February 3: On This Day in Music

today

. 1525 ~ Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina, composer

. 1736 ~ Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Austrian musician

. 1809 ~ (Jacob Ludwig) Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn, German composer
More information about Mendelssohn

. 1900 ~ Mabel Mercer, British-born American cabaret singer

. 1904 ~ Luigi Dallapiccola, Italian composer
More information about Dallapiccola

. 1911 ~ Jehan Alain, French organist and composer

. 1928 ~ Frankie Vaughn (Abelson), Singer

. 1929 ~ Russell Arms, Singer

. 1940 ~ Angelo D’Aleo, Singer with Dion and The Belmonts

. 1941 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded the classic, Amapola, on Decca Records. Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly joined in a vocal duet on this very famous and popular song of the Big Band era.

. 1943 ~ Eric Haydock, Bass with The Hollies

. 1943 ~ Dennis Edwards, singer with the Temptations since 1968. He sang on a string of the group’s hits including “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” in an initial tenure that stretched to 1977.

. 1947 ~ Melanie (Safka), Singer

. 1947 ~ Dave Davies, Singer, guitarist with The Kinks

. 1950 ~ Ed, Gene, Joe and Vic, The Ames Brothers, reached the #1 spot on the pop music charts for the first time, as Rag Mop became the most favorite song in the U.S. The brothers enjoyed many successes with their recording efforts.

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1959 ~ 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens died in an airplane crash near Mason City, Iowa. February 3rd has been remembered as ‘The Day the Music Died’ since Don McLean made the line popular in his 1972 hit, “American Pie”. Buddy Holly, born Charles Hardin Holly in Lubbock, Texas, recorded That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, BoyMaybe Baby, and others, including It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (recorded just before his death, a smash in the U.K., non-top-10 in the U.S.). Buddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. A convincing portrait of the singer was portrayed by Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story, a made for TV movie. J.P. (Jiles Perry) Richardson was from Sabine Pass, TX. He held the record for longest, continuous broadcasting as a DJ at KTRM Radio in Beaumont, TX in 1956. He was on the air for 122 hours and eight minutes. In addition to his smash hit, Chantilly Lace, Richardson also penned Running Bear (a hit for Johnny Preston) plus White Lightning (a hit for country star, George Jones). Richard Valenzuela lived in Pacoima, CA (near LA) and had a role in the 1959 film, Go Johnny Go. Ritchie Valens’ two big hits were Donna and La Bamba … the last, the title of a 1987 film depiction of his life. La Bamba also represented the first fusion of Latin music and American rock. Of the three young stars who died in that plane crash, the loss of Buddy Holly reverberated the loudest over the years. But, fans of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll will agree, all three have been sorely missed.

. 1959 ~ Lol (Laurence) Tolhurst, Drummer, keyboard with The Cure

. 1964 ~ The British group, The Beatles, received its first gold record award for the single, I Want To Hold Your Hand. The group also won a gold LP award for “Meet The Beatles”. The album had been released in the United States only 14 days earlier.

. 1971 ~ Lynn Anderson received a gold record for the single, Rose Garden. The Grand Forks, ND country singer was raised in Sacramento, CA. In addition to being a singer, she was an accomplished equestrian and California Horse Show Queen in 1966.

. 1974 ~ “Pajama Game” closed at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 65 performances

. 1979 ~ YMCA by Village People peaked at #2 on the pop singles chart.  It was fun to dance to!

. 2002 ~ Remo Palmier, a self-trained guitarist who was a fixture in the New York jazz scene in the 1940s, died at the age of 78, and had been suffering from leukemia and lymphoma, his wife said. Over the course of his career, Palmier played with jazz legends Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. Born Remo Palmieri in the Bronx, Palmier achieved his greatest fame performing with broadcaster Arthur Godfrey on CBS, and taught Godfrey how to play the ukulele. After Godfrey retired, Palmier released his own albums, “Windflower and “Remo Palmier”.

. 1912 ~ Erich Leinsdorf, Austrian-born American conductor

. 1937 ~ Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra recorded A Study in Brown, on Decca Records.

. 1941 ~ John Steel, Singer, drummer with The Animals

. 1944 ~ Florence LaRue (Gordon), Singer with The Fifth Dimension

. 1962 ~ Clint Black, Singer, actor

. 2002 ~ Blues and jazz pianist Abie “Boogaloo” Ames died at the age of 83. Ames was born on Big Egypt Plantation in Cruger, Miss., on May 23, 1918. He began playing piano at the age of 5 and his style earned him the nickname “Boogaloo” in the 1940’s. Ames moved to Detroit as a teenager and started a band, touring Europe with Louis Armstrong in 1936. Ames worked at Motown Studio and befriended other great musicians like Nat King Cole and Erroll Garner. In 1980, Ames moved to Greenville, where he became a regular performer at local clubs and festivals. Cassandra Wilson’s forthcoming Blue Note CD tentatively titled “Belly of the Sun” is set to include Darkness in the Delta, a song written by Ames for the CD. Ames was named the 2001 winner of the Artist’s Achievement Award of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in the state of Mississippi. With his protege and 1990s musical partner Eden Brent, Ames performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in 2000. Ames’ last public performance was in October 2001 at the E.E. Bass Cultural Center in Greenville with another former student, Mulgrew Miller.

. 2002 ~ David Stetler, a big band swing drummer who played with Benny Goodman and Spike Jones, died of pneumonia. He was 79. A Seattle native, Stetler was discovered in high school by Lunceford. With a style close to that of Gene Krupa and Jo Jones, Stetler toured the country in the 1940s but returned to Seattle after his first son was born. He backed up national acts in local performances, including many during the world’s fair in 1962.

. 2003 ~ Charlie Biddle, a leader of Montreal’s jazz scene in the 1950s and ’60s who played bass with Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, died after a battle with cancer. He was 76. Biddle was a native of Philadelphia who moved to Canada in 1948. Over the next five decades, the World War II veteran and former car salesman became synonymous with jazz in Montreal. Biddle opened his own club, Uncle Charlie’s Jazz Joint, in suburban Ste- Therese in 1958. He later performed in such legendary Montreal nightspots as The Black Bottom and the Penthouse, where he worked with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and Lionel Hampton. When there were no jobs in Montreal, Biddle played smaller Quebec cities with a group called Three Jacks and a Jill. Until recently, Biddle played four nights a week at Biddle’s Jazz and Ribs, a Montreal landmark for nearly 25 years. Coincidentally, the club closed Tuesday for planned renovations, which included erecting a wall of fame to honor Biddle and others who have played at the club. In 1979, he organized the three-day festival that some say paved the way for the renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival. News Item about Charlie Biddle

. 2003 ~ Jerome Hines, a bass vocalist who performed regularly at the Metropolitan Opera during a career that spanned more than six decades, died. He was 81. Hines spent 41 years performing at the Met, more than any other principal singer in its history. He was known for his timbral richness, as well as the research he conducted into the historical and psychological background of the roles he portrayed. During his career at the Met, he portrayed 45 characters in 39 works, including title roles in Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” and Colline in Puccini’s “La Boheme.” He gave a total of 868 performances at the Met, retiring in 1987. He went on to perform with regional opera companies and at benefits. Hines, who became a born-again Christian in the 1950s, composed his own opera, “I Am the Way,” about the life of Jesus. He sang the title role at the Met in 1968 and 93 times around the world.

. 2003 ~ Saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus, a former member of the Doobie Brothers who had performed with Steely Dan since 1993, died en route to a series of performances in California. He was 58. Bumpus began his career at age 10, playing alto saxophone in the school band in Santa Cruz, Calif. In 1966, he spent six months performing with Bobby Freeman, and joined Moby Grape in 1977, writing one tune for the “Live Grape” album. Bumpus also recorded two solo albums and toured with his own band. Since performing with The Doobie Brothers in the early 1980s, Bumpus played with a number of bands, most recently with Steely Dan, which won the “Album of the Year” Grammy for its 2000 “Two Against Nature” release. His relations with his former Doobies bandmates turned contentious in the late 1990s, when they sued him and several other musicians over their use of the Doobies name. A federal judge in 1999 ruled against Bumpus and the other musicians, ordering them not to use the name.

February 2: On This Day in Music

It’s Groundhog Day…again!  In weather lore, if a groundhog, also known as a woodchuck, or marmot emerges from its burrow on this day and fails to see its shadow winter will soon end. If on the other hand, it is sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, winter will continue for 6 more weeks.

. 1594 ~ Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina, Italian composer, died at the age of 68

. 1714 ~ Gottfried August Homilius, German composer, cantor and organist

. 1789 ~ Armand-Louis Couperin, French composer, organist, and harpsichordist died at the age of 63

. 1875 ~ Fritz Kreisler, Austrian-born American violinist and virtuoso/composer Some of his best-known works are Caprice Viennois, Tambourin Chinois, Liebesfreud and La Gitana

. 1901 ~ Jascha Heifetz, Russian-born American violinist
Read quotes by and about Heifetz
More information about Heifetz

. 1911 ~ Jussi Björling, Swedish tenor

. 1912 ~ Burton Lane (Levy), Composer of How Are Things in Glocca Morra, That Old Devil Moon, Look to the Rainbow, How About You, I Hear Music, Come Back to Me, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, How Could You Believe Me?; His Broadway musicals were Finian’s Rainbow (collaboration with Yip Harburg), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (collaboration with Alan Jay Lerner). He contributed songs to over 30 films: Babes on Broadway, Royal Wedding, Ship Ahoy, St. Louis Blues and credited with discovering Judy Garland

. 1927 ~ Stan Getz (Stanley Gayetzby), American jazz tenor saxophonist

. 1937 ~ Tom Smothers, Entertainer, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Smothers Brothers Show, The Steve Allen Show, Dick’s Brother

. 1937 ~ Guy Lombardo and his orchestra recorded one of Guy’s most famous tunes. Boo Hoo was waxed on Victor Records and became one of the group’s all-time great hits.

. 1940 ~ Alan Caddy, Guitarist with The Tornados

. 1941 ~ Serge Alexandrovich Tcherepnin, composer

. 1942 ~ Graham Nash, Singer with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

. 1947 ~ Peter Lucia, Drummer with Tommy James and The Shondells

. 1945 ~ The first 45 RPM vinyl record was released. It was one of the most popular ways for music lovers to enjoy their favorite song without buying an entire record. The cassette single during the 1980s and 1990s was a comparable format.

. 1949 ~ Ross Valory, Bass with Journey

. 1959 ~ The Coasters tune, Charlie Brown, was released. The tune went to #2 and stayed there for three weeks, but didn’t make it to the top spot of the charts. A catchy song (“Fee fee fi fi fo fo fum. I smell smoke in the auditorium…”), it was on the charts for a total of 12 weeks. The song at number one, preventing Charlie Brown from reaching the top, was Venus, by Frankie Avalon.

. 1996 ~ Gene Kelly, American actor and dancer (Singin’ in the Rain), died at the age of 83

. 2001 ~ French pianist Nicole Henriot, who entered the Paris Conservatory at age 7 and went on to perform around the globe with conductor Charles Munch, died at the age of 75. Emerging on the world music scene after World War II, Henriot built her reputation on interpretations of works from Liszt to Prokofiev, and especially French composers such as RavelFauré and Milhaud. She was most famous for her performances with Munch, music director of the Boston Symphony from 1949 to 1962. Munch, who died in 1968, was the uncle of Henriot’s husband. Born in 1925, Henriot won the Paris Conservatory’s first prize at age 13. During the war, Henriot gave aid to her brother, a member of the French Resistance. When Gestapo agents searched her home in 1944, she managed to destroy her brother’s secret documents but was badly beaten. After the war, Henriot became the first French pianist to appear in Britain and began an international tour that took her from Scandinavia to Egypt. She made her American debut in 1948 as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Munch’s direction. When Munch formed the Orchestra of Paris in 1967, Henriot was one of the fledgling orchestra’s first soloists. In the 1970s and 1980s, Henriot devoted herself to teaching, and worked at the Conservatory of Liege, Belgium, and at the Walloon Conservatory of Brussels.

. 2001 ~ Victor Norman, who founded the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and conducted the group for three decades, died at the age of 95. Colleagues said Norman was a visionary who needed to be as skilled in politics as he was in music to keep the symphony together. “He had this idea that a symphony orchestra could be created around here, when really it had been tried several times before, never with any kind of significant success,” said Charles Frink, a New London composer who studied with Norman. Norman founded the New London Civic Orchestra in 1946. It merged with the Willimantic Orchestra in 1952 to become the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. He stepped down from the podium in 1980. In his retirement, Norman composed music. Two of his orchestral pieces were performed by the New Britain Symphony Orchestra and the Westminster Community Orchestra in Princeton, N.J. His memoirs, “Victor Norman: A Life in Music, a Lifetime of Learning,” were published in 1999.

. 2015 ~ French piano virtuoso Aldo Ciccolini died at age 89. Born on August 15, 1925, into a musical family in Naples, Aldo Ciccolini was a child prodigy, beginning composition classes in the city’s conservatory at age nine.

 

Happy Birthday to Mozart!

mozart-birthday

 

 

Wolfgang Amadeus MozartWolfgang Amadeus Theophilus Mozart lived between 1756 and 1791. He is considered to be a classical composer. Mozart, born in Salzburg, Austria, began composing before most children go to kindergarten. By the time he was six he had played the piano and violin in public.

A Wunderkind, a prodigy of the first rank before the age of five, Mozart astounded the musical world with compositions of unsurpassed brilliance. His father Leopold had recognized his talent at the age of three and immediately set out to teach him to play the harpsichord, violin, and organ. Mozart and his sister made their debut in Munich when he was just six and traveled about Europe together, performing at courts and before royalty, always with success. While still a little child Mozart was inventing symphonies, sonatas, and his first opera. Legends abound about how Mozart could hear an entire work in his head and write everything down without making even one change.

As a child performer he was often treated as a freak. People would cover his hands as he played the piano, make him compose tunes on the spot and perform all sorts of other musical tricks.

In 1787 Mozart became court composer to Joseph II. He played for royalty, received commissions from aristocrats and in his short lifetime composed nearly a thousand masterpieces, including symphonies, operas, serenades, sonatas, concertos, masses, vocal works, and church works.

Mozart was a prolific composer writing masterpieces using every form of music, including his operas “The Marriage of Figaro” (based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais), “Don Giovanni”, “Cosi fan tutte” and “The Magic Flute”. His mastery of instrumental and vocal forms, from symphony to concerto and opera, was unrivalled in his own time and perhaps in any other.

Composing the Requiem Mass commissioned for Count Walsegg, he felt he was writing his own requiem and he died before it was finished.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer, died in Vienna Austria at the age of 35, penniless, on December 5th, 1791, of malignant typhus. Mozart, the precocious child prodigy, composed several pieces that are deemed central to the classical era. Though he ranked as one of the greatest musical genius, he did not live a life of affluence as none of his compositions earned him a decent commission but the world is forever enriched by such works as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the Symphonies No. 38 through 41 and the Coronation Mass.

In the year 2000, there have were some new discoveries about Mozart’s death

     Mozart’s birthday

     Mozart’s son, Wolfgang Amadeus Franz Xavier Mozart

     Listen to Mozart’s music.

You might be surprised to hear what “Ah Vous Dirais-je Maman” is!


     Read quotes by and about Mozart

     In Praise of Pianos and the Artists Who Play Them

     Guess what my li’l Chopin played today

     History of the Piano

     Mozart’s first public concert with his sister

     Books and CD’s by Mozart

         Mozart for Children

     Read Amazon.com’s Get Started in Classical feature

University offers opera instead of traditional discipline

 

 

January 7 ~ On This Day in Music

. 1762 ~ The first public concert by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, age 6 and his sister Nannerl, age 12 was on this day.

. 1857  ~ First performance of Franz Liszt‘s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A, in Weimar. Liszt conducted and the soloist was his pupil, Hans von Bronsart.

. 1876 ~ William Yeates Hurlstone, composer

. 1899 ~ Francis Poulenc, French composer
More information about Poulenc

. 1922 ~ Jean-Pierre Rampal, French flutist
More information about Rampal

. 1924 ~ George Gershwin completed the incomparable score of Rhapsody in Blue. Incidentally, George was only 26 years old at the time. George didn’t even have an interest in music until his family got him a piano when he was twelve. Nine years later he had his first hit, Swanee, with lyrics written by Irving Caesar. Rhapsody in Blue was commissioned in 1924 by Paul Whiteman and then orchestrated by Ferde Grofe of Grand Canyon Suite fame. This first orchestration of Gershwin’s score was never quite right. Grofe’s style didn’t gel with Gershwin’s. Several other artists attempted to do justice to Rhapsody in Blue, never quite making the grade. Some thirty years later, orchestra leader Hugo Winterhalter with Byron Janis at the piano did a jazzed up version; pretty close to the way Gershwin had described his piece. However, it wasn’t until Gershwin’s original solo piano was accompanied by a jazz band led by Michael Tilson Thomas, that the true arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue was heard. No matter how you hear it, Rhapsody in Blue will remain the signature of one of the most influential of composers, songwriters and pianists in American music history.

. 1926 ~ A famous marriage that endured for many years is remembered this day. It’s the wedding anniversary of George Burns and Gracie Allen who were married by a Justice of the Peace in Cleveland, Ohio.

. 1930 ~ Jack Greene, The Green Giant, CMA Male Vocalist, Album, Single and Song of the Year

. 1940 ~ The gate to Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch opened. The ‘singing cowboy’ would entertain on CBS radio for the next 16 years.

. 1941 ~ Good-for-Nothin’-Joe was recorded by the sultry Lena Horne. She sang the classic song with Charlie Barnet and his orchestra on Bluebird Records.

. 1942 ~ Paul Revere, Singer, keyboards with Paul Revere and The Raiders

. 1946 ~ Jann Wenner, Publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine

. 1947 ~ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was the #1 song on the U.S. pop charts

. 1948 ~ Kenny Loggins, American pop-rock singer, Grammy Award-winning songwriter and guitarist

. 1950 ~ Ernest Tubb made his first appearance at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Ernest also did a 15-minute radio program each day that became very popular in West Texas. So popular, in fact, that he bought the radio station that had aired the program for years and years: KGKL in San Angelo, Texas.

. 1955 ~ The first black singer at the Metropolitan Opera was Marian Anderson, who appeared as Ulrica in Verdi’s “The Masked Ball”.

. 1958 ~ The Flying V guitar, which is a favorite of rock musicians, was patented this day by the Gibson Guitar Company.

. 1985 ~ Yul Brynner returned to the Broadway stage this night as “The King and I” returned to where Yul first began his reign, 33 years before. Through his career to that date, Brynner appeared in 4,434 shows without missing a single performance.

. 2002 ~ Jon Lee, drummer for the Welsh rock band Feeder, died at the age of 33. The trio’s biggest hit single was the 2001 single Buck Rogers, which reached No. 5 on the British charts. Feeder released its first full-length album, “Polythene,” in England in 1997; it was released in the United States in early 1998. The band released its third album, “Echo Park,” last year, which debuted at No. 5 in Britain and swiftly sold more than 100,000 copies.

. 2002 ~ Nauman Steele Scott III, co-owner of Black Top Records which gained an international reputation for its blues, rhythm-and-blues and zydeco recordings, died. Scott suffered from heart disease. He was 56. Scott owned Black Top Records with his brother, Hammond. The label featured such artists as Earl King, Snooks Eaglin and the Neville Brothers. Black Top releases picked up two Grammy nominations and have won more than 30 W.C. Handy Blues Awards.

January 1 ~ On This Day in Music

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Happy New Year!

• 1652 ~ Johann Krieger, German composer and organist

• 1701 ~ Johann Joachim Agrell, Composer
More information about Agrell

• 1735 ~ Paul Revere, American patriot and music engraver

• 1764 ~ In a stunning demonstration of prodigious talent, the Royal Family at Versailles in France was treated to a brilliant recital by an eight-year-old musician. His name was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

• 1782 ~ Johann Christian Bach (“English Bach”), German composer, 11th son of Johann Sebastian Bach, died at the age of 46
More about Johann Christian Bach,

• 1878 ~ Edwin Franko Goldman, Composer

1900 ~ Xavier Cugat (Francisco de Asís Javier Cugat Mingall de Brue y Deulofeo). Spanish violinist, composer and bandleader, married to Abbe Lane and Charo
More information about Cugat

• 1916 ~ Earl Wrightson, Actor, singer

• 1923 ~ Milt Jackson, Vibes with The Modern Jazz Quartet

• 1925 ~ Lucrezia Bori and John McCormack of the famous Metropolitan Opera in New York City made their singing debuts on radio this day. The broadcast over what was WEAF Radio (now WABC) encouraged others to sing on radio. Some of those were Hootie and the Blowfish, and Barry Manilow.

• 1928 ~ Frank Pourcel, Composer, violinist

• 1942 ~ Country Joe McDonald, Singer with Country Joe & the Fish

• 1953 ~ A sad day in country music, as the legendary Hank Williams died at the young age of 29. Undisputedly, the biggest star in the history of country music, Hank Williams’ legacy is being carried on by his son, Hank Williams, Jr.

• 1955 ~ Elvis Presley appeared at The Eagles Hall in Houston Texas. Presley went on to play over 250 shows in 1955.

• 1958 ~ Johnny Cash played his first-ever prison concert —a concert that helped set Merle Haggard, then a 20-year-old San Quentin inmate, on the path toward becoming a country music legend.

• 1962 ~ The Beatles went an audition with Decca Records and are turned down in favor of the Tremeloes.

• 1968 ~ A group known as The Blue Velvets decided to change its name this day and it’s a good thing they did. The new name soon became a national pop music favorite as Creedence Clearwater Revival climbed to stardom.

• 1972 ~ Maurice Chevalier passed away. Chevalier was a French actor, Cabaret singer and entertainer.

• 1981 ~ Hephzibah Menuhin, American-Australian concert pianist, writer, and human rights campaigner died at the age of 61. She was sister to the violinist Yehudi Menuhin and to the pianist, painter, and poet Yaltah Menuhin.

• 1984 ~ Alexis Korner passed away. Korner was a British blues musician and radio broadcaster, who has sometimes been referred to as “a founding father of British blues”.

• 2000 ~ Ray Walston, who found commercial success playing a comical devil in the play “Damn Yankees” and an extraterrestrial on the sitcom “My Favorite Martian,” of natural causes at the age of 86. Walston caught the biggest break of his career when he won a Tony in 1955 for his performance in Broadway’s “Damn Yankees.” The smash musical told the story of a frustrated baseball fan who sells his soul. His screen debut came in the 1957 movie “Kiss Them For Me” with Cary Grant, and the next year he played the devil again in the film version of “Damn Yankees.” Walston snagged the role that would stick with him for a lifetime – that of a lovable alien on the TV show “My Favorite Martian” in 1963. The show was immensely popular, but Walston felt so typecast that he tried to highlight his dramatic abilities by returning to the stage when the TV comedy went off the air in 1966. He stayed in theater for several years before re-emerging with a succession of solid supporting roles in movies and television. Nearly 30 years after the end of the lighthearted “My Favorite Martian,” Walston’s role on “Picket Fences” as acerbic Judge Henry Bone earned Walston successive Emmys in 1995-96.

• 2016 ~ Chart-topping R&B singer Natalie Cole, who followed her famous father in the music business with hits like “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) and “Unforgettable,” died at age 65.

• 2018 ~ Robert Mann, American composer and violinist (the founding Violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet), died at the age of 97

 

 

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December 12 ~ On This Day in Music

Christmas Countdown: Still, Still, Still

• 1887 ~ Kurt Atterberg, Swedish composer

• 1889 ~ Václav Štěpán, Czech pianist and composer

• 1900 ~ Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice & Sing”, composed. It was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) in 1900 and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954) in 1905.

• 1915 ~ Frank (Francis Albert) Sinatra, American actor and singer of popular music

• 1918 ~ Joe Williams (Joseph Goreed), Jazz singer, sang with Count Basie, actor on The Bill Cosby Show

• 1938 ~ Connie Francis (Concetta Franconero), American singer and actress

• 1941 ~ Terry Kirkman, Wind instruments, keyboards with The Association

• 1941 ~ Dionne Warwick, American Grammy Award-winning of popular music

• 1942 ~ Mike Pindar, Keyboards with The Moody Blues

• 1943 ~ Dickie Betts, Guitar with The Allman Brothers and also Great Southern

• 1943 ~ Mike Smith, Organs, singer with The Dave Clark Five

• 1943 ~ Grover Washington, Jr., American jazz saxophonist

• 1946 ~ Clive Bunker, Drummer with Jethro Tull

• 1949 ~ Paul Rodgers, Piano, vocals with Free, Bad Company, The Firm

• 1959 ~ Sheila E. (Escovedo), Drummer, singer

• 1959 ~ Paul Rutherford, Singer with Frankie Goes to Hollywood

• 1984 ~ The group known as Band Aid, 38 of Britain’s top rock musicians, recorded Do They Know This is Christmas? for Ethiopian famine victims. Despite the best of intentions, much of the food raised never got to the starving Ethiopians. In fact, much of it was found rotting on docks, not fit for human consumption. More than a Band-Aid was needed to fix that political mess.

• 1989 ~ Lindsay Crosby, son of crooner Bing Crosby, died

• 2002 ~ Actor Brad Dexter, who rode with Yul Brynner as one of the “Magnificent Seven” and became a confidant of both Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra, died. He was 85. Burly and handsome, he was often cast as a tough guy in supporting roles, which included 1958’s “Run Silent, Run Deep,” starring Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable, and 1965’s “None but the Brave,” starring Sinatra. He made his film debut in the “The Asphalt Jungle” in 1950, but his most prominent role came in 1960’s “The Magnificent Seven,” in which he starred with Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn. Born Boris Milanovich in Goldfield, Nev., Dexter made guest appearances on the 1950s television shows “Zane Gray Theater,” “Death Valley Days” and “Wagon Train.” In January 1953, he married singer Peggy Lee, but they divorced eight months later. Soon after his divorce, Dexter befriended Monroe. In 1954, he tried unsuccessfully to persuade her to stay with her husband, Joe DiMaggio. His friendship with Sinatra took on legendary proportions during the filming of “None but the Brave” in 1964. On location in Hawaii, Sinatra nearly drowned and Dexter saved his life.

• 2002 ~ Marvin O. Herzog, who traveled the world with his for 58 years, died of pancreatic cancer. He was 70. Herzog was a polka celebrity who regularly booked 170 appearances a year. He and his band would travel more than 75,000 miles a year in a converted Greyhound bus. For years, Herzog was the star and co-sponsor of Frankenmuth’s Summer Music Fest, which drew about 25,000 visitors annually to the town known for its Bavarian events and shopping. Born in Frankenmuth, Herzog lived there his entire life. He quit his job at Star of the West Milling in 1973 to concentrate full-time on polka music. He played a Cordovox – a mix of organ and accordion. Herzog recorded 32 albums, including his Schnitzelbank and Octoberfest records in German as well as Polish, Italian and English polkas. He had a radio show and co-hosted a television show. Herzog was inducted into the International Polka Association Hall of Fame in 1979.

• 2020 ~ Charlie Pride died at the age of 86 of complications from COVID-19.  He was an American singer, musician, guitarist, business owner, and professional baseball player.

December 3 ~ On This Day in Music

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Christmas Countdown: Angels We Have Heard On High

• 1596 ~ Nicola Amati, Italian violin maker, teacher of Guarneri and Stradivari

• 1729 ~ Padre Antonio Francisco Javier Jose Soler, Spanish composer whose works span the late Baroque and early Classical music eras. He is best known for his keyboard sonatas, an important contribution to the harpsichord, fortepiano and organ repertoire.

• 1876 ~ Hermann Goetz died.  He was a German composer.

• 1883 ~ Anton Webern, Austrian composer and conductor
Read quotes by and about Webern
More information about Webern

• 1907 ~ Connie (Connee) Boswell, Singer Connie or Connee (a spelling she preferred later in life), who also played several musical instruments, arranged vocals for herself and her two sisters. Although she was stricken with polio and worked from her wheelchair, she never let this get in the way of being part of her jazz-singing trio. The Boswell Sisters’ talent was quickly recognized and by the time Connee was 24 years old, the sisters were doing vaudeville, radio, playing New York’s Paramount Theatre, recording with the Dorsey Brothers: You Oughta Be in Pictures; making films and appearing on the U.S.A.’s first public TV broadcast. One thing led to another and Connie went solo, entertaining World War II troops, making films, appearing on Broadway and recording with big names like Woody Herman’s; even a duet classic with Bing Crosby: Basin Street Blues. Her musical influence spanned many generations and music styles. If you’d have asked Ella Fitzgerald, she would have told you, “They just don’t make ’em like Connee Boswell anymore.”

• 1911 ~ Nino Rota, composer (Torquemada)

•  1923 ~ Maria Callas (Calogeropoulous), American soprano
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• 1925 ~ The first jazz concerto for piano and orchestra was presented at Carnegie Hall in NYC. Commissioned by Walter Damrosch, American composer George Gershwin presented Concerto In F, and was also the featured soloist playing a flugelhorn in a slow, bluesy style as one of his numbers.

• 1927 ~ Phyllis Curtin, Singer: soprano with the New York City OperaMetropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, La Scala, Teatro Colon; coordinator of Voice Dept and Opera at Yale School of Music, Dean Emerita of Boston Univ School for the Arts

• 1927 ~ Ferlin Husky (aka: Simon Crum, Terry Preston), Singer

• 1930 ~ Andy (Howard Andrew) Williams, American Emmy Award-winning entertainer, singer

• 1931 ~ Jaye P. (Mary Margaret) Morgan, Singer, performer

• 1941 ~ Johann Christian Sinding, Norwegian composer

• 1944 ~ Frank Sinatra was in the Columbia Records studio recording Old Man River.

• 1948 ~ Ozzy (John) Osbourne, Songwriter, singer

• 1949 ~ Mickey Thomas, Singer with Jefferson Starship

• 1953 ~ Kismet opened on Broadway in New York. The show ran for 583 performances.

• 1955 ~ Elvis Presley’s first release on RCA Victor Records was announced. No, it wasn’t Hound Dog or Heartbreak Hotel. The first two sides were actually purchased from Sam Phillips of Sun Records: Mystery Train and I Forgot to Remember to Forget. Elvis was described by his new record company as “The most talked about personality in recorded music in the last 10 years.”

• 1960 ~ Camelot opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. Richard Burton and Julie Andrews played the leading roles in the musical written by Lerner and Loewe. Robert Goulet got rave reviews for his songs, If Ever I Would Leave YouThen You May Take Me to the Fair and How to Handle a Woman, among others. Camelot had a run of 873 performances. Broadway went Hollywood in the 1967 film version of Camelot. Its run was not quite as successful.

 

. 1965 ~ The Beatles sixth studio album Rubber Soul was released. Often referred to as a folk rock album, Rubber Soul incorporates a mix of pop, soul and folk musical styles. The title derives from the colloquialism “plastic soul”, which referred to soul played by English musicians.

• 1968 ~ The O’Kaysions received a gold record for Girl Watcher. The song had a promotional reprise in the 1990s as a theme for Merv Griffin’s Wheel of Fortune, with the revamped lyrics, I’m a Wheel Watcher…

. 1969 ~ The Rolling Stones recorded ‘Brown Sugar’ at Muscle Shoals studios. The single went on to be a UK and US Number 1.

.1972 ~ The Temptations earn their final #1 hit with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”

• 1977 ~ After 29 weeks in the #1 position on the album charts (a record, literally…), Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac, was replaced at the top spot by the album Simple Dreams, sung by Linda Ronstadt.

• 1999 ~ Handel’s Messiah Gets Modern Makeover in Ireland

• 2000 ~ Kevin Mills, a member of the Christian rock groups Newsboys and White Heart, died after a motorcycle accident in Hollywood. He was 32. Mills, of Louisville, Ky., was a singer and bass player, his family said. He also was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and appeared on TV in “An Inconvenient Woman” in 1991. White Heart started in 1982. Newsboys, an Australian band now based near Nashville, was formed four years later. Newsboys have sold nearly 3 million records and earned three Grammy nominations on the religious rock circuit.

• 2000 ~ Washington Honored Eastwood, Baryshnikov, Others

• 2002 ~ Rich Dangel, credited with creating the opening guitar chords of garage band staple Louie Louie, died of an aneurysm at his home. He was 60. Dangel was a member of the seminal Northwest rock band the Wailers, who introduced the nation to the Northwest sound – raw, unpolished and catchy. He may be best known for coming up with the power chords that opened the Wailers’ 1961 regional hit, Louie, Louie, written by rhythm-and-blues singer Richard Berry and taken to the top of the national charts by another Northwest band, the Kingsmen from Portland, Ore. Dangel co-wrote his first chart hit, “Tall Cool One” with fellow Wailer John Greek when he was still in high school. The song resulted in the group’s first album, “The Fabulous Wailers,” a cross-country tour and a 1959 appearance on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.”

Free Local Holiday Concert

 

Come join us for a free concert of holiday music!

Usher in the holidays with the sounds of the Harp, Flute, Piano, Organ, Soprano vocalist, Handbells, Jazz duo and an Irish session!

The concert will conclude with everyone joining in singing some traditional carols.

A reception will follow.

At Pender UMC on route 50, heading east turn left at the light, just before Harris Teeter.

12401 Alder Woods Drive, Fairfax, VA US 22033

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Giving Thanks

 

 

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I’m thankful for my piano studio, my students, and my piano 🙂 During Covid, I was especially thankful for the Internet!

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 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 Aragonaise 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 during my sophomore year and I was devastated.  There was more about him in a post on January 26, 2022 here on 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 we under my piano as I slept.

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 accidently 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, recorders, a 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 and the new ones I have found…on the internet.

November 17 ~ On This Day in Music

today

• 1726 ~ The first performance of J. S. Bach‘s Sacred Cantata No. 55 Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht on the 22nd Sunday following Trinity. Was part of Bach’s third annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig 1725-27

• 1848 ~ Frederic Chopin played his final piano concert at a Polish benefit ball at Guildhall in London.

• 1850 ~ Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera Stifellio was first performed at the Teatro Grande in Trieste despite difficulties with the censors which resulted in cuts and changes.

• 1861 ~ First Performance of Johannes Brahms Piano Quintet No. 1 in g, Op. 25, at a rehearsal in Hamburg, with pianist Clara Schumann.

• 1862 ~ The work noted above received its official premiere with members of the Hellmesberger Quartet; Brahms at the piano, in Vienna.

• 1870 ~ Alfred Hill, Australian composer

• 1876~ The first performance of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s March Slav in Moscow.

• 1877 ~ The first production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera, The Sorcerer, was presented, in London.

• 1888~ The first production of Tchaikovsky‘s Fifth Symphony in St. Petersburg.

• 1891 ~ Poland’s premier and premier ivory tickler, Ignace Jan Paderewski, made his American debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In later years, Paderewski, who suffered from arthritis, settled in Paso Robles, CA. The hot mineral baths located there eased his pain. He played only Steinway grand pianos custom-built to his specifications. In fact, five were made just for his use.

• 1919 ~ Hershy Kay, composer/arranger (Olympic Hymn)

• 1925 ~ Sir Charles Mackerras, Australian conductor

• 1930 ~ David Amram, American composer and French-horn player

• 1938 ~ Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian folk singer, songwriter and guitarist

• 1938 ~ Orchestra leader Kay Kyser, speaking to an audience at the College of the City of New York (CCNY) told of the “inner workings and artistic features of swing music.” It marked the first of a series of lectures on swing music presented by Kyser, who went on to present The Kollege of Musical Knowledge on radio.

• 1941 ~ Gene Clark, Singer, guitar with The Byrds

• 1942 ~ Bob Gaudio, Singer with The Royal Teens; The Four Seasons

• 1946 ~ Martin Barre, Guitarist with Jethro Tull

• 1950 ~ Roberta Peters filled in for the lead in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She would become one of the Met’s most famous stars.

• 1959 ~ Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazilian composer/pianist/conductor, died at the age of 72

• 1962 ~ The 4 Seasons, with Frankie Valli as lead singer, began a five-week run at the top of the tunedex with Big Girls Don’t Cry.

• 1967 ~ Ronald DeVoe, Singer with New Edition

• 1970 ~ Elton John recorded an album live, on what was WABC-FM in New York City. It marked the first time that a concert was aired live and recorded for release as aired. The LP was titled, 11/17/70.

• 1981 ~ Bob Eberly died

• 2001 ~ Jerry Jerome, a tenor sax player who was a featured soloist with the bands of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, died of leukemia. He was 89. One of the big names in the Big Band era, Jerome was a featured soloist with the Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Red Norvo and Artie Shaw orchestras. He then became a successful musical director and conductor on radio and television. Jerome also established a music business, scoring and arranging commercial jingles. Three years ago, Arbors Records released Jerome’s “Something Old, Something New.” The sequel recording, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” will be released in December. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Jerome started playing the sax while in high school. He attended the University of Alabama and went on the medical school, playing gigs at jazz clubs to earn tuition money. He joined Goodman’s orchestra at the height of its popularity in 1938. When Goodman broke up his band in 1940, Jerome joined Shaw. While with Shaw, he appeared in the film “Second Chorus,” with Fred Astaire and Burgess Meredith.

• 2003 ~ Arthur Conley, a 1960s soul singer and protege of Otis Redding’s, died at his home in the town of Ruurlo, in the eastern Netherlands. He was 57. Conley was born in Atlanta and started his recording career in 1959 as leader of the group Arthur and the Corvets. He was best known for his 1967 hit, Sweet Soul Music, which he co-wrote with Redding based on a number by Sam Cooke. Conley had several minor hits in the following two years. He moved to Europe in the early 1970s after several tours of the continent, deciding that he was “fed up with the pressure” in the United States, said Giesen. In the Netherlands, Conley appeared on television and radio, and ran an independent record label. In the last five years he was an adviser to The Original Sixties R&B and Soul Show, which sought to reproduce the sound and look of the heyday of soul.

• 2018 ~ Cyril Pahinui, a nationally recognized Hawaiian guitarist and singer who preserved and extended the tradition of slack-key guitar, died at the age of 68