Ira’s nephew, “I wanted the instrument to be accessible to the students and faculty who would be preserving the legacy of George and Ira Gershwin’s music… I’m delighted that the piano will once again be in regular use [by students and faculty], and am thrilled that it has been restored to performance condition.” [Two other Gershwin Steinways are in museums.]

From what I know of George he would have wanted it this way. Unlike some composers George was a gifted pianist. He had a rich social life and enjoyed playing his music for anyone who would listen.

There’s a lesson in that thought. If you have something valuable, sometimes it becomes more valuable – or at least more appreciated – when people can see it and use it. If you look at the piano as an instrument of technology that is it, then it makes sense that organizations give people access to technology – as well as resources – to do their work.

Adapted from  What George Gershwin’s Piano Teaches Us About Technology.