Piano Puzzlers!

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!

June 28 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1547 ~ Cristofano Malvezzi, Composer

• 1586 ~ Paul Siefert, Composer

• 1641 ~ King Henry VIII, English monarch and occasional composer

• 1734 ~ Jean-Jacques Beauvarget-Charpentier, Composer

• 1742 ~ Johann Joseph Ignaz Brentner, Composer, died at the age of 52

• 1788 ~ Johann Christoph Vogel, Composer, died at the age of 32

• 1798 ~ Pierre Dutillieu, Composer, died at the age of 44

• 1806 ~ Napoleon Coste, Composer

• 1815 ~ Robert Franz, Composer

• 1831 ~ Joseph Joachim, Hungarian violinist, composer and conductor
Read more about Joachim

• 1852 ~ Hans Huber, Composer

• 1853 ~ Edwin Arthur Jones, Composer

• 1855 ~ Giovanni Agostino Perotti, Composer, died at the age of 86

• 1857 ~ Joseph Fischhof, Composer, died at the age of 53

• 1872 ~ Ludwig Friedrich Hetsch, Composer, died at the age of 66

• 1874 ~ Oley Speaks, Composer

• 1876 ~ August W Ambros, Austria musicologist, died at the age of 59

• 1885 ~ Giuseppe Mule, Composer

• 1887 ~ Boleslav Vomacka, Composer

• 1890 ~ Edouard Gregoir, Composer, died at the age of 67

• 1891 ~ Jose Inzenga y Castellanos, Composer, died at the age of 63

• 1893 ~ Luciano Gallet, Composer

• 1893 ~ Nils Bjorkander, Composer

• 1895 ~ Kazimierz Sikorski, Composer

• 1902 ~ Richard Rogers, Academy Award-winning American composer for the musical theater
Read more about Rogers

• 1904 ~ Wlodzimierz Pozniak, Composer

• 1904 ~ Daniel Decatur Emmett passed away

• 1906 ~ Safford Cape, American/Belgian conductor, composer and music historian

• 1909 ~ Arnold Shaw, Composer

• 1910 ~ Gustave Leon Huberti, Composer, died at the age of 67

• 1912 ~ Audrey Langford, Singing teacher

• 1912 ~ Sergiu Celibidache, conductor

• 1913 ~ George Walter Selwyn Lloyd, English Composer

• 1914 ~ Lester Flatt, Country music entertainer, guitar with Flatt and Scruggs

• 1917 ~ Willem “Wim” Sonneveld, Dutch singer and actor in My Fair Lady

• 1923 ~ Pete (Walter) Candoli, Musician, trumpeter

• 1936 ~ Giselher W Kleber, German opera composer

• 1925 ~ George Morgan, Singer

• 1930 ~ Nikolay Nikolayevich Karetnikov, Composer

• 1933 ~ Gunnar Reynir Sveinsson, Composer

• 1936 ~ Cathy Carr, Singer

• 1940 ~ As a summer replacement for blind, piano virtuoso Alec Templeton, the Quiz Kids was first heard on radio. The show continued on NBC until 1953.

• 1945 ~ Dave Knights, Musician, bass player with Procol Harum

• 1946 ~ Robert Xavier Rodriguez, Composer

• 1950 ~ Henry Balfour Gardiner, Composer, died at the age of 72

• 1957 ~ Ede Poldini, Composer, died at the age of 88

• 1979 ~ Paul Dessau, German Composer and conducter, died at the age of 84

• 1980 ~ Joseé Iturbi, Spanish/American pianist, died at the age of 84

• 1980 ~ Yoshiro Irino, Composer, died at the age of 58

• 1981 ~ “Piaf” closed at Plymouth Theater New York City after 165 performances

• 1987 ~ “Dreamgirls” opened at Ambassador Theater New York City for 177 performances

• 1996 ~ Willard F. McMurry, Musician, died at the age of 89

• 1997 ~ “Master Class,” closed at Golden Theater New York City after 601 performances

• 1997 ~ “Steel Peer,” closed at Richard Rodgers Theater New York City after 76 performances

• 2001 ~ Rene Villanueva, a social activist who co-founded a pioneering Mexican folk music group, died at the age of 67. Villanueva was a co-founder of the group Los Folkloristas in 1966 and recorded more than 12 albums with the group, which helped spread and popularize the music of Mexico’s Indian and other traditional cultures. He left the group last year as his illness advanced, but he made a final recording last week with Indian musicians. Born in Oaxaca in 1933, Villanueva earned a degree in chemical engineering as well as studying painting and music. Once a member of the Mexican Communist Party, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas and performed in concerts to support the rebel movement.

• 2001 ~ Scott Merrill, a Broadway star who also played Macheath in the 1954 production of “The Threepenny Opera”, died at the age of 82. Merrill received positive reviews for his performance in “The Threepenny Opera” by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, and performed at the Theater de Lys in Greenwich Village. His role as Macheath was his first nondancing part in New York, where he also attracted notice in shows such as “Bloomer Girl,” “Paint Your Wagon” and a revival of “Pal Joey.” His first role in New York was in “Lady in the Dark,” with Danny Kaye, Gertrude Lawrence and Victure Mature. Merrill was born in Baltimore, Md.

• 2002 ~ Author William F. Dufty, who co-wrote Billie Holiday’s autobiography and became Gloria Swanson’s last husband, died from complications from cancer. He was 86. Dufty was a playwright, musician, ghostwriter of about 40 books, head speechwriter to Hubert Humphrey and reporter and editor at the New York Post. Dufty, who became good friends with jazz singer Holiday, helped write her autobiography “Lady Sings the Blues”. In 1975, he also wrote “Sugar Blues”, a popular nutrition book about the dangers of sugar in the diet. He became friends with Yoko Ono and former Beatle John Lennon after translating a Japanese book that launched the macrobiotic food revolution, Georges Ohsawa’s “You Are All Sanpaku”. Dufty married Swanson, a silent screen star, in 1976, and the marriage lasted until her death in 1983.

December 30, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

today

• 1756 ~ Pavel Vranicky, Moravian classical composer

• 1853 ~ Andre-Charles-Prosper Messager, French composer, organist, pianist, conductor and administrator.

• 1859 ~ Josef Bohuslav Foerster, Czech composer of classical music

• 1895 ~ Vincent Lopez, Bandleader, played at NYC’s Astor Hotel, some of the greats started with him: Artie Shaw, Buddy Morrow, Buddy Clark

OCMS 1904 ~ Dmitri Kabalevsky, Russian composer, pianist and conductor
More information about Kabalevsky

• 1910 ~ Paul Frederic Bowles, American composer and novelist

• 1914 ~ Bert Parks (Jacobson), Radio/TV host of Miss America Pageant, Break the Bank, Stop the Music

• 1919 ~ Sir David Willcocks, British organist, conductor and educator

• 1928 ~ Bo Diddley (Otha Ellas Bates McDaniel), Singer

• 1931 ~ Skeeter Davis (Mary Frances Penick), Singer

• 1936 ~ The famous feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen was ignited. After a 10- year-old performer finished a violin solo on The Fred Allen Show, Mr. Allen said, “A certain alleged violinist should hide his head in shame for his poor fiddle playing.” It didn’t take long for Mr. Benny to respond. The humorous feud lasted for years on both comedian’s radio shows.

• 1937 ~ John Hartford, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, banjo, fiddle, guitar on Glen Campbell’s Good Time Comedy Hour

• 1939 ~ Del Shannon (Charles Westover), Singer, songwriter, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

• 1942 ~ Michael Nesmith, Guitarist with The Monkees, formed The First National Band, movie producer of the first Grammy-winning video

• 1945 ~ Davy Jones (David Thomas Jones), Singer with The Monkees, actor

• 1947 ~ Jeff Lynne, Singer, guitar with The Electric Light Orchestra, songwriter

• 1948 ~ Alfred Drake and Patricia Morrison starred in Kiss Me Kate which opened at the New Century Theatre in New York City. Cole Porter composed the music for the classic play that was adapted from Shakespeare’s comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. The show ran for 1,077 performances on the Great White Way.

• 1942 ~ Frank Sinatra opened at New York’s Paramount Theatre for what was scheduled to be a 4-week engagement (his shows turned out to be so popular that he was booked for an additional 4 weeks). An estimated 400 policemen were called out to help curb the excitement. It is said that some of the teenage girls were hired to scream, but many more screamed for free. Sinatra was dubbed ‘The Sultan of Swoon’, ‘The Voice that Thrills Millions’, and just ‘The Voice’. Whatever he was, it was at this Paramount Theatre engagement that modern pop hysteria was born.

• 1954 ~ Pearl Bailey opened on Broadway in the play, House of Flowers, about two madams with rival bordellos. Diahann Carroll was also cast in the play, written by Truman Capote. Harold Arlen provided the musical score.

• 1969 ~ Peter, Paul and Mary received a gold record for the single, Leaving On a Jet Plane. The song had hit #1 on December 20.

• 1970 ~ Paul McCartney sued the other three Beatles to dissolve the partnership and gain control of his interest. The suit touched off a bitter feud between McCartney and the others, especially his cowriter on many of the Beatles compositions, John Lennon. The partnership officially came to end in 1974.

• 1976 ~ The Smothers Brothers, Tom and Dick, played their last show at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas and retired as a team from show business. Each continued as a solo artist. They reunited years later for another stab at TV (on NBC) plus concert appearances that proved very successful.

• 1979 ~ Richard Rodgers passed away
More about Richard Rodgers

• 2000 ~ Bohdan Warchal, a violinist and conductor who was one of Slovakia’s most popular musicians, of an unspecified illness at the age of 70. A violinist in the Slovak Philharmonic, Warchal, who died on Saturday, won acclaim as the founder and conductor of the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, which has given concerts all over the world ever since it was established in 1960. Warchal was awarded a medal by President Rudolf Schuster for his life-time work last year.

• 2003 ~ Hong Kong’s Canto-pop diva and actress Anita Mui died. She was 40 years old. Mui began her career after winning a singing contest in Hong Kong in 1982. She rose to stardom with her song Homecoming in 1984. Canto-pop refers to hits sung in Cantonese, the dialect of Chinese that is widely spoken in Hong Kong and in many overseas Chinese communities. Mui also turned to acting and won Taiwan’s Golden Horse film award for best actress in 1987 for her role as a tormented ghost in the movie “Rouge.”

2004 ~ Artie Shaw (Arthur Arschawsky), American jazz clarinetist, bandleader, composer and arranger died
More information about Shaw

November 16, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

today

• 1569 ~ Birth of German organist and composer Paul Sartorius in Nuremberg. d-28 February 1609, Innsbruck.

• 1615 ~ Birth of French violinist and composer Guillaume Dumanoir, II. He composed dance music enjoyed by Louis XIV

• 1667 ~ Death of composer Nathaniel Schnittelbach, at 34. b-1633.

• 1715 ~ Birth of composer Girolamo Abos on the island of Malta. Italian opera and church music.

• 1720 ~ Birth of Italian composer Carlo Antonio Campioni.

• 1757 ~ Birth of American composer Daniel Read, of the First New England School, and one of the primary figures in early American classical music. d-4 DEC 1836.

• 1775 ~ Death of German composer Karl Marian Paradeiser, at 28.

• 1780 ~ Birth of English composer Robert Archibald Smith.

• 1840 ~ Birth of composer Frederick Scotson Clark.

• 1848 ~ Frédéric 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.

• 1852 ~ Birth of American soprano Minnie Hauk in NYC. d-near Lucerne, 6 FEB 1929.

• 1854 ~ First Performance of Anton Rubinstein‘s Ocean Symphony in Leipzig.

• 1860 ~ Birth of Viennese harpist Edmund Scheucker.

• 1861 ~ Birth of composer Vaclav Suk.

• 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 ~ Birth of Australian composer Alfred Hill in Melbourne. d-Sydney, 30 OCT 1960.

• 1873 Birth of Swedish tenor David Karl Björling, in Harmånger parish of northern Sweden’s Hälsingland province. d. Aug. 16, 1926.

• 1873 ~ W.C. Handy, American blues composer and bandleader
More information about Handy

• 1889 ~ George S. (Simon) Kaufman, Playwright: The Cocoanuts, A Night at the Opera, with Moss Hart, The Man Who Came to Dinner, You Can’t Take It with You

• 1894 ~ Debut of opera star Enrico Caruso in Mario Morelli’s L’Amico Francesco at Naples Teatro Nuovo.

1895 ~ Paul Hindemith, German-born American composer and conductor
Read quotes by and about Hindemith
More information about Hindemith

• 1896 ~ Lawrence Mervil Tibbett, American baritone

• 1905 ~ Eddie (Albert) Condon, Guitarist, bandleader, promoter of Dixieland Jazz

• 1908 ~ Conductor Arturo Toscanini made his debut in the United States this day. He appeared at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, conducting Aida.

• 1931 ~ Bob Gibson, Singer, songwriter, leader of folk music movement in late ’50s, duo of Gibson and (Bob) Camp

• 1932 ~ The Palace in New York City closed its doors. It was the most famous vaudeville theater in America. Later, it became a movie house with live performances preceding the flicks; most notably: the team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in their heyday.

• 1935 ~ The Rodgers and Hart musical, Jumbo, opened in New York City for a run of 233 performances.

• 1937 ~ Bob Crosby and his orchestra recorded South Rampart Street Parade on Decca Records.

• 1945 ~ Martine Van Hammel, Ballet, American Ballet Theatre

• 1955 ~ ‘Tennessee’ Ernie Ford drove to the top spot on the record charts on this day. Sixteen Tons, where he owed his “soul to the company store…”, became the fastest-selling record in history, jumping to #1 in just 3 weeks. The tune, on Capitol Records, stayed at #1 for eight weeks.

• 1970 ~ Anne Murray received a gold record for Snowbird. She was the first Canadian recording artist to receive a gold record.

• 2000 ~ Russ Conway, a British pianist known as the “Prince Charming of Pop” who sold
More than 30 million records in the 1950s and ’60s, died at age 75. He had 17 consecutive hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and won a silver disc when his record Roulette topped 250,000 sales – a total rapidly equaled by three other hits, Sidesaddle, China Tea and Snow Coach. Conway’s formal piano education consisted of one lesson at age 4. He left school at 14 and got work in a lawyer’s office. But he was sent to juvenile detention for three years for taking money he found in a package. In a detention center, he found a piano to play. While doing a stint as a pianist in a club, he was discovered by choreographer Irving Davies. He went on to provide piano accompaniment to a string of singers. Soon he was composing the songs that made him famous and won him the nicknames “Prince Charming of Pop” and the “Sheik of the Keyboard.”

• 2001 ~ Blue guitarist and singer Isaac Scott, a major figure in the city’s music scene for more than a quarter century, died of complications from diabetes. He was 56. A stream of musicians paid their respects to Scott, said his ex-wife, Eloise DePoe. He was found in his apartment Nov. 4 and never regained consciousness. Scott recorded several albums, including “The Isaac Scott Band,” “Big Time Blues Man” and “High Class Woman.” He also appeared on the compilation albums “Live at the San Francisco Jazz Festival” and “Live at the Roadhouse.” Primarily a “cover artist,” Scott did not write his own songs, which hindered national recognition. But he received several local honors, including the Washington Blues Society’s Hall of Fame (1991) and lifetime-achievement (2000) awards. He also performed at last year’s opening of the Experience Music Project. Scott taught himself piano and guitar, and started out playing gospel music, once touring the West Coast with the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. In 1974, he turned his attention to blues, with a sound flavored by his love of Seattle-born guitar legend Jimi Hendrix. Like Albert Collins, an early influence, Scott played electric guitar with his thumb instead of a pick, which contributed to his distinctive sound. He also was known for his stamina, often playing two- and three-hour sets.

• 2001 ~ Tommy Flanagan, a jazz pianist who worked with such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, died of an arterial aneurysm. He was 71. Flanagan, part of his own classic jazz trio, accompanied Fitzgerald for 20 years, also acting as her musical director. He also worked for Tony Bennett. He became a celebrated figure in jazz with such trio albums as “Jazz Poet” (1989) and “Let’s” (1993). Flanagan’s trio included bassists George Mraz and Peter Washington, and drummers Kenny Washington, Lewis Nash and Albert Heath. Flanagan won the distinguished Danish Jazzpar Prize in 1993. Born in Detroit, Flanagan was the youngest of six children. He recorded “Sunset and the Mockingbird: The Birthday Concert,” live at the Vanguard in 1998. He was to appear at Iridium this holiday season.

Have You Heard the Piano Puzzlers?

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!

June 28, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

today

• 1547 ~ Cristofano Malvezzi, Composer

• 1586 ~ Paul Siefert, Composer

• 1641 ~ King Henry VIII, English monarch and occasional composer

• 1734 ~ Jean-Jacques Beauvarget-Charpentier, Composer

• 1742 ~ Johann Joseph Ignaz Brentner, Composer, died at the age of 52

• 1788 ~ Johann Christoph Vogel, Composer, died at the age of 32

• 1798 ~ Pierre Dutillieu, Composer, died at the age of 44

• 1806 ~ Napoleon Coste, Composer

• 1815 ~ Robert Franz, Composer

• 1831 ~ Joseph Joachim, Hungarian violinist, composer and conductor
Read more about Joachim

• 1852 ~ Hans Huber, Composer

• 1853 ~ Edwin Arthur Jones, Composer

• 1855 ~ Giovanni Agostino Perotti, Composer, died at the age of 86

• 1857 ~ Joseph Fischhof, Composer, died at the age of 53

• 1872 ~ Ludwig Friedrich Hetsch, Composer, died at the age of 66

• 1874 ~ Oley Speaks, Composer

• 1876 ~ August W Ambros, Austria musicologist, died at the age of 59

• 1885 ~ Giuseppe Mule, Composer

• 1887 ~ Boleslav Vomacka, Composer

• 1890 ~ Edouard Gregoir, Composer, died at the age of 67

• 1891 ~ Jose Inzenga y Castellanos, Composer, died at the age of 63

• 1893 ~ Luciano Gallet, Composer

• 1893 ~ Nils Bjorkander, Composer

• 1895 ~ Kazimierz Sikorski, Composer

• 1902 ~ Richard Rogers, Academy Award-winning American composer for the musical theater
Read more about Rogers

• 1904 ~ Wlodzimierz Pozniak, Composer

• 1904 ~ Daniel Decatur Emmett passed away

• 1906 ~ Safford Cape, American/Belgian conductor, composer and music historian

• 1909 ~ Arnold Shaw, Composer

• 1910 ~ Gustave Leon Huberti, Composer, died at the age of 67

• 1912 ~ Audrey Langford, Singing teacher

• 1912 ~ Sergiu Celibidache, conductor

• 1913 ~ George Walter Selwyn Lloyd, English Composer

• 1914 ~ Lester Flatt, Country music entertainer, guitar with Flatt and Scruggs

• 1917 ~ Willem “Wim” Sonneveld, Dutch singer and actor in My Fair Lady

• 1923 ~ Pete (Walter) Candoli, Musician, trumpeter

• 1936 ~ Giselher W Kleber, German opera composer

• 1925 ~ George Morgan, Singer

• 1930 ~ Nikolay Nikolayevich Karetnikov, Composer

• 1933 ~ Gunnar Reynir Sveinsson, Composer

• 1936 ~ Cathy Carr, Singer

• 1940 ~ As a summer replacement for blind, piano virtuoso Alec Templeton, the Quiz Kids was first heard on radio. The show continued on NBC until 1953.

• 1945 ~ Dave Knights, Musician, bass player with Procol Harum

• 1946 ~ Robert Xavier Rodriguez, Composer

• 1950 ~ Henry Balfour Gardiner, Composer, died at the age of 72

• 1957 ~ Ede Poldini, Composer, died at the age of 88

• 1979 ~ Paul Dessau, German Composer and conducter, died at the age of 84

• 1980 ~ Joseé Iturbi, Spanish/American pianist, died at the age of 84

• 1980 ~ Yoshiro Irino, Composer, died at the age of 58

• 1981 ~ “Piaf” closed at Plymouth Theater New York City after 165 performances

• 1987 ~ “Dreamgirls” opened at Ambassador Theater New York City for 177 performances

• 1996 ~ Willard F. McMurry, Musician, died at the age of 89

• 1997 ~ “Master Class,” closed at Golden Theater New York City after 601 performances

• 1997 ~ “Steel Peer,” closed at Richard Rodgers Theater New York City after 76 performances

• 2001 ~ Rene Villanueva, a social activist who co-founded a pioneering Mexican folk music group, died at the age of 67. Villanueva was a co-founder of the group Los Folkloristas in 1966 and recorded more than 12 albums with the group, which helped spread and popularize the music of Mexico’s Indian and other traditional cultures. He left the group last year as his illness advanced, but he made a final recording last week with Indian musicians. Born in Oaxaca in 1933, Villanueva earned a degree in chemical engineering as well as studying painting and music. Once a member of the Mexican Communist Party, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas and performed in concerts to support the rebel movement.

• 2001 ~ Scott Merrill, a Broadway star who also played Macheath in the 1954 production of “The Threepenny Opera”, died at the age of 82. Merrill received positive reviews for his performance in “The Threepenny Opera” by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, and performed at the Theater de Lys in Greenwich Village. His role as Macheath was his first nondancing part in New York, where he also attracted notice in shows such as “Bloomer Girl,” “Paint Your Wagon” and a revival of “Pal Joey.” His first role in New York was in “Lady in the Dark,” with Danny Kaye, Gertrude Lawrence and Victure Mature. Merrill was born in Baltimore, Md.

• 2002 ~ Author William F. Dufty, who co-wrote Billie Holiday’s autobiography and became Gloria Swanson’s last husband, died from complications from cancer. He was 86. Dufty was a playwright, musician, ghostwriter of about 40 books, head speechwriter to Hubert Humphrey and reporter and editor at the New York Post. Dufty, who became good friends with jazz singer Holiday, helped write her autobiography “Lady Sings the Blues”. In 1975, he also wrote “Sugar Blues”, a popular nutrition book about the dangers of sugar in the diet. He became friends with Yoko Ono and former Beatle John Lennon after translating a Japanese book that launched the macrobiotic food revolution, Georges Ohsawa’s “You Are All Sanpaku”. Dufty married Swanson, a silent screen star, in 1976, and the marriage lasted until her death in 1983.

December 30 ~ Today in Music History

today

 

• 1756 ~ Pavel Vranicky, Moravian classical composer

• 1853 ~ Andre-Charles-Prosper Messager, French composer, organist, pianist, conductor and administrator.

• 1859 ~ Josef Bohuslav Foerster, Czech composer of classical music

• 1895 ~ Vincent Lopez, Bandleader, played at NYC’s Astor Hotel, some of the greats started with him: Artie Shaw, Buddy Morrow, Buddy Clark

OCMS 1904 ~ Dmitri Kabalevsky, Russian composer, pianist and conductor
More information about Kabalevsky

• 1910 ~ Paul Frederic Bowles, American composer and novelist

• 1914 ~ Bert Parks (Jacobson), Radio/TV host of Miss America Pageant, Break the Bank, Stop the Music

• 1919 ~ Sir David Willcocks, British organist, conductor and educator

• 1928 ~ Bo Diddley (Otha Ellas Bates McDaniel), Singer

• 1931 ~ Skeeter Davis (Mary Frances Penick), Singer

• 1936 ~ The famous feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen was ignited. After a 10- year-old performer finished a violin solo on The Fred Allen Show, Mr. Allen said, “A certain alleged violinist should hide his head in shame for his poor fiddle playing.” It didn’t take long for Mr. Benny to respond. The humorous feud lasted for years on both comedian’s radio shows.

• 1937 ~ John Hartford, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, banjo, fiddle, guitar on Glen Campbell’s Good Time Comedy Hour

• 1939 ~ Del Shannon (Charles Westover), Singer, songwriter, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

• 1942 ~ Michael Nesmith, Guitarist with The Monkees, formed The First National Band, movie producer of the first Grammy-winning video

• 1945 ~ Davy Jones (David Thomas Jones), Singer with The Monkees, actor

• 1947 ~ Jeff Lynne, Singer, guitar with The Electric Light Orchestra, songwriter

• 1948 ~ Alfred Drake and Patricia Morrison starred in Kiss Me Kate which opened at the New Century Theatre in New York City. Cole Porter composed the music for the classic play that was adapted from Shakespeare’s comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. The show ran for 1,077 performances on the Great White Way.

• 1942 ~ Frank Sinatra opened at New York’s Paramount Theatre for what was scheduled to be a 4-week engagement (his shows turned out to be so popular that he was booked for an additional 4 weeks). An estimated 400 policemen were called out to help curb the excitement. It is said that some of the teenage girls were hired to scream, but many more screamed for free. Sinatra was dubbed ‘The Sultan of Swoon’, ‘The Voice that Thrills Millions’, and just ‘The Voice’. Whatever he was, it was at this Paramount Theatre engagement that modern pop hysteria was born.

• 1954 ~ Pearl Bailey opened on Broadway in the play, House of Flowers, about two madams with rival bordellos. Diahann Carroll was also cast in the play, written by Truman Capote. Harold Arlen provided the musical score.

• 1969 ~ Peter, Paul and Mary received a gold record for the single, Leaving On a Jet Plane. The song had hit #1 on December 20.

• 1970 ~ Paul McCartney sued the other three Beatles to dissolve the partnership and gain control of his interest. The suit touched off a bitter feud between McCartney and the others, especially his cowriter on many of the Beatles compositions, John Lennon. The partnership officially came to end in 1974.

• 1976 ~ The Smothers Brothers, Tom and Dick, played their last show at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas and retired as a team from show business. Each continued as a solo artist. They reunited years later for another stab at TV (on NBC) plus concert appearances that proved very successful.

• 1979 ~ Richard Rodgers passed away
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• 2000 ~ Bohdan Warchal, a violinist and conductor who was one of Slovakia’s most popular musicians, of an unspecified illness at the age of 70. A violinist in the Slovak Philharmonic, Warchal, who died on Saturday, won acclaim as the founder and conductor of the Slovak Chamber Orchestra, which has given concerts all over the world ever since it was established in 1960. Warchal was awarded a medal by President Rudolf Schuster for his life-time work last year.

• 2003 ~ Hong Kong’s Canto-pop diva and actress Anita Mui died. She was 40 years old. Mui began her career after winning a singing contest in Hong Kong in 1982. She rose to stardom with her song Homecoming in 1984. Canto-pop refers to hits sung in Cantonese, the dialect of Chinese that is widely spoken in Hong Kong and in many overseas Chinese communities. Mui also turned to acting and won Taiwan’s Golden Horse film award for best actress in 1987 for her role as a tormented ghost in the movie “Rouge.”

2004 ~ Artie Shaw (Arthur Arschawsky), American jazz clarinetist, bandleader, composer and arranger died
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