December 8 ~ in Music History

today

Christmas Countdown: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

• 1731 ~ Frantisek Xaver Dusek, Czech composer and one of the most important harpsichordists and pianists of his time.

OCMS 1865 ~ Jean (Johan) Julius Christian Sibelius, Finnish composer
Read quotes by and about Sibelius
More information about Sibelius

• 1882 ~ Manuel Maria Ponce, composer

• 1890 ~ Bohuslav Martinu, composer

• 1924 ~ Franz Xaver Scharwenka, German pianist/composer (Mataswintha), died at the age of 74

• 1925 ~ Jimmy Smith, Grammy Award-winning musician, modern jazz organist

• 1925 ~ Sammy Davis, Jr., American singer of popular music

OCMS 1939 ~ James Galway, Irish flutist
Read quotes by and about Galway
More information about Galway

• 1939 ~ Jerry Butler, Singer with The Impressions

• 1941 ~ Ray Eberle and The Modernaires teamed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra to record Moonlight Cocktail on Bluebird Records. By April, 1942, the song was a solid hit.

• 1942 ~ Bobby Elliott, Drummer with The Hollies

• 1943 ~ Jim (James Douglas) Morrison ‘The Lizard King’, Singer in the rock group The Doors

• 1946 ~ John Rubinstein, Tony Award-winning actor, composer

• 1947 ~ Gregg Allman, Keyboards, guitar, singer with Allman Brothers Band

• 1957 ~ Phil Collen, Guitarist with Def Leppard

• 1961 ~ Surfin’, The Beach Boys first record, was released on Candix Records. It became a local hit in Los Angeles but only made it to #75 nationally. The surfin’ music craze didn’t take hold across America for another year. By the time Surfin’ Safari entered the Top 40 (September, 1962), though, The Beach Boys were ridin’ a wave of popularity that continues today.

• 1963 ~ Florence Henderson and Jose Ferrer co-starred in The Girl Who Came to Supper on Broadway. The production, however, only lasted for 112 shows.

• 1963 ~ Frank Sinatra, Jr. was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He was set free four days later. It was discovered that Sinatra, Jr. cooperated with his abductors in their plot. Dad was not proud, nor pleased. Frank, Jr. went on to conduct the big band for Frank, Sr. and all was well.

• 1966 ~ Sinead O’Connor, Singer

• 1980 ~ John Lennon was shot and killed on this day as he stood outside of his New York City apartment house, the Dakota. A deranged, obsessed ‘fan’ asked Lennon to autograph an album, then shot him as Lennon started to comply. The man was quickly apprehended by others gathered at the scene. A several-days vigil by hundreds of mourning fans is remembered as candles flickered and the song Give Peace a Chance was heard, a continuing tribute to the musician and songwriter of a generation. John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, together with New York’s officials, set up a permanent memorial to her husband: a section of Central Park, opposite the Dakota, named Strawberry Fields.

• 1982 ~ Marty Robbins passed away

• 2003 ~ Lewis Allen, producer of the Broadway hit “Annie” and winner of three Tony Awards, died of pancreatic cancer, his wife said. He was 81. “Annie” opened in 1977 and ran for six years. Allen won a Tony for it and for two plays he produced: Herb Gardner’s “I’m Not Rappaport” in 1986 and Terrence McNally’s “Master Class” in 1996. Allen also produced several films, including Shirley Clarke’s “The Connection” (1961), Francois Truffaut’s “Fahrenheit 451” (1966) and both the 1963 and 1990 versions of “Lord of the Flies.” He was an early supporter of “Annie,” which started life at a regional theater in Connecticut. Although that production received lukewarm reviews, Allen got producer-director Mike Nichols to join him in backing the Broadway version, which spawned the 1982 film version that Allen did not produce. Allen was born in Berryville, Va., graduated from the University of Virginia and served with the American Field Service during World War II. His wife, Jay Presson Allen, wrote the screenplays for “Cabaret” (1972) and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Marnie”(1964).

• 2003 ~ Cuban pianist Ruben Gonzalez, who found new fame in the mid-1990s playing with Compay Segundo’s Buena Vista Social Club band, died. He was 84. Gonzalez’s keyboard gymnastics provided the heartbeat of the Buena Vista Social Club’s string of traditional Cuban “son” music albums beginning in 1997. The smallish man with grizzled hair and beard gained worldwide attention as the pianist on the opening album of the series, the Grammy-winning “Buena Vista Social Club.”

October 26 ~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1685 ~ Domenico Scarlatti, Italian composer and harpsichordist
More information about Scarlatti

• 1898 ~ Beryl Rubinstein, American pianist and composer

• 1911 ~ Mahalia Jackson, American soul and gospel singer

• 1913 ~ Charlie Barnet, Saxophonist, bandleader, his autobiography is Those Swinging Years

• 1934 ~ Cole Porter recorded his own composition titled, You’re the Top, from the show “Anything Goes”, on Victor.

• 1935 ~ A talented twelve-year-old sang on Wallace Beery’s NBC radio show on NBC.  Judy Garland delighted the appreciative audience. The young girl would soon be in pictures and at the top of stardom. It would be only four years before Ms. Garland (George Jessel gave her the name, thinking it would be better than her own, Frances Gumm) captured the hearts of moviegoers everywhere with her performance as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”.

• 1944 ~ Michael Piano, Singer with The Sandpipers

• 1946 ~ Keith Hopwood, Singer, guitarist with Herman’s Hermits

• 1952 ~ NBC~TV premiered Victory at Sea. The show was the first documentary film series to gain wide acceptance. Richard Rodgers wrote the score and Robert Russell Bennett orchestrated it. No Other Love, adapted from one of the songs in the score, became a hit for Perry Como in the summer of 1953.

• 1953 ~ Keith Strickland, Drummer with The B-52s

• 1956 ~ Walter Gieseking, German pianist/composer, died at the age of 60

• 1962 ~ The Rolling Stones consisting of Keith Richard, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, pianist Ian Stewart and drummer Tony Chapman recorded their first demo tape at Curly Clayton Studios in Highbury, London. They recorded three songs, Jimmy Reed’s ‘Close Together’, Bo Diddley’s ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover’ and Muddy Waters’ ‘Soon Forgotten.’

• 1965 ~ The Beatles received MBE medals from the Queen of England, as they became Members of the British Empire. Ceremonies were held at Buckingham Palace. John Lennon returned his medal four years later in protest of Britain’s involvement in the Nigerian Civil War.

• 1971 ~ Memphis minister Al Green received a gold record for his single, Tired of Being Alone.

• 1984 ~ Barbra Streisand won multiplatinum certification for three albums that reached the four-million-dollar sales mark. “Greatest Hits, Vol. II”, “Guilty”, and “A Star is Born” (with Kris Kristofferson) were honored.

• 2001 ~ Laszlo Halasz, the first music director of the New York City Opera, died at the age of 96. Halasz became the opera’s first director in 1943. During his eight-year tenure, the New York City Opera became an important training ground for young singers. The company also became an important venue for new works. Born in Hungary, Halasz studied at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, where his teachers included Béla Bartók, Ernst von Dohnanyi, Leo Weiner and Zoltán Kodály. He made his professional debut as a pianist in 1928, but in 1931 decided to focus on conducting. He came to New York in 1936, and when the New York City Opera was formed in the fall of 1943, Halasz was appointed its music director. The company’s first season included productions of Puccini’s “Tosca,” Flotow’s “Martha” and Bizet’s “Carmen”  Halasz conducted the company’s first American premiere, Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos,” in 1946, and the opera’s first world premiere, of  William Grant Still’s “Troubled Island,” with a libretto by Langston Hughes. But the opera’s board was uneasy with Halasz’s ventures into modern opera. When the board insisted in 1951 that Halasz submit his repertory plans for approval, he resigned. The board ultimately relented, but when Halasz became involved in union disputes later that year, the board fired him. After leaving City Opera, Halasz began a second career as a record producer. He also conducted opera at houses in Frankfurt, Barcelona, Budapest, London and South America. As a teacher, he was on the conducting faculty at the Peabody Conservatory, in Baltimore, and the Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, N.Y.

• 2001 ~ Herbert Weissenstein, a consultant who specialized in classical music, died at the age of 56. Weissenstein began his career in 1970 as public relations director for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He moved on to the New York Philharmonic and in 1979 became director of development and strategic planning at Carnegie Hall. In 1984, he founded H.F. Weissenstein & Co., which specialized in consulting, directing seminars, and publishing articles in the fields of management and development. His clients included the Electronic Media Forum, the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater, the Manhattan Theater Club, the International Organization for the Transition of Professional dancers and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

October 14 ~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1871 ~ Alexander Zemlinsky, Austrian composer and conductor
More information on Zemlinsky

• 1907 ~ Allan Jones, Singer, father of singer, Jack Jones

• 1926 ~ Bill (William E.) Justis (Jr.), Saxophone

• 1928 ~ Gary Graffman, American pianist

• 1930 ~ I Got Rhythm, by George Gershwin, sung by Ethel Merman, was a show-stopper in the production of “Girl Crazy” on Broadway. It was Merman’s debut on the Great White Way as she captivated audiences and launched her stellar career. “Girl Crazy” went on for 272 performances.

• 1931 ~ Rafael Puyana, Colombian harpsichordist

• 1938 ~ Melba Montgomery, Singer

• 1938 ~ One of the great songs of the big band era was recorded by Bob Crosby (Bing’s brother) and The Bob Cats. Big Noise from Winnetka on Decca Records featured Bob Haggart and Ray Bauduc. Haggart whistled and played bass, while Bauduc played the skins.

• 1939 ~ Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) was organized on this day to compete with ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers). The two music licensing organizations’ goal is to ensure that composers, artists and publishers are properly paid for the use of their works.

• 1940 ~ Cliff Richard (Harry Webb), Singer

• 1946 ~ Justin Hayward, Guitarist, singer with The Moody Blues

• 1961 ~ The Broadway production “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” opened.

• 1971 ~ It was John and Yoko Day on The Dick Cavett Show on ABC. The couple promoted Lennon’s new LP (Imagine) and film (Imagine) and Yoko’s book, two films and a fine arts show.

• 1977 ~ Bing (Harry Lillis) Crosby passed away

• 1996 ~ Eighteen years after its creation, The Rolling Stones’ Rock & Roll Circus was finally released. The 1968 event put together by The Stones comprised two concerts on a circus stage and included performances by The Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull and Jethro Tull. John Lennon and Yoko Ono performed as part of a supergroup called The Dirty Mac, along with Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell and Keith Richards. It was originally planned to be aired on BBC TV.

• 2001 ~ Willam Farr Christensen, a Utah dancer who started on the vaudeville stage and went on to become one of the most important figures in American ballet, died at the age of 99. Founder of the San Francisco Ballet and Utah’s Ballet West, Christensen was the first person in the United States to choreograph full-length versions of several ballet classics, including “The Nutcracker”, “Coppelia” and “Swan Lake”. With his brothers Lew and Harold, he toured the famous Orpheum vaudeville circuit in the 1920s, performing a ballet act at a time when few Americans were familiar with the art. By 1934, Christensen had quit the circuit to found the first ballet company in Portland, Ore., then left three years later to join the San Francisco Opera Ballet as a principal soloist. Within a year he was named ballet master of the company. In 1941 he founded the San Francisco Ballet, the first major ballet company in the West. Christensen choreographed the country’s first full-length production of “The Nutcracker” in 1944, and today it is a Christmas tradition for nearly every ballet company in the nation.

September 27 ~ in Music History

today

• 1898 ~ Vincent Youmans, Songwriters’ Hall of Famer, musician, composer, worked with Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II

• 1924 ~ Bud Powell, American jazz pianist and composer

• 1930 ~ Igor Kipnis, American harpsichordist 1933 ~ NBC radio debuted Waltz Time, featuring the orchestra of Abe Lymon. The program continued on the network until 1948.

• 1938 ~ Clarinet virtuoso Artie Shaw recorded the song that would become his theme song. Nightmare was waxed on the Bluebird Jazz label. 1938 ~ Thanks for the Memory was heard for the first time on The Bob Hope Show on the NBC Red radio network. Who was the bandleader? If you said Les Brown, you’d be … wrong. It was Skinnay Ennis accompanying Hope at the time.

• 1941 ~ Don Nix, Baritone sax with The Mar-Keys, Booker T and the M.G.’s, composer

• 1942 ~ Just after leaving CBS radio, Glenn Miller led his civilian band for the last time at the Central Theatre in beautiful Passaic, NJ. Miller had volunteered for wartime duty.

• 1943 ~ Randy Bachman, Guitarist, singer with Bachman-Turner Overdrive

• 1945 ~ Misha Dichter, American pianist, married to Cipa Dichter

• 1951 ~ Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday), Singer, actor

• 1953 ~ Greg Ham, Saxophone, flute, keyboards with Men at Work

• 1954 ~ The Tonight show debuted on NBC-TV. Steve Allen hosted the late-night program which began as a local New York show on WNBT-TV in June 1953. Tonight became a launching pad for Steve and hundreds of guests, including Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. Skitch Henderson and orchestra provided the music. Ernie Kovacs was the host from 1956 until 1957.

• 1958 ~ Shaun Cassidy, Singer, son of Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones, half-brother of David Cassidy

• 1962 ~ Detroit secretary Martha Reeves cut a side with a group called The Vandellas and the result was I’ll Have to Let Him Go. Soon thereafter, the hits of Martha and The Vandellas just kept on comin’.

• 1962 ~ After a concert that featured folk music at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times gave a glowing review in a story about “Bob Dylan: A Distinctive Folk Song Stylist.”

• 1970 ~ “Round and round and round it goes and where it stops, nobody knows.” Ted Mack said, “Good night from Geritol” for the last time. After 22 years on television, the curtain closed on The Original Amateur Hour on CBS. The show had been on ABC, NBC, CBS and originated on the Dumont Television Network.

• 1979 ~ Gracie Fields died

• 2003 ~ Donald O’Connor, American dancer and actor (Singin’ in the Rain), died at the age of 78
(PIano students: No jumping on the piano allowed!)

September 10 ~ in Music History

today

• 1714 ~ Niccolò Jommelli, Italian composer

• 1914 ~ Robert Wise, Academy Award-winning director of The Sound of Music [1965], West Side Story [1961]; Two for the Seesaw, The Andromeda Strain, Star Trek: The Motion Picture

• 1927 ~ Yma Sumac (Zoila Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo), Peruvian singer, of Inca descent, with a 4-octave range

• 1935 ~ “I’m Popeye the sailor man…” toot! toot! Popeye was heard for the first time on NBC radio. The show was based on the Elzie Crisler Segar comic strip, which featured Popeye, Olive Oyl, Brutas, Wimpy and Sweepea.
Now, eat your spinach in celebration!

• 1937 ~ Tommy Overstreet, Singer

• 1941 ~ Christopher Hogwood, British harpsichordist, musicologist and conductor

• 1942 ~ Danny Hutton, Singer with Three Dog Night

• 1945 ~ Jose Feliciano, Grammy Award-winning singer, Best New Artist in 1968, guitar, songwriter of the theme for Chico and the Man

• 1950 ~ Joe Perry, Guitarist with Joe Perry Project; Aerosmith

• 1950 ~ Don Powell, Drummer with Slade

• 1950 ~ Eddie Cantor moved from radio to TV, as he hosted the Colgate Comedy Hour on NBC.

• 1955 ~ Pat Mostelotto, Drummer with Mr. Mister

• 1955 ~ Bert Parks began a 25-year career as host of the Miss America Pageant on NBC. The show became a TV tradition as Parks sang to the newly~crowned beauty queen, “There She is … Miss America”. The song was composed by Bernie Wayne and was sung for the first time on this day. Sharon Kay Ritchie was the first Miss America to be honored with the song. When she married singer Don Cherry (Band of Gold), There She Is was part of the wedding ceremony.

• 1956 ~ Johnnie Fingers (Moylett), Keyboards, singer with The Boomtown Rats

• 2000 ~ In a flourish of fur and song, whiskers and many tears, “Cats”, the longest-running show in Broadway history, closed after 18 years, 7,485 performances and a box office gross of more than $400 million.
Read the whole news article.

August 11 ~ in Music History

today

• 1862 ~ Carrie Jacobs Bond, American composer

• 1919 ~ Ginette Neveu, French violinist

• 1925 ~ Mike Douglas (Dowd), TV host of The Mike Douglas Show; singer, The Music Show, Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge

• 1927 ~ Raymond Leppard, British conductor and harpsichordist

• 1941 ~ Glenn Miller and his Orchestra recorded Elmer’s Tune on Bluebird Records.

• 1942 ~ Mike Hugg, Musician, drums with Chapter Three, Manfred Mann

• 1943 ~ Jim Kale, Musician, bass with The Guess Who

• 1943 ~ Guy Vallari, Singer with Regents

• 1949 ~ Eric Carmen, Musician, bass, keyboards, songwriter, singer with The Raspberries

• 1950 ~ Erik Braunn, Musician, guitar, singer with Iron Butterfly

• 1954 ~ David Ian “Joe” Jackson, English singer, pianist, composer

• 1955 ~ Joe Jackson, Singer

• 1958 ~ Elvis Presley received a gold record for the hit, Hard Headed Woman. The song was featured in the movie King Creole.

• 1987 ~ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles was called “the best album made during the last 20 years” by the respected music publication, Rolling Stone magazine.

• 1996 ~ Rafael Kubelik, Czech conductor, died aged 82. He made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1934 and went into exile in 1948 and made an emotional return when he conducted the opening concert of the 1990 Prague Spring music festival.

July 23 ~ in Music History

today

• 1757 ~ Domenico Scarlatti, Italian composer and harpsichordist, died. He composed over 500 keyboard sonatas, using new techniques and achieving brilliant effects.

• 1796 ~ Franz Adolf Berwald, Swedish composer and violinst

• 1916 ~ Ben Weber, American composer and winner of the Thorne Music Award in 1965

• 1925 ~ Gloria DeHaven, Singer

• 1928 ~ Leon Fleisher, American pianist and conductor

• 1934 ~ Steve Lacy (Lackritz), Jazz musician, soprano sax

• 1941 ~ Sonny Dunham and his orchestra recorded the tune that was to become Mr. Dunham’s theme song. Memories of You was Bluebird record #11239.

• 1940 ~ Gary Stites, Singer

• 1943 ~ Tony Joe White, Country Singer

• 1945 ~ Dino Danelli, Musician, drummer with The (Young) Rascals

• 1946 ~ Andy Mackay, Musician, saxophone, woodwinds with Roxy Music

• 1947 ~ David Essex (Cook), Rock Singer

• 1940 ~ (John Donald) Don Imus, Radio DJ & talk-show host

• 1950 ~ Blair Thornton, Musician, guitar with Bachman-Turner Overdrive

• 1961 ~ Martin Gore, Musician with DePeche Mode

• 1966 ~ Frank Sinatra hit the top of the pop album chart with his Strangers in the Night. It was the first #1 Sinatra LP since 1960. The album’s title song had made it to number one on the pop singles chart on July 2nd.

• 1969 ~ Three Dog Night received a gold record for the single, One. It was the first of seven million-sellers for the pop-rock group.

• 1985 ~ Kaye Kyser, Bandleader, passed away
More information about Kyser

• 2000 ~ Yoshimi Takeda, a former director of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, died at the age of 67 of complications from cancer. He had been music director and resident conductor of the NMSO from 1974 to 1984, holding the post concurrently with that of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. Takeda made his debut with the Tokyo Symphony in 1958. He began his U.S. career in 1962 as a Kulas Fellow with the Cleveland Orchestra in a conductor advanced training program. He came to the NMSO in 1970 after six years as the Honolulu Symphony’s associate director.

• 2002 ~ Clark Gesner, who created the musical “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” died of a heart attack while visiting the Princeton Club in Manhattan. He was 64. Gesner’s well-known musical, based on Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip, opened in March 1967 in a New York theater and went on to tour nationally. The 14-song show featured Gary Burghoff as Charlie Brown and Bob Balaban as Linus. It made a month-long leap to Broadway in the early 1970s, and was revived on Broadway in 1999. Gesner, who was born in Maine, attended Princeton and was active in the Triangle Club, the university’s theater troupe.