Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students

A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
January 31
Can You Guess?
We read of Frankie
Valli's group the Four Seasons in the What Else section.  A very long time ago there was another Four Seasons in classical music.  Can You Guess what famous composer drew upon the four seasons for inspiration?
Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
What Else
Happened
Today?
Philip Glass was born in Baltimore, MD January 31, 1937.  His father owned a radio repair business and also sold a line of classical recordings.  He would bring home albums that were not selling well and play them for his children to find out why.  The works were generally those considered "offbeat."  Philips exposure to more "standard" classical works did not come until later.
Philip Glass
1937- 
Did You Guess?

Antonio Vivaldi wrote The Four Seasons.  Did you see the color clues?  Take a look at Julia Fischer's DVD of The Four Seasons for a treat!
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At 6, Philip began music lessons.  He took up the flute at 8.  He became frustrated with the flute with musical life in Baltimore.  At age 15 he applied for admission to the University of Chicago, was accepted and moved there.  He supported himself waiting tables and loading planes at airports. He majored in math and philosophy and continued his music studies in his spare time, concentrating on composers like Ives and Webern.

Philip graduated from the university at 19.  He moved to New York to attend the Juilliard School, and began concentrating on Aaron Copland, William Schuman and the like.

Philip was hired by a Paris filmmaker to transcribe the Indian music of Ravi Shankar into western musicians could read.  This exposed him to techniques of Indian music. After researching music in North Africa, India and the Himalayas, he returned to New York, renounced his previous music, and began applying eastern techniques to his own work.

By 1974, Philip had written a large collection of music for the Mabou Mines Theater Company, that Glass co-founded, and his own performing group, the Philip Glass Ensemble. The highpoint of the period was Music in Twelve Parts, a three-hour summation of his new music.

In 1976 Philip collaborated with Robert Wilson to create the opera 5-hour opera Einstein on the Beach.  He then decided to make Einstein part of a trilogy that resulted in the creation of the operas Satyagraha and Akhnaten. Over the years, Glass and Wilson have worked together on several other projects: the CIVIL warS - Act V (Rome Section) of the multi-composer epic which was written for the 1984 Olympics, White Raven - an opera commissioned by Portugal to celebrate its history of discovery which premiered at EXPO '98 in Lisbon and was performed as part of the 2001 Lincoln Center Festival, and Monsters of Grace - a digital 3-D opera.

Philip has written large-scale works for chorus and orchestra such as Itaipu and Symphony No. 5, a work based on text from wisdom traditions throughout the world; Symphony No. 2, Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 6 (Plutonian Ode), with text by Allen Ginsberg; and "Low" and "Heroes" Symphonies, both based on the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno. Glass also has produced concertos for violin and orchestra, saxophone quartet and orchestra, two timpanists and orchestra, and harpsichord and orchestra.

Glass film scores include Godfrey Reggio's trilogy Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi; Errol Morris' The Thin Blue Line, A Brief History of Time and The Fog of War; Paul Shrader's Mishima; Bernard Rose's Candyman and Bill Condon's Candyman II; and an original score for the re-release of the 1930 Dracula with Bela Lagosi. music for Peter Weir's The Truman Show - which won a Golden Globe Award for Best Score in 1999. Glass' most recent film work for Stephen Daldry's The Hours also received a Golden Globe nomination.
1910 - First live opera broadcast. Radio pioneer Lee DeForest arranged the first live origination from the Metropolitan Opera House of New York, where the operas Il Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana were presented.

1921 - Mario Lanza (Alfredo Arnold Cocozza),  American actor and tenor, was born.   Films: That Midnight Kiss, The Great Caruso, Because You’re Mine, The Student Prince. Hit Songs, Be My Love, The Loveliest Night of the Year, Because You’re Mine.

1970 - Rainy Night In Georgia, by Brook Benton, was released.

1976 - December 1963 (Oh, What A Night), by the Four Seasons, was released.

1981 - Justin Timberlake, vocalist for 'N Sync,was born.

1986 - Premiere of Joan Tower's Piano Concerto Homage to Beethoven. Hudson Valley Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra conducted by Imre Pallo, Jacquelyn M. Helin, piano.
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