September 8 ~ This Day in Music History

today

OCMS 1841 ~ Antonin Dvorák, Czech composer
More information about Dvorák

• 1849 ~ Richard Strauss, German composer and conductor, died. Strauss wrote in nearly every genre, but is best known for his tone poems and operas.
More information about Strauss

• 1897 ~ Jimmie (James Charles) Rodgers,‘The Blue Yodeler’, Country Music Hall of Famer, First country singer to be in a film

• 1932 ~ Patsy Cline (Virginia Petterson Hensley), Country Music Hall of Famer, American country-music singer

• 1934 ~ Peter Maxwell Davies, British composer

• 1935 ~ The Hoboken Four, featuring Frank Sinatra as lead singer, appeared on Major Bowes Amateur Hour on WOR radio. The group won the competition held at the Capitol Theatre in New York City.

• 1941 ~ Dante Drowty, Singer with Dante and The Evergreens

• 1941 ~ Harry James and his orchestra recorded Misirlou for Columbia Records.

• 1942 ~ Brian Cole, Bass, singer with The Association

July 31 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1828 ~ François Auguste Gevaert, Belgian composer, musicologist, conductor and organist

• 1845 ~ The French Army introduced the saxophone to its military band. The musical instrument was the invention of Adolphe Sax of Belgium.

• 1847 ~ Ignacio Cervantes, Pianist

• 1886 ~ Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer and pianist died. Originator of the symphonic poem, he was a prolific teacher and a huge influence on Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
More information about Liszt

• 1911 ~ George Liberace, Violinist, conductor; administrator of Liberace Museum; brother of pianist/entertainer Liberace

• 1918 ~ Jan La Rue, American musicologist

• 1918 ~ Hank Jones, Pianist. He accompanied Billy Eckstine and Ella Fitzgerald. He led the Hank Jones Trio

• 1919 ~ Mornam Del Mar, British conductor

• 1923 ~ Ahmet Ertegun, Recording Executive

• 1939 ~ John West, Musician, guitarist with Gary Lewis and the Playboys

• 1942 ~ Harry James and his band recorded the classic I’ve Heard that Song Before, for Columbia Records. Helen Forrest sang on the million-seller.

• 1943 ~ Lobo, Singer

• 1946 ~ Gary Lewis (Levitch), Singer with Gary Lewis and the Playboys, entertainer Jerry Lewis’ son

• 1946 ~ Bob Welch, Guitarist and singer with Fleetwood Mac

• 1947 ~ Karl Green, Musician, guitar and harmonica with Herman’s Hermits

• 1964 ~ Jim Reeves, popular U.S. country music singer, died in an air crash near Nashville.

• 1985 ~ Prince was big at the box office with the autobiographical story of the Minneapolis rock star, Purple Rain. The flick grossed $7.7 million in its first three days of release on 917 movie screens. The album of the same name was the top LP in the U.S., as well.

• 2016 ~Gloria DeHaven, a singer and actress known for starring in several MGM musicals, died at the age of 91.

July 1 ~ This Day in Music History

• 1586 ~ Claudio Saracini, Composer

• 1592 ~ Marc A Ingegneri, Italian violinist and composer, died

• 1662 ~ Simon Ives, Composer, died at the age of 61

• 1663 ~ Franz Xaver Murschhauser, Composer

• 1688 ~ Johann Ludwig Steiner, Composer

• 1691 ~ Marc’Antonio Pasqualini, Composer, died at the age of 77

• 1735 ~ James Lyon, Composer

• 1742 ~ Bohuslav Matej Czernohorsky, Czech monk and composer, died at the age of 58

• 1764 ~ Georg Christoph Grosheim, Composer

• 1784 ~ Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, composer, son of J.S. Bach, died
More information about Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

• 1805 ~ Georg Ritschel, Composer, died at the age of 60

• 1883 ~ Manuel Gregorio Tavarez, Composer, died at the age of 39

• 1899 ~ Cavan O’Connor, Singer

• 1908 ~ Peter Anders, German opera singer

• 1910 ~ Marius Petipa, French ballet dancer and choreographer, died

• 1914 ~ Earle Warren, Alto sax player

• 1915 ~ Willie Dixon, Blues Musician

• 1917 ~ William Gillock, Educational Music Composer

• 1925 ~ Erik Alfred Leslie Satie, French composer, died at the age of 59
More information about Satie

• 1926 ~ Hans Werner Henze, German composer

• 1927 ~ Hans Eklund, Composer

• 1928 ~ Volker Wangenheim, Composer

• 1930 ~ Leslie Caron, Dancer

• 1933 ~ Strauss and von Hofmannsthal’s opera “Arabella,” premiered in Dresden
More information about Strauss

• 1935 ~ James Cotton, blues vocalist

• 1939 ~ Louis Davids (Simon David), Cabaret performer/chorus performer, died

• 1941 ~ Twila Tharp, Choreographer

• 1941 ~ John Gould, British composer and musical comic

• 1942 ~ Andrae Crouch, Gospel Singer

• 1945 ~ Debbie Harry, American singer

• 1946 ~ June Montiero, American vocalist

• 1947 ~ Clarence Lucas, Composer, died at the age of 80

• 1950 ~ Edward Faber Schneider, Composer, died at the age of 77

• 1954 ~ Fred Schneider, Singer for pop-punk band the B-52s

• 1956 ~ Elvis Presley appeared wearing a tuxedo on the Steve Allen Show

• 1960 ~ Benjamin Britten’s cantata “Carmen Baseliense,” premiered in Basel
More information about Britten

• 1963 ~ The Beatles recorded She Loves You & I’ll Get You

• 1964 ~ Pierre Monteux, French/American conductor, died at the age of 89

• 1965 ~ Claude Thornhill, Composer, died at the age of 55

• 1967 ~ “Funny Girl”, the story of Fanny Brice, closed at Winter Garden Theater New York City after 1348 performances
More information about Fanny Brice

• 1967 ~ The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, went #1 for 15 weeks

• 1968 ~ John Lennon’s first full art exhibition (You are Here)

• 1969 ~ John & Yoko were hospitalized after a car crash

• 1969 ~ Shelby Singleton bought Sun Records from Sam Phillips

• 1970 ~ Jimi Hendrix first recording session (New York City)

• 1972 ~ “Follies” closed at Winter Garden Theater New York City after 524 performances

• 1972 ~ “Hair” closesd at Biltmore Theater New York City after 1750 performances

• 1973 ~ Mario La Broca, Composer, died at the age of 76

• 1973 ~ “Jesus Christ Superstar”, by Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice, closed at Mark Hellinger New York City after 711 performances

• 1978 ~ “Act” closed at Majestic Theater New York City after 233 performances

• 1982 ~ John Everett Watts, Composer, died at the age of 51

• 1982 ~ Shon Coco Palm, (Jacobo JM Palm), Curaçan Composer, died

• 1982 ~ ABC national music radio network scheduled premiere, but it never happened

• 1988 ~ Hellmuth Christian Wolff, Composer, died at the age of 82

• 1988 ~ Lex van Delden, Dutch Composer and writer, died at the age of 68

• 1995 ~ “Kiss of the Spider Woman” closed at Broadhurst New York City after 906 performances

• 1996 ~ Placido Domingo became art director of Washington Opera

• 2015 ~ Val Doonican, Irish singer and entertainer, died at the age of 88

June 11 ~ This Day in Music History

today

 

Be sure your student reads and listens to Today’s Daily Listening Assignment

 

 

• 1672 ~ Francesco Antonio Bonporti, Composer

• 1678 ~ Antonio Vivaldi, Italian composer
More information about Vivaldi

• 1697 ~ Francesco A Vallotti, Italian organist, composer and theorist

• 1704 ~ Jose Antonio Carlos de Seixas, Composer

• 1740 ~ Luigi Gatti, Composer

• 1764 ~ Christoph Stoltzenberg, Composer, died at the age of 74

• 1775 ~ Egidio Romoaldo Duni, Italian Composer, died at the age of 67

• 1808 ~ Giovanni Battista Cirri, Composer, died at the age of 83

• 1861 ~ Sigismund Vladislavovich Zaremba, Composer

• 1864 ~ Richard Strauss, German composer and conductor.  Strauss wrote in nearly every genre, but is best known for his tone poems and operas.
Read quotes by and about Strauss
More information about Richard Strauss

• 1874 ~ Richard Stohr, Composer

• 1896 ~ Friedrich Gottlieb Schwencke, Composer, died at the age of 72

• 1899 ~ George Frederick McKay, Composer

• 1900 ~ Charles Swinnerton Heap, Composer, died at the age of 53

• 1904 ~ Emil Frantisek Burian, Composer

• 1904 ~ Clarence “Pinetop” Smith, Jazz pianist and singer of Boogie Woogie Piano

• 1910 ~ Carmine Coppola, Composer and conductor

• 1912 ~ Mukhtar Ashrafi, Composer

• 1913 ~ Risë Stevens (Steenberg), American mezzo-soprano at the New York Metropolitan Opera

• 1920 ~ Shelly Manne, Composer, musician, drummer

• 1920 ~ Hazel Scott, Trinidad singer and pianist

• 1924 ~ Théodore Dubois, French organist and composer, died at the age of 86

• 1926 ~ Carlisle Floyd, American opera composer

• 1927 ~ Josef Anton Reidl, Composer

• 1928 ~ King Oliver and his band recorded Tin Roof Blues for Vocalion Records.

• 1939 ~ Wilma Burgess, Country singer

• 1940 ~ Joey Dee (Joseph DiNicola), Singer with Joey Dee and The Starliters

• 1940 ~ The Ink Spots recorded Maybe on Decca Records. By September, 1940, the song had climbed to the number two position on the nation’s pop music charts.

• 1946 ~ John Lawton, Singer

• 1949 ~ Hank Williams sang a show-stopper on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. He sang the classic Lovesick Blues, one of his most beloved songs.

• 1951 ~ Bonnie Pointer, Grammy Award-winning singer (with sister Anita) in the Pointer Sisters

• 1955 ~ Marcel Louis Auguste Samuel-Rousseau, Composer, died at the age of 72

• 1961 ~ Roy Orbison was wrapping up a week at number one on the Billboard record chart with Running Scared, his first number one hit. Orbison recorded 23 hits for the pop charts, but only one other song made it to number one: Oh Pretty Woman in  1964. He came close with a number two effort, Crying, number four with Dream Baby and number five with Mean Woman Blues. Orbison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, but suffered a fatal heart attack just one year later.

• 1964 ~ The group, Manfred Mann, recorded Do Wah Diddy Diddy

• 1966 ~ Janis Joplin made her first onstage appearance — at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. She began her professional career at the age of 23 with Big Brother and The Holding Company. The group was a sensation at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Piece of My Heart was the only hit to chart for the group in 1968. Big Brother and The Holding Company disbanded in 1972, though Joplin continued in a solo career with hits such as Down on Me and Me and Bobby McGee. Janis ‘Pearl’ Joplin died of a heroin overdose in Hollywood in October, 1970. The movie The Rose, starring Bette Midler, was inspired by the life of the rock star.

• 1966 ~ (I’m A) Road Runner by Jr Walker & The All-Stars peaked at #20

• 1966 ~ I Am A Rock by Simon and Garfunkel peaks at #3

• 1966 ~ “On A Clear Day You…” closed at Mark Hellinger NYC after 280 performances

• 1966 ~ Paint It, Black by The Rolling Stones peaked at #1

• 1966 ~ “Skyscraper” closed at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 248 performances

• 1966 ~ Sloop John B by The Beach Boys hit #1 in the United Kingdom

• 1969 ~ “The Ballad Of John & Yoko” by The Beatles hit #1 in the United Kingdom

• 1969 ~ David Bowie released Space Oddity

• 1975 ~ Floro Manuel Ugarte, Composer, died at the age of 90

• 1976 ~ Australian band AC/DC began their first headline tour of Britain

• 1976 ~ The Beatles “Rock & Roll Music” LP was released in America

• 1977 ~ Dance & Shake Your Tambourine by Universal Robot Band peaked at #93

• 1977 ~ I Need A Man by Grace Jones peaked at #83

• 1977 ~ I’m Your Boogie Man by KC & Sunshine Band peaked at #1

• 1977 ~ Lonely Boy by Andrew Gold peaked at #7

• 1977 ~ The Pretender by Jackson Browne peaked at #58

• 1990 ~ Clyde McCoy, Jazz trumpeter, died at the age of 86

• 1995 ~ Lovelace Watkins, Singer, died at the age of 58

• 2001 ~ Amalia Mendoza, one of Mexico’s most famous singers of mariachi and ranchera music, died at the age of 78. She was famous for songs such as Echame a mi la Culpa (Put the Blame on Me) and Amarga Navidad (Bitter Christmas). Born in the Michoacan town of San Juan Huetamo in 1923, she was part of a family of noted musicians. Ranchera music is a kind of Mexican country music that overlaps with Mariachi music.

• 2001 ~ Ponn Yinn, a flutist of traditional Cambodian music and dance who survived the Khmer Rouge purge and helped preserve his country’s culture, died of a stroke at the age of 82. Yinn was working under Prince Norodom Sihanouk, then Gen. Lon Nol, for the Classical Symphony of the Army for the Royal Ballet, when the Khmer Rouge overthrew Cambodia’s government in 1975. Khmer Rouge forces found Yinn during their campaign to uncover and eliminate Cambodia’s intellectuals and artists. He begged for his life and claimed to be a steel worker who enjoyed playing the flute. He was allowed to live, but was forced to play a makeshift flute nightly into loudspeakers to drown out the screams of people being slaughtered in fields nearby. In 1979, Yinn crossed through minefields and escaped to Thailand. In a border refugee camp, Yinn headed the Khmer Classical Dance Troupe. At a time when Cambodian culture was believed to have been almost eradicated – a result of the Khmer Rouge’s genocide of 1 million to 2 million people, the troupe was discovered by Western visitors. Yinn settled in Long Beach in 1984, where he taught music for more than 20 years and continued to perform.

• 2015 ~ Ornette Coleman died.  He was an American jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter and composer. He was one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s.

May 28 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1608 ~ Claudio Monteverdi’s “Arianna,” premiered Mantua

• 1650 ~ Gilles Hayne, Composer, died at the age of 59

• 1765 ~ Jean Baptiste Cartier, Composer

• 1777 ~ Joseph-Henri-Ignace Mees, Composer

• 1778 ~ Friedrich Westenholz, Composer

• 1780 ~ Joseph Frohlich, Composer

• 1787 ~ (Johann Georg) Leopold Mozart, Austrian Composer, Wolfgang’s father, died at the age of 67, in Salzburg.

• 1791 ~ Joseph Schmitt, Composer, died at the age of 57

• 1798 ~ Josef Dessauer, Composer

• 1805 ~ (Ridolfo) Luigi Boccherini, Italian composer and cellist, died at the age of 62

• 1830 ~ Karoly Filtsch, Composer

• 1833 ~ Johann Christian Friedrich Haeffner, Composer, died at the age of 74

• 1836 ~ Anton Reicha, Composer, died at the age of 66

• 1838 ~ Thomas Busby, Composer, died

• 1841 ~ Giovanni Sgambati, Composer

• 1844 ~ Leon Felix August Joseph Vasseur, Composer

• 1883 ~ George Dyson, Composer

• 1883 ~ August Freyer, Composer, died at the age of 79

• 1883 ~ Luigi Perrachio, Composer

• 1889 ~ Jose Padilla, Composer

• 1890 ~ Viktor Ernst Nessler, Composer, died at the age of 49

• 1892 ~ Comedienne Marie Dressler made her New York City singing debut in the comic opera, “The Robber of the Rhine”.

• 1896 ~ Marius Monnikendam, Dutch choir composer

• 1898 ~ Andy Kirk, Jazz musician

• 1906 ~ Phil Regan, Singer, My Wild Irish Rose

• 1906 ~ Shields/Cobbs musical “His honor, the Mayor,” premiered in New York City

• 1910 ~ T-Bone Walker, Legendary blues guitarist

• 1914 ~ Adolf Gustaw Sonnenfeld, Composer, died at the age of 76

• 1915 ~ Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Violinist
More information about Schneiderhan

• 1923 ~ György Ligeti, Hungarian-born Austrian composer
More information about Ligeti

• 1922 ~ Carl Tieke, Composer, died at the age of 58

• 1922 ~ Otto Krueger conducted the Detroit News Orchestra, the first known radio orchestra, which was heard on WWJ Radio in Detroit, MI. The “Detroit News” owned the radio station at the time.

• 1925 ~ Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, German baritone. Known for his performance of opera, notably Mozart, Strauss and Wagner, he is also famed for his interpretation of German lieder.

• 1927 ~ Bernhard Lewkovitch, Composer

• 1930 ~ Julian Penkivil Slade, Composer

• 1931 ~ Peter Talbot Westergaard, Composer

• 1932 ~ Henning Christiansen, Composer

• 1934 ~ Julian Slade, Composer

• 1934 ~ Rob du Bois, Composer

• 1936 ~ Maki Ishii, Composer

• 1940 ~ Hans Dulfer, Tenor saxophonist and director of Paradiso

• 1940 ~ Theodor Streicher, Composer, died at the age of 65

• 1940 ~ Irving Berlin’s musical “Louisiana Purchase,” premiered in New York City

• 1941 ~ Frank Sinatra joined Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra in recording “This Love of Mine” for Victor Records.

• 1943 ~ Dennis Riley, Composer

• 1944 ~ Gladys Knight, American rhythm-and-blues singer

• 1945 ~ John Fogerty, Songwriter, singer with Creedence Clearwater

• 1945 ~ Gary Stewart, Country singer

• 1954 ~ Achille Longo, Composer, died at the age of 54

• 1957 ~ The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) was established. This is the organization that brings us the Grammy Awards for all forms of musical entertainment each year.

• 1958 ~ Mikulas Schneider-Trvavsky, Composer, died at the age of 77

• 1959 ~ Johnson and Bart’s musical “Lock up your daughters,” premiered in London

• 1963 ~ Vissarion Yakovlevich Shebalin, Composer, died at the age of 60

• 1964 ~ John Finley Williamson, conductor of the Westminster Choir, died at the age of 76

• 1964 ~ Dmitri Shostakovitch completed his Ninth String quartet

• 1966 ~ Percy Sledge hit number one with his first, and what turned out to be his biggest, hit. When a Man Loves a Woman would stay at the top of the pop music charts for two weeks. It was the singer’s only hit to make the top ten and was a million seller.

• 1966 ~ Dmitri Shostakovitch’s Eleventh String quartet, premiered in Leningrad

• 1967 ~ Dmitri Shostakovitch completed his Second Violin Concerto

• 1973 ~ Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, German composer and conductor, died at the age of 73

• 1975 ~ The Doobie Brothers went gold with the album, “Stampede”. The group, formed in San Jose, CA, recorded 16 charted hits. Two made it to number one, becoming million-selling, gold record winners: Black Water in March, 1975 and What a Fool Believes in April, 1979.

• 1977 ~ Jiri Reinberger, Composer, died at the age of 63

• 1981 ~ Mary Lou Williams, Musician, died at the age of 71

May 17 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1866 ~ Erik Satie, French composer and pianist
Read quotes by and about Satie
More information about Satie

• 1890 ~ Pietro Mascagni’s famous opera “Cavalleria Rusticana”, set in Sicily, was first performed in Rome.

• 1901 ~ Werner Egk, German composer and conductor

• 1918 ~ Birgit Nilsson, Swedish soprano. Famed for her singing of Wagner, she took part in the first pioneering commercial recording of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

• 1921 ~ Bob Merrill, Songwriter

• 1924 ~ Dick Hixson, Trombonist, studio musician

• 1932 ~ Jackie (John) McLean, Jazz musician: alto sax; composer, playwright; educator: University of Hartford, CT

• 1935 ~ French composer Paul Dukas, whose composition “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” featured in the Disney films “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000” died

• 1938 ~ Pervis Jackson, Singer with The Spinners

• 1939 ~ The Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, NY was the scene of a memorable dual- network radio broadcast of Glenn Miller and his orchestra. Both NBC and Mutual carried the event, which was attended by 1,800 people in the casino ballroom.

• 1942 ~ Taj Mahal (Henry St. Claire Fredericks), Entertainer, songwriter, singer

• 1949 ~ Bill Bruford, Drummer

• 1971 ~ Jordan Knight, Singer with New Kids on the Block

• 1971 ~ The musical, Godspell, opened this night at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. Godspell featured the song Day by Day (a top-15 hit in 1972). The rock musical that featured Robin Lamont played for 2,124 performances and was the third longest-running off-Broadway production at the time.

• 1975 ~ NBC-TV paid a whopping $5,000,000 for the rights to show Gone with the Wind just one time. It was the top price paid for a single opportunity to show a film on television.

• 1975 ~ Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy album was released and certified a platinum record on the very same day. It was the first album to be certified a million-seller (in this case, a two-million seller) on the first day of release.

• 2002 ~ John de Lancie, an oboist whose talent as a player and teacher helped create a new repertoire for his instrument, died from leukemia. He was 80. De Lancie’s style became a signature of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which he joined in 1946 and served as principal from 1954-77. He was then appointed director of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia conservatory whose graduates include Leonard Bernstein. Students of Mr. de Lancie also occupy principal chairs in Boston, Montreal and Minneapolis. As a 24-year-old soldier stationed in Germany during World War II, de Lancie approached Richard Strauss about writing a concerto for oboe. The 81-year-old Strauss said he had not considered such a work, but went on to create a score that joined the standard repertoire. De Lancie entered the Curtis Institute at 14 to study with the legendary French oboist Marcel Tabuteau. De Lancie entered the Army in 1942 and played in the Army Band. While stationed in Paris, he met his wife, Andrea. They had two children; Christina, a playwright, and John de Lancie, an actor who played the character Q on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

April 29 ~ This Day in Music History

today

OCMS 1879 ~ Sir Thomas Beecham, English conductor. Founded the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947 and did much to promote the works of Delius, Sibelius and Richard Strauss.
Read quotes by and about Beecham

. 1895 ~ Sir Malcolm Sargent, English conductor, born. He was in charge of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra from 1942 until 1948 and of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1950 until 1957.

OCMS 1899 ~ Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist, bandleader and composer
Read quotes by and about Ellington
More information about Ellington
Grammy winner

. 1913 ~ Donald Mills, Singer with The Mills Brothers.

. 1925 ~ Danny Davis (George Nowland), Grammy Award-winning bandleader with Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass. Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1969, Country Music Awards Instrumental Group of the Year 1969 to 1974

. 1927 ~ Carl Gardner, Singer with The Coasters

. 1931 ~ (Anthony James) Lonnie Donegan, Folk singer, musician: guitar, banjo

. 1933 ~ Rod McKuen, Singer, poet-song writer

. 1936 ~ Zubin Mehta, Indian conductor, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and violinist

. 1936 ~ April Stevens (Carol Lo Tempio), Singer

. 1943 ~ Duane Allen, Singer with the Oak Ridge Boys

. 1947 ~ Tommy James (Jackson), Singer with Tommy James and The Shondells

. 1949 ~ Francis Rossi, Musician, guitar and singer with Status Quo

. 1968 ~ Hair made its way from Greenwich Village to Broadway. The show certainly opened eyes. It was the first time that actors appeared nude in a Broadway musical. Hair ran for 1,844 shows on and off Broadway. It was even more successful in its London run later. Big songs from the show: Hair (The Cowsills) and Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The 5th Dimension).

. 1969 ~ Sir Duke, Duke Ellington, celebrated his 70th birthday. He was honored with the presentation of the Medal of Freedom, the U.S. government’s highest civilian honor.

. 2001 ~ Opera diva Rita Nellie Hunter, a powerful soprano celebrated for her fine Wagnerian performances, died at the age of 67. Hunter, originally from Wallasey, England, was best remembered as the quintessential Brunnhilde of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, which she performed in London, New York, Germany and Sydney. Hunter’s agile voice led her through performances of Verdi’s “Aida,” and “Macbeth,” Puccini’s “Turandot” and Strauss’ challenging “Elektra.” Despite her remarkable voice, Hunter did not reach international stardom. Her physical size, at a time when the opera was seeking slimmer performers, and the fact that she sang roles primarily in English, kept her from achieving global fame. Hunter married tenor John Darnley Thomas in 1960, and after his death in 1994, took over management of his Singing Academy in Sydney.