March 20 ~ This Day in Music History

. 1812 ~ Jan Ladislav Dussek died.  He was a Czech composer and pianist.

. 1828 ~ Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright. He wrote Peer Gynt, which Grieg later set to music.

. 1890 ~ Lauritz Melchior, Danish-born American tenor
More information about Melchior

. 1890 ~ Beniamino Gigli, Italian operatic tenor, born; with a repertory of over 60 roles, he retired in 1955 after over 40 years singing.

. 1907 ~ Ozzie Nelson, Bandleader, actor in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. He was married to actress, Harriet Nelson and they were the parents of David and Ricky Nelson.

. 1915 ~ Sviatoslav Richter, Russian pianist
More information about Richter

. 1917 ~ Dame Vera Lynn, English singer and sweetheart of British forces during World War Two

. 1920 ~ Marian McPartland, British jazz pianist
More information about McPartland

. 1936 ~ Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded Christopher Columbus on Victor Records in Chicago, IL.

. 1948 ~ Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra were featured in the first televised symphonic concert. CBS-TV, with help from its then Philadelphia television station, WCAU-TV 10, carried the program from the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the home of the world- famous orchestra. The concert was televised live, at 5 p.m.

Ninety minutes later, NBC-TV carried TV’s second symphonic concert. This one was from Carnegie Hall in New York City. Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra was featured in a presentation of Wagner compositions.

. 1969 ~ Beatle John Lennon married Yoko Ono at the Rock of Gibraltar on this day. Lennon called the location, “quiet, friendly and British.” He was the second Beatle to marry in eight days. Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman were wed a week earlier.

February 13 ~ This Day in Music History

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. 1660 ~ Johann Sigismund Kusser (or Cousser),  composer of Hungarian parentage active in Germany, France, and Ireland

. 1778 ~ Fernando Sor, Guitar composer
More information about Sor

. 1867 ~ Johann Strauss’ magnificent Blue Danube Waltz was played for the first time at a public concert in Vienna, Austria.

. 1870 ~ Leopold Godowsky, Polish American pianist, composer, and teacher

. 1873 ~ Feodor Chaliapin, Russian Bass

. 1883 ~ (Wilhelm) Richard Wagner passed away
More information about Wagner

. 1895 ~ France, There’s no business like show business, right? Well, this is where it all started. A patent for a machine “to film and view phronopotographic proofs” (in simpler words, a projector) was assigned to the Lumiere brothers of Paris.

. 1904 ~ Wingy (Joseph Matthews) Manone, Trumpeter, singer, bandleader

. 1914 ~ The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (known as ASCAP) was formed in New York City. The society was founded to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.

. 1918 ~ Oliver Smith, Scenic designer for Broadway Musicals such as On the Town, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot, The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly! and films Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma!, Porgy and Bess, The Band Wagon

. 1919 ~ “Tennessee” Ernie Ford, American country-music singer and songwriter

. 1920 ~ Eileen Farrell, American soprano, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera. Also successful in singing and recording popular music and jazz

. 1940 ~ Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and his orchestra recorded the classic Boogie Woogie on St. Louis Blues on the famous Bluebird record label.

. 1925 ~ Gene Ames, Singer with The Ames Brothers

. 1929 ~ Jesse McReynolds, Guitarist, folk singer with Jim & Jesse

. 1930 ~ Dotty McGuire, Singer with McGuire Sisters

. 1944 ~ Peter Tork (Peter Halsten Thorkelson), Bassist, singer with The Monkees

. 1950 ~ Roger Christian, Singer with The Christians

. 1956 ~ Peter Hook. Bass with Joy Division

. 1957 ~ Tony Butler, Bass with Big Country

. 1971 ~ The Osmonds, a family singing group from Ogden, Utah, began a five-week stay at the top of the pop music charts with the hit, “One Bad Apple”. The song, featuring the voice of little Donny Osmond, also showcased the talent of Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay Osmond. The brothers were regulars on Andy Williams’ TV show from 1962 to 1967. The group began as a religious and barbershop quartet in 1959. Together, the Osmonds scored with 10 singles in four years — four of them were top ten hits.

. 1976 ~ Lily (Alice) Pons passed away

. 1990 ~ Musical highlight of glasnost when cellist/conductor Mstislav Rostropovich returned to Russia after a 16 year absence. Russian listeners cheered wildly when he played American favorite march, “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa

. 2001 ~ Music critic George T. Simon, the original Glenn Miller Band drummer who swapped his sticks for a pen and eventually earned a Grammy for his acclaimed liner notes, died of pneumonia following a battle with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 88. In 1937 Simon sat in with the fledgling Glenn Miller Band. But he opted for writing over drumming, and became editor-in-chief of Metronome magazine in 1939. As a writer, Simon worked for the New York Post and the now-defunct New York Herald-Tribune. He also served as executive director of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Grammy Awards. In 1977, Simon won his Grammy Award for best album notes – his contribution to the collection “Bing Crosby: A Legendary Performer.” Simon was hand-picked by Crosby to write the liner notes for the release.

. 2002 ~ Waylon Jennings, whose rebellious songs and brash attitude defined the outlaw movement in country music, died peacefully at his Arizona home after a long battle with diabetes-related health problems. He was 64. Jennings’ list of hits spans four decades and includes country music standards like Good-Hearted Woman andMammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, both duets with Willie Nelson. Jennings made 60 albums and had 16 country singles that reached No. 1. His “Greatest Hits” album in 1979 sold 4 million – a rare accomplishment in country music for that era. Jennings won two Grammy awards and four Country Music Association awards. Other hits include I’m a Ramblin’ Man, Amanda, Lucille, I’ve Always Been Crazy, and Rose in Paradise. Jennings’ deep, sonorous voice narrated the popular TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard” and sang its theme song, which was a million seller. Jennings had been plagued with health problems in recent years that made it difficult for him to walk. In December 2002, his left foot was amputated. He traditionally wore a black cowboy hat and ebony attire that accented his black beard and mustache. Often reclusive when not on stage, he played earthy music with a spirited, hard edge. Some of Jennings’ album titles nourished his brash persona: “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean,” “I’ve Always Been Crazy,” “Nashville Rebel,” “Ladies Love Outlaws” and “Wanted: The Outlaws.” He often refused to attend music awards shows on the grounds that performers shouldn’t compete against each other. He didn’t show up at his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year. He made occasional forays into TV movies, including “Stagecoach” and “Oklahoma City Dolls,” plus the Sesame Street movie “Follow That Bird” and the B-movie “Nashville Rebel.”

. 2015 ~ John McCabe died.  He was an English composer and pianist.  He was a prolific composer from an early age but first became known as a pianist. He created works in many different forms, including symphonies, ballets, and solo works for the piano.

January 11 ~ This Day in Music History

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. 1837 ~ Death of Irish pianist and composer John Field in Moscow, while on tour

. 1856 ~ Charles (Johann Christian) Sinding, Norwegian composer

. 1875 ~Reinhold Moritsevich Glière Russian composer
More information about Glière

. 1901 ~ Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov died. Kalinnikov was a Russian composer of two symphonies, several additional orchestral works and numerous songs, all of them imbued with characteristics of folksong.

. 1902 ~ Maurice Duruflé, French organist and composer

. 1924 ~ Don Cherry, Singer with Band of Gold

. 1928 ~ Ol’ Man River was recorded on Victor Records by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra. Bing Crosby crooned as the song’s featured vocalist. The tune came from the Broadway musical, “Showboat”.

. 1930 ~ Jack Nimitz, Jazz ‘reed’ musician, toured with Supersax

. 1933 ~ Goldie Hill, Country entertainer, married to country singer, Carl Smith

. 1946 ~ Naomi (Diane) Judd, Grammy Award-winning singer in the duo, The Judds, mother of singers Wynonna and Ashley

. 1949 ~ Dennis (Frederick) Greene, Singer with Sha-Na-Na

. 1958 ~ Vicki Peterson, Guitarist, singer with The Bangles

. 1980 ~ Rupert Holmes was at the top of the pop music charts, with Escape (The Pina Colada Song).

. 1981 ~ Leonard Bernstein began conducting the BR – Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra in Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” in Munich’s Hercules Hall. Performed one act at a time, in January, April, and November of 1981, respectively, Bernstein’s “Tristan und Isolde” was telecast live and later released as an audio recording by Philips–to some controversy.

Karl Böhm remarked, with regards to Bernstein’s exaggeratedly slow tempi, “For the first time, someone dares to perform this music as Wagner wrote it.” Böhm’s own recording of the Prelude was four minutes faster.

Upon completion of the project, Bernstein declared, “My life is complete… I don’t care what happens after this. It is the finest thing I’ve ever done.”

. 2003 ~ Mickey Finn, bongo player with 1970s band T.Rex, died at the age of 55. Formed by flamboyant lead singer Marc Bolan in 1967, T.Rex shot to fame with hits such as Get it On, Hot Love and Children of the Revolution in the early 1970s. The band was originally called Tyrannosaurus Rex but the name was shortened to T.Rex in 1970 after Finn joined, replacing original member Steve Took. The band achieved a huge following in Britain — sparking a period of “T.Rextacy” among devoted fans — but achieved more limited popularity in the United States and elsewhere. Credited with introducing the phenomenon of “glam rock” to pop music and influencing artists such as David Bowie, the band played to crowds of up to 100,000 and sold 39 million albums, according to Rolling Stone music magazine.

. 2004 ~ Randy VanWarmer, who recorded the pop hit Just When I Needed You Most and then had a successful career as a songwriter, died. He was 48. Just When I Needed You Most reached No. 4 on Billboard’s pop chart in 1979. VanWarmer, also a guitarist, had written it when he was 18. More recently, VanWarmer wrote I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why), a No. 1 hit by the country group Alabama in 1992, and I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes, No. 1 by the Oak Ridge Boys in 1984. VanWarmer was born March 30, 1955, in Indian Hills, Colo., and spent much of his childhood in Cornwall, England, after his father died. As a young man he lived in New York City and then Los Angeles before moving to Nashville in 1985. VanWarmer had recently recorded a duet with country singer Razzy Bailey, Sandcastles.

. 2005 ~ Spencer Dryden, drummer for the San Francisco rock band the Jefferson Airplane, died. He was 66.

. 2005 ~ Jimmy Griffin, an Academy Award-winning songwriter and former guitarist for the 1970s pop group Bread, died. He was 61.

Victor Borge’s Birthday!

Victor BorgeVictor Borge was born in 1909 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was an entertainer and pianist – a deliciously funny performer. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, and in Vienna and Berlin.
He made his debut as a pianist in 1926, and as a revue actor in 1933.

From 1940 until his death in 2000 he worked in the USA for radio, television, and theater, and has performed with leading symphony orchestras on worldwide tours since 1956. He was best known for his comedy sketches combining music and narrative. He used his classical training to skew serious music and performers.

 

From his obituary:

Pianist Victor Borge, died in his sleep Dec 23, 2000 at his Greenwich, Connecticut home, was known as the unmelancholy Dane of international show business. He would have turned 92 on Jan. 3, 2001.

“The cause of death was heart failure,” his daughter, Sanna Feirstein, told Reuters.

“He had just returned from a wonderfully successful trip to Copenhagen … and it was really heartwarming to see the love he experienced in his home country,” she said.

Borge was one of five performers selected for the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999.

“He went to sleep, and they went to wake him up this morning, and he was gone,” said his agent, Bernard Gurtman.

“He had so much on the table, and to the day he died he was creative, and practicing piano several hours a day,” Gurtman told Reuters. “He was just a great inspiration.”

Funeral services will be private, his daughter said.

Borge made a career of falling off piano stools, missing the keys with his hands and getting tangled up in the sheet music.

One of his inspirations was a pianist who played the first notes of the Grieg A Minor Concerto and then fell on the keys dead.

He said that the only time he got nervous on stage was when he had to play seriously and adds that if it had not been for Adolf Hitler he probably would never have pursued a career as a concert-hall comedian.

Until he was forced to flee Denmark in 1940 he was a stage and screen idol in his native country.

Lampooned Hitler

But as a Jew who had lampooned Hitler, Borge — his real name was Boerge Rosenbaum — was in danger and fled first to Sweden and then to the United States, where he arrived penniless and unknown and by a fluke got booked on the Bing Crosby radio show. He was an instant success.

He became an American citizen in 1948, but thought of himself as Danish. It was obvious from the numerous affectionate tributes and standing ovations at his 80th birthday concert in Copenhagen in 1989 that Danes felt the same way.

In the concert at Copenhagen’s Tivoli gardens, Borge played variations on the theme of  “Happy Birthday to You in the styles of Mozart, BrahmsWagner and Beethoven — all executed with such wit that the orchestra was convulsed with laughter that a woman performing a piccolo solo was unable to draw breath to play.

“Playing music and making jokes are as natural to me as breathing,” Borge told Reuters in an interview after that concert.

“That’s why I’ve never thought of retiring because I do it all the time whether on the stage or off. I found that in a precarious situation, a smile is the shortest distance between people. When one needs to reach out for sympathy or a link with people, what better way is there?

“If I have to play something straight, without deviation in any respect, I still get very nervous. It’s the fact that you want to do your best, but you are not at your best because you are nervous and knowing that makes you even more nervous.”

His varied career included acting, composing for films and plays and writing but he was best known for his comic sketches based on musical quirks and oddities.

Unpredictable Routine

His routines were unpredictable, often improvised on stage as his quick wit responded to an unplanned event — a noise, a latecomer in the audience — or fixed on an unlikely prop — a fly, a shaky piano stool.

Borge was born in Denmark on January 3, 1909, son of a violinist in the Danish Royal Orchestra.

His parents encouraged him to become a concert pianist, arranging his first public recital when he was 10. In 1927 he made his official debut at the Tivoli Gardens.

Borge’s mischievous sense of humor was manifest from an early age. Asked as a child to play for his parent’s friends he would announce “a piece by the 85-year-old Mozart” and improvise something himself.

When his mother was dying in Denmark during the occupation, Borge visited her, disguised as a sailor.

“Churchill and I were the only ones who saw what was happening,” he said in later years. “He saved Europe and I saved myself.”

From 1953 to 1956, he appeared in New York in his own production “Comedy in Music,” a prelude to world tours that often took him to his native Scandinavia.

On radio and television, Borge developed the comedy techniques of the bungling pianist that won him worldwide fame.

Many of his skits were based on real-life events. One of his classics evolved from seeing a pianist playing a Tchaikovsky concerto fall off his seat.

Borge’s dog joined the show after it wandered on stage while he was at the keyboard — an entrance nobody would believe had been unplanned.

One incident could not be repeated. A large fly flew on to Borge’s nose while he was playing. “How did you get that fly to come on at the right time?” people asked. “Well, we train them,” Borge explained.

Borge’s book, “My Favorite Intervals”, published in 1974, detailed little-known facts of the private lives of composers describing Wagner’s pink underwear and the time Borodin left home in full military regalia but forgot his trousers.

In 1975, Borge was honored in recognition of the 35th anniversary of his arrival in the United States and his work as unofficial goodwill ambassador from Denmark to the United States. He celebrated his 75th birthday in 1984 with a series of concerts at Carnegie Hall and in Copenhagen.

Borge received a host of honors from all four Scandinavian countries for his contributions to music, humor and worthy causes.

Borge, who had lived in Greenwich since 1964, is survived by five children, nine grandchildren, and one great grandchild. His wife of many years, Sanna, died earlier this year.

Borge’s birthday

Anniversary of Borge’s death

December 14, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

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Christmas Music, Part 14 ~ O Little Town Of Bethlehem

• 1911 ~ “Spike” (Lindley Armstrong) Jones, American drummer, bandleader of satiric music

• 1913 ~ Dan Dailey, Singer, dancer, actor

• 1914 ~ Rosalyn Tureck, American pianist and harpsichordist

• 1920 ~ Clark Terry, Trumpet, flugelhorn with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones

• 1928 ~ America’s original Funny Girl, Fanny Brice, recorded If You Want the Rainbow, a song from the play, My Man, on Victor Records.

• 1932 ~ Abbe Lane (Lassman), Singer, glamour actress, photographed in bathtub filled with coffee, bandleader Xavier Cugat’s ex-wife

• 1936 ~ You Can’t Take It with You opened at the Booth Theatre in New York City.

• 1946 ~ Patty Duke, US film actress

• 1947 ~ Christopher Parkening, American guitarist

• 1953 ~ Fred Allen returned from semiretirement to narrate Prokofiev’s classic, Peter and the Wolf, on the Bell Telephone Hour on NBC radio.

• 1963 ~ Singer Dinah Washington died in Detroit.

• 1970 ~ George Harrison received a gold record for his single, My Sweet Lord.

• 1983 ~ The musical biography of Peggy Lee opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City. The show was titled Peg.

• 1984 ~ The Cotton Club opened around the U.S. There were nine classic songs by Duke Ellington on the soundtrack of the movie.

• 1990 ~ Opera lovers were turned into couch potatoes. For four evenings, starting on this day, they watched and listened to an unabridged telecast of Richard Wagner’s marathon-length opera The Ring.

• 2001 ~ Conte Candoli, a Trumpet player and staple of The Tonight Show band during Johnny Carson’s era, died of cancer. He was 74. Candoli was recognized for developing a musical style based on Dizzy Gillespie’s bebop playing, with a touch of Miles Davis and Clifford Brown. The Indiana-born Candoli, grew up surrounded by musical instruments and influences. His father, a factory worker, played the trumpet and wanted Candoli and his brother Pete to become musicians. At 16, he worked in Woody Herman’s orchestra during summer vacations. While playing in California, Candoli began his association with the then New York-based Tonight Show. In 1972, when Carson moved the show to Burbank, Candoli joined the band. He left when Carson retired in 1992.

October 21, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

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• 1885 ~ Egon Wellesz, Austrian composer and musicologist

• 1907 ~ The “Merry Widow” opened in New York. The play starred Ethel Jackson and Donald Brian. The operetta had been introduced in Europe two years before.

• 1908 ~ A Saturday Evening Post advertisement offered a chance to buy, for the first time, a two-sided record. It was on Columbia.

• 1912 ~ Sir Georg Solti, Hungarian-born British conductor, Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the first complete recording of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen”.

OCMS 1917 ~ Dizzy (John Birks) Gillespie, American jazz trumpeter and bandleader Read quotes by and about “Dizzy” Gillespie
More information about Gillespie

• 1921 ~ Sir Malcolm Arnold, Composer of screen scores: “David Copperfield”, “The Chalk “Garden”, “Suddenly, Last Summer”, “Solomon and Sheba”, “Island in the Sun”, “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, “Trapeze”, “I Am a Camera”, “The Belles of St. Trinian’s” “the Eye Witness series”

• 1924 ~ It was a big night for a big band in New York’s Cinderella Ballroom. The crowd loved the Wolverine Orchestra from Chicago and the guy on the cornet, Bix Beiderbecke, the ‘young man with a horn’.

• 1938 ~ Quaker City Jazz was recorded on the Bluebird label by Jan Savitt’sorchestra. The tune would become the theme of the band. It was not, however, recorded in the Quaker City of Philadelphia. The song was waxed in New York City.

• 1940 ~ Manfred Mann (Michael Lubowitz), Singer with Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers

• 1941 ~ Steve Cropper, Guitarist with the groups: Blues Brothers as well as Booker T and The MG’s

• 1942 ~ Elvin Bishop, Guitarist, singer with Paul Butterfield Blues Band

• 1943 ~ Ron Elliott, Guitarist with Beau Brummels

• 1946 ~ Lee Loughnane, Brass with Chicago

• 1953 ~ Charlotte Caffey, Guitar, singer with The Go-Gos

• 1955 ~ Eric Faulkner, Guitarist with Bay City Rollers

• 1957 ~ Julian Cope, Bass, guitar, singer

• 1957 ~ Steve Lukather, Guitarist with Toto

• 1958 ~ Orchestral strings were used for the first time in a rock and roll tune. Buddy Holly recorded It Doesn’t Matter Anymore, written by Paul Anka. Sadly, it would be Holly’s last studio session. The song wasn’t released until after his death in February of 1959.

• 2001 ~ George Feyer, a pianist and entertainer who played at some of New York’s top hotels, died at the age of 92. Feyer, who was known for setting pop lyrics to classical music, entertained the sophisticated Manhattan cafe society for three decades. He played for decades at the Carlyle, the Stanhope and the Waldorf-Astoria. He made many recordings, including his Echoes album series, which featured Echoes of Paris and Echoes of Broadway. Born in Budapest on Oct. 27, 1908, Feyer attended the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, where he studied with composer Sir Georg Solti. One of his first jobs was playing for silent movies. During World War II, the Nazis put Feyer on forced labor details, then imprisoned him in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp for the final year of the war. Feyer and his family moved to New York in 1951. He stopped working full time in 1982.

August 28, 2016 ~ Today in Music History

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• 1850 ~ Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, was performed for the first time.

• 1894 ~ Karl Böhm, Austrian conductor

OCMS   1913 ~ Richard Tucker, American tenor
More information about Tucker

• 1924 ~ Dinah Washington, American rhythm-and-blues singer. She popularized many, many great songs, including What a Diff’rence a Day Makes, Unforgettable, and several hits with Brook Benton.

• 1925 ~ Billy (William Wayne) Grammer, Singer

• 1931 ~ You Rascal You was recorded by Henry Allen, with the Luis Russell Band, for the Victor label.

• 1939 ~ Clem Cattini, Drummer with Tornados

• 1948 ~ Daniel Seraphine, Drummer with Chicago

• 1951 ~ Wayne Osmond, Singer with The Osmond Brothers

• 1964 ~ The Beatles appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine.

• 1965 ~ Shania Twain (Eilleen Regina Edwards), Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1984 ~ The Jacksons’ Victory Tour broke the record for concert ticket sales. The group surpassed the 1.1 million mark in only two months.

• 2002 ~ Kay Gardner, whose last musical work with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra memorialized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died of a heart attack. She was in her early 60s.
On hearing of her death, symphony officials scheduled Gardner’s work, “Lament for Thousand,” for the orchestra’s season-opening concert Oct. 13 at the Maine Center for the Arts in Orono.
Gardner was a pianist, flutist and conductor who performed in 46 states and several countries.
More than 20 years ago, she sued the Bangor Symphony, unsuccessfully, for sex discrimination after she had applied for a conducting position and learned that orchestra members had been asked how they felt about working with a female conductor.
In 2000, she was the guest conductor for a 40-member orchestra of women from the Bangor Symphony, playing a repertoire written by women.
Gardner studied music at the University of Michigan and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1972, she helped found a feminist and openly lesbian women’s band, Lavender Jane.