On November 6 ~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1814 ~ Adolphe Sax, Belgian instrumentalist, inventor of the saxophone and saxotromba
More information about Sax

 

OCMS 1854 ~ John Phillip Sousa, American bandmaster and composer; “The March King”
Read quotes by and about Sousa
More information about Sousa

OCMS 1860 ~ Ignace Jan Paderewski, Composer, pianist, Polish patriot, First Premier of Poland (1919), brought white Zinfandel wine grapes to U.S. for the first time
More information about Ignace Jan Paderewski

OCMS 1893 ~ Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer of the late-Romantic period (1812 Overture, Swan Lake), died at the age of 53

.1916 ~ Ray Conniff, American conductor, arranger and composer of popular music, trombonist

.1932 ~ Stonewall Jackson, Singer

.1936 ~ This was the day that big band icon Woody Herman played in his first recording session. He recorded Wintertime Dreams on Decca disc #1056.

.1937 ~ Eugene Pitt, Singer

.1938 ~ P.J. Proby (James Smith), Singer

.1940 ~ Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians recorded one of their lesser-known songs for Decca. It was The Moon Fell in the River.

.1941 ~ Doug Sahm, Singer, founded Sir Douglas Quintet

.1943 ~ Mike Clifford, Singer

.1947 ~ George Young, Guitarist with The Easybeats

.1948 ~ Glenn Frey, Songwriter, singer with The Eagles

OCMS 1965 ~ Edgard Varèse, French-born composer, died at the age of 81

.2001 ~ John Denman, a clarinetist who was most recently artistic adviser to the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s pops division, died from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 68. Denman, a native of London, was a principal clarinetist for the orchestra for more than 20 years. Denman also played principal clarinet with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He taught music at Trinity College in England before coming to teach at the University of Arizona. He joined the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in the late 1970s. In 1984, Denman left the University of Arizona after failing to receive tenure. For the rest of his life, he focused on his performing career. He also designed a small clarinet, the Kinder-Klari, to make practicing easier for young hands. Denman performed and recorded with jazz icon Buddy DeFranco and was a member of several jazz bands.

.2002 ~ Maria Johansson, an organist who became a local legend for singing religious songs and hymns in one of Stockholm’s main squares every day for nearly three decades, died at the age of 84. The daughter of a preacher, Johansson often served homemade sandwiches to the poor during breaks in her daily performance. At one point, she went to work at a bakery to help pay for the sandwiches, her husband said.

.2016 ~ Zoltan Kocsis, Hungarian pianist and conductor, died at the age of 64

On November 3 ~ in Music History

today

 

.1587 ~ Samuel Scheidt, German organist and composer

.1801 ~ Vincenzo Bellini, Italian composer

OCMS 1911 ~ Vladimir Ussachevsky, Russian-born American composer
More information about Ussachevsky

.1933 ~ John Barry, Academy Award~winning composer

.1941 ~ The classic Jerry Gray arrangement of String of Pearls was recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra on Bluebird 78s. The recording featured the trumpet of Bobby Hackett.

.1948 ~ Lulu (Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie), Singer. She changed her name to Lulu (and The Luvvers) in Scotland, early in her career. Married to singer Maurice Gibb

.1954 ~ Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard), Singer

.1956 ~ The classic MGM film, The Wizard of Oz, was first seen on television. The film cost CBS $250,000 to show. The movie was shown 18 times between 1956 and 1976, and you can probably catch it again no matter what year it is.

.1957 ~ Sam Phillips, owner of legendary Sun Records in Memphis, TN, released Great Balls of Fire, by Jerry Lee Lewis. Looking carefully at the original label, one will find credit to Lewis and “his pumping piano.”

.1960 ~ James Prime, Keyboards with Deacon Blue

.1960 ~ “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, opened on Broadway. The play would become an American theater standard and a smashing career launch for Shirley MacLaine.

.1962 ~ Billboard magazine dropped the “Western” from its chart title. The list has been known as Hot Country Singles ever since.

.1972 ~ Singers Carly Simon and James Taylor were married in Carly’s Manhattan apartment. The couple was said to be the highest-paid couple in the world next to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Carly and ‘Sweet Baby’ James would divorce years later, but they are still good friends.

.1990 ~ Mary Martin died

.2000 ~ Mary Hunter Wolf, one of the first female directors on Broadway died at the age of 95. Wolf made her Broadway debut directing the 1944 production of Horton Foote’s “Only the Heart.” The following year, she directed the first black Broadway musical, “Carib Song.” After directing a string of successful plays and musicals, Wolf was hired as an associate director for Jerome Robbins’ “Peter Pan,” starring Mary Martin. In 1947 Wolf was tapped to direct a new musical “High Button Shoes,” but was dismissed by the show’s producers before rehearsals began. Wolf sued, charging that her contract had been broken because she was a woman. Two years later the New York Supreme Court ruled in her favor. During her third year at Wellesley College, Wolf visited her aunt, author Mary Austin, in Santa Fe, N.M. where she found herself introduced into the circle of D.H Lawrence, Willa Cather and Sinclair Lewis. She soon abandoned her studies to pursue a directing career.

It’s Halloween: Toccata and Fugue in d minor by J.S Bach

toccata-d-minor

 

Johann Sebastian Bach’s towering monument of organ music, with its deep sense of foreboding, will forever be associated with Halloween.

Get a free copy of the sheet music at IMSLP or borrow a copy from the O’Connor Music Studio.  I have this arranged for organ, piano, duet, 2-piano, simplified…

If you want this in a book with other Bach transcriptions, amazon has this: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and the Other Bach Transcriptions for Solo Piano, arranged by Ferruccio Busoni.

Here, Virgil Fox performs it on his Allen Digital Touring Organ.

 

Diane Bish plays the Massey Memorial Organ at the Chautauqua Institution and talks about this instrument.

 

On October 25 ~ in Music History

today

1825 ~ Johann Strauss, Jr. (1825) Austrian composer, “The Waltz King”

OCMS 1838 ~ Georges Bizet, French composer
More information about Bizet

• 1875 ~ The first performance of the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was given in Boston, Massachusetts with Hans von Bülow as soloist

• 1885 ~ Johannes Brahms’ 4th Symphony in E premiered

• 1912 ~ Minnie Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Colley), Grand Ole Opry singer, CMA Hall of Fame, comedienne

• 1924 ~ Billy Barty, Comedian on The Spike Jones Show

• 1926 ~ Jimmy Heath, Musician, reeds with the Heath Brothers, bandleader

• 1927 ~ Barbara Cook, Tony Award-winning actress, singer in “The Music Man” in 1957, “Flahooley”, “Oklahoma”, “Carousel”, “Plain and Fancy”, “Candide”, “The Gay Life”, “She Loves Me”, “Any Wednesday”, “Funny Girl”, “The Gershwin Years”

• 1937 ~ Jeanne (Gloria) Black, Singer

• 1940 ~ “Cabin in the Sky” opened for the first of 256 shows. Taking a Chance on Love is the one big hit that came from the musical.

• 1941 ~ Helen Reddy, Singer

• 1943 ~ Benny Carter and his orchestra recorded Poinciana on the Capitol label. The real title, incidentally, is Poinciana (Song of the Tree).

• 1944 ~ Jon Anderson, Singer, solo and duo called Jon and Vangelis

• 1944 ~ Taffy Danoff (Nivert), Singer with Starland Vocal Band

• 1948 ~ Glenn Tipton, Guitarist with Judas Priest

• 1951 ~ Ransom Wilson, American flutist and conductor

• 1956 ~ Mathias Jabs, Guitarist with Scorpions

• 1964 ~ “And now, rrrrright here on this stage….” The Rolling Stones were introduced to American audiences on The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS-TV.

• 1969 ~ Canada’s The Guess Who got a gold record for the single, Laughing.

OCMS 1971 ~ Midori (Goto), Japanese violinist
More information on Midori

• 1974 ~ The single, Skin Tight, by The Ohio Players, went gold on this day.

• 1980 ~ Virgil Fox, organist, passed away

• 1984 ~ John Cougar Mellencamp reached the two-million-dollar sales mark with his album, “Uh-Huh”.

• 1984 ~ Country group Alabama went to the three-million-dollar mark with two albums this day with Feels So Right and Mountain Music.

• 2000 ~ Don Brooks, a studio musician who played the harmonica with Harry Belafonte, Ringo Starr, the Bee Gees and Yoko Ono’s band, died of leukemia at the age of 53. Brooks, who was raised in Texas, first picked up the harmonica after hearing an album by bluesman Sonny Terry. He played in Dallas coffee shops in the 1960s and moved to New York in 1967, joining a Greenwich Village folk scene that included David Bromberg and John Hammond Jr. In 1973, he joined singer Waylon Jennings’s band and helped create the sound known as outlaw country music. Brooks recorded with Belafonte, Starr, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Carly Simon, Diana Ross and Bette Midler, among others. He also played with groups such as the Bee Gees, the Talking Heads and Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. He was a musician on Broadway in “Big River” (1985) and “The Gospel at Colonus” (1988), and he worked on the soundtrack for the television documentary “The Civil War.”

On October 15 ~ in Music History

today

• 1818 ~ Alexander Dreyschock, Bohemian pianist

• 1844 ~ Friedrich Niedzsche, German philosopher and composer

• 1886 ~ Modest Mussorgsky’s musical fantasy “Night on Bald Mountain” premiered in St. Petersburg’s Kononov Hall, Russia

• 1900 ~ Boston Symphony Hall’s first concert took place

• 1906 ~ American premièr of Puccini’s opera, “Madama Butterfly”, Washington, D.C.

• 1913 ~ David Carroll, Conductor, arranger, record producer for The Diamonds and The Platters

• 1925 ~ Mickey (McHouston) Baker, Guitarist, singer in the duo, Mickey and Sylvia

• 1925 ~ Grand Ole Opry started on radio in Nashville, Tennessee (where it still originates). It was first heard on network radio in 1939. The show finally made it to TV on this day in 1955.

• 1926 ~ Karl Richter, German organist and conductor

• 1931 ~ The production of “Cat and the Fiddle” opened in New York. It played for 395 performances.

• 1932 ~ The first city-owned opera house, the War Memorial Opera House of San Francisco, opened this day. “Tosca” was the first opera presented.

• 1937 ~ Barry McGuire, Singer, songwriter with The New Christy Minstrels

• 1938 ~ Marv Johnson, Singer

• 1942 ~ Don Stevenson, Drummer, singer with Moby Grape

• 1946 ~ Richard Carpenter, Composer, singer, Grammy Award-winning group, the Carpenters

• 1948 ~ Chris De Burgh (Davidson), Singer, songwriter

• 1951 ~ I Love Lucy debuted on CBS-TV. For the next 20 years, Lucille Ball would be a TV regular. She did take 1956 off. Why? No, having little Ricky had nothing to do with it. She starred in “Damn Yankees” on Broadway that year.

• 1953 ~ Tito (Toriano) Jackson, Singer with The Jackson Five, brother of Michael, Janet, Jermaine, LaToya

• 1953 ~ “Teahouse of the August Moon” opened on Broadway to begin a long and successful run of 1,027 performances.

• 1955 ~ The Grand Ole Opry started on TV

• 1964 ~ An American treasure passed away. Cole Porter, the renowned lyricist and composer, died at age 73. I’ve Got You Under My Skin and hundreds of other classics crossed all musical style and format boundaries throughout his long and rich career.
More information about Porter

• 2001 ~ Etta James, the prolific jazz vocalist whose soulful, blues-influenced recordings over more than a half-century won her acclaim and two Grammy nominations, died of complications from a bout with cancer. She was 72. Jones’ style was described as a cross between Billie Holiday, her idol, and Dinah Washington. She died the same day her last recording, Etta Jones Sings Lady Day, hit music stores. Born in Aiken, S.C., Jones was a teenager when she was discovered while competing in a contest at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem. Jones collaborated with such greats as Oliver Nelson, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Kenny Burrell and Cedar Walton, both in concert and on recordings. She recorded prolifically for RCA, Prestige, Muse and more recently Highnote Records. Jones earned a gold record for her 1960 recording Don’t Go to Strangers, and received a Grammy nomination in 1981 for Save Your Love For Me. She got a second Grammy nomination in 1999 for a collection of songs: My Buddy – Etta Jones Sings the Songs of Buddy Johnson. Jones was the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Eubie Blake Jazz Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women in Jazz Foundation.

• 2008 ~ Edie Adams [Edith Enke], American businesswoman, singer, actress and comedian, died at the age of 81

How it All Began

ocms-logo

 

Today, since it’s a “teaching day”, I’m thankful for my piano studio, my students, and my piano 🙂

 

When I was growing up, my dad was a minister, meaning we lived in whatever parsonage the church chose to let us live in.  The one we had in Pawcatuck, CT had an upright piano that someone had put out in the sunroom.  Not the best place for a piano, but I digress.

Since we had the piano already, someone – probably my mom – decided that I would take lessons.  We had the organist from the Baptist church just across the river in Westerly, RI

Apparently, Clara Pashley was fondly remembered at the church (now Central Baptist Church) since she was mentioned in an article from 2010.

 

screenshot-2016-11-04-10-04-33
25-centsMiss Pashley walked to our house each week and taught me (and my mom who was always listening in) piano for the grand sum of 25 cents.

I started with Ada Richter’s classic Teaching Little Fingers to Play, which has now been morphed into the John Thompson library.

From there, it was the Michael Aaron series, and some sheet music.

There was no music store in our town, so I have no idea where any of this music came from – but I still have it all.

My parents did very well for their quarter a week investment, especially since my mom paid good attention and was able to beef up lessons she’d had as a child.  Later on, she played well enough that she was church organist for a local Roman Catholic Church.

But I digress…

In those days, kids couldn’t do a whole lot of activities, so in 6th grade, I decided I wanted to be a Girl Scout.  Bye, bye Clara.

Girl Scouts didn’t last long but I did play piano in a talent show.  I remember, I carefully cut Burgmüller’s Ballade out of my Michael Aaron book and made a nice construction paper cover.  (I still have this, too)

balladeburgmuller

 

I doubt that I played this well but here’s what it was supposed to sound like:

 

A few years intervened and we moved to Springfield, MA.  The parsonage piano there was in terrible shape and in the dark, never-used basement.  But I decided to make it mine and cleared up the area around it and started “practicing”.

My Junior or Senior year of High School I decided I wanted to major in music in college.  I decided to learn, on my own, a piano arrangement of Aragonnaise by Jules Massenet.  I have no idea why or where that sheet music came from but I started working furiously on this piece.

aragonnaise

Hopefully, at some point, it should have sounded like this:

 

 

I started pedaling (no pun intended!) my music to the Universities of Connecticut and Massachusetts and ended up at UMass Amherst since we were state residents.

Early morning gym classes (usually swimming), then wet hair traipsing across campus to music theory in winter 5 days a week.  AARRGGH!

But I stuck it out.

My wonderful piano teacher, Howard Lebow, was killed in a car accident my sophomore year and I was devastated.  There was about him in a post on January 26, 2018 here: https://oconnormusicstudio.com

I took yet another break from piano lessons – but I kept playing.

After DH graduated, we moved to Milwaukee, WI for his graduate school.  Besides working 2 jobs, I found time to commandeer the practice rooms at the University of Wisconsin.  I also found a teacher at the Schaum School of Music.  She was amazed that I had no piano at home to practice on.

When we later moved to Alexandria, VA my DH gave me a choice of new car or piano. So, I found a used piano.  The owner had acquired it in a divorce and wanted it gone.  Yesterday.  She even paid to move it out of her apartment.

The new-to-me piano took up half our living room.  When my parents came to visit, their feet were under my piano as they slept on cots.

I found yet another new piano teacher and she is still my best friend to this day.

That piano moved to several locations before I bought a brand new Yamaha grand piano.  The movers accidentally brought in the wrong one and I made them return it.  The people who lived in an apartment were probably unhappy when they had to return my piano and take their own new baby grand back.

I started teaching as a traveling piano teacher in Silver Spring, Maryland.  I continued that in Wilmington, DE.

When we got to Fairfax, VA I decided no more traveling.  Students would come to me.  And so they have since 1973.

What is supposed to be our living room is filled with music books, electric keyboards, the grand piano, 2 organs, 2 violins, 2 clarinets, a hand-made (by me!) dulcimer and other musical “stuff”.

Piano playing has gotten me through the worst times of my life.  Teaching has been a lifeline for me, as well.

I am so thankful for the students who have stayed with me over the years.

 

On October 10 ~ in Music History

 

 

• 1902 ~ The Gibson Mandolin guitar company was formed. Gibson’s first electric guitar the ES-150 was produced in 1936, and in 1946 Gibson introduced the P-90 single coil pickup, which was eventually used on the first Les Paul model made in 1952.

• 1906 ~ Paul Creston, American composer and organist

• 1908 ~ Johnny Green, Songwriter of Coquette, Body and Soul, I’m Yours, (You Came Along From) Out of Nowhere, I Cover the Waterfront, Easy Come, Easy Go; won five Oscars for work on MGM films: “Easter Parade”, “West Side Story”, “Oliver”, “An American in Paris”, “Bye Bye Birdie”, “High Society”, “Raintree County”, “The Great Caruso”, “Summer Stock” and “Brigadoon”

• 1914 ~ Ivory Joe Hunter, Singer, pianist, songwriter

• 1920 ~ Thelonious (Sphere) Monk, American jazz pianist and composer

• 1928 ~ You’re the Cream in My Coffee … comes from “Hold Everything”, which opened on Broadway this day and ran for 413 performances.

• 1935 ~ George Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess” opened on Broadway New York

• 1937 ~ The Mutual Broadcasting System debuted Thirty Minutes in Hollywood. 48 sponsors shared the cost of the program that aired in 72 cities nationwide. It was the first Mutual co-op radio show. George Jessel and Norma Talmadge starred. Music was provided by the Tommy Tucker Orchestra.

• 1940 ~ Moonlight and Roses, by Lanny Ross, was recorded on the Victor label.

• 1942 ~ The anniversary of the first production of Verdi’s opera Aida by an all African-American cast

• 1946 ~ Ben Vereen, American dancer and singer of popular music, Tony Award-winning actor, TV host of You Write the Songs

• 1953 ~ Midge (James) Ure, Singer, songwriter

• 1955 ~ David Lee Roth, Singer with Van Halen

• 1958 ~ Tanya Tucker, Singer

• 1961 ~ Martin Kemp, Bass with Spandau Ballet, brother of musician Gary Kemp

• 1970 ~ Neil Diamond reached the #1 spot on the pop music charts for the first time with Cracklin’ Rosie. In 1972, Diamond would reach a similar pinnacle with Song Sung Blue.

• 1979 ~ Not just Rumours, but fact, that Fleetwood Mac got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

• 1985 ~ Yul Brynner passed away

• 2001 ~ Patricia Anne McKinnon, whose singing career began on Canadian television’s “Singalong Jubilee”, died of lymphatic cancer. She was 53. McKinnon was born in Shilo, Manitoba. Beginning her singing career at the age of 13, McKinnon sang for the Halifax-produced “Singalong Jubilee,” a show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She also starred in television programs, including “Juliette,” “Show of the Week,” and “A Go Go ’66.” For more than 28 years McKinnon fought Hodgkins disease, which put her career on hold at times.

• 2003 ~ Eugene Istomin, one of the first great classical pianists born in America, died after battling liver cancer. He was 77. At 17, Istomin won both the prestigious Leventritt and Philadelphia Youth Orchestra awards. In 1943, he made sensational debuts in the same week with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy and the New York Philharmonic under Artur Rodzinski, playing Johannes Brahms’Second Piano Concerto. At 25, he began a long association with cellist Pablo Casals. A year and a half after Casals’ death in 1973, Istomin married his widow, Marta, now president of the Manhattan School of Music. In a career that carried him throughout the world, Istomin gave more than 4,000 concerts with leading conductors – including Bruno Walter, Fritz Reiner, George Szell, Leopold Stokowski and Leonard Bernstein.

• 2010 ~ Dame Joan Sutherland, Australian operatic soprano died at the age of 83