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 9
Can You Guess?
Below  talked about George Balanchine, the choreographer.  Not something violinists are usually concerned about, but I'll bet the group Barrage (see Music History of January 4 by clicking here) is.  Can You Guess what choreographers do?

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1724 - Premiere of J. S. Bach's Sacred Cantata No. 154 Mein liebster Jesus ist Verloren.

1880 - Premiere of N. Rimsky-Korsakov's opera May Night.

1892 - Premiere of Richard Strauss' Death and Transfiguration, by the New York Philharmonic.

1904 - Birth of U.S. dancer-choreographer George Balanchine.

1909 - Premiere of Maurice Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit Ricardo Vines.

1937 - Premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's String Quartet No. 4. Performed by the Kolisch Quartet.

1939 - Premiere of Bela Bartók's Contrasts for clarinet, violin, and piano by violinist Joseph Szigeti, clarinetist Benny Goodman, and Bartók at the piano.

1941 - Joan Baez, US folk singer, was born.

1948 - Premiere of Walter Piston's Symphony No 3, by Boston Symphony Orchestra. Pulitzer Prize for Music (1948).

1951 - Crystal Gayle, US singer, was born.  Sister of singer Loretta Lynn.

2003 - Premiere of Behzad Ranjbaran's Violin Concerto. Conductor Gerard Schwarz and violinist Joshua Bell with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
John Knowles Paine was born in Portland Maine on January 9, 1839.  His father owned a  music store and was conductor of the town band.  He taught John organ, piano, harmony and counterpoint.

In 1858 Paine went to Germany for 4 years of study, and upon his return was hired as organist of the prestigious (Old) West Church in Boston.
John Knowles Paine
1839-1906
Within six months Paine had been offered a position at Harvard University.  While he was there, his work was praised by many including Henry Wadsworth Longellow.

Although he worked at Harvard for many years, he was not offered the position of Professor until 1875.  He was the school’s first Professor of Music.

His organ works, Mass, operas and anthems showed him to be an excellent musician, and he spent his life trying to elevate the level of organ playing in the United States.  (While he was studying in Germany, his being American was viewed by European musicians and professors as a handicap.)  Paine ignored much of contemporary American music and concentrated mainly on Bach and Palestrina.

Musicians in the United States viewed what he did at Harvard and were quick to imitate the curriculum.  Yale was the first to do so, and many other universities followed.  Before long Paine’s curriculum was viewed as the standard for what music was “worth of study” and what could be set aside.

But Paine was not simply an educator and an organist.  He was also a composer.  It is said that he was the first American to have a symphony published.  It was well-received.  It is said that Paine’s second symphony so enthralled the Boston crowd that at the conclusion of the piece one man stood up on his chair cheering and opening and closing his umbrella over and over again in celebration.

Other works Paine composed were:
 
Double Fugue on God Save the Queen
  Concert Variations on the Austrian Hymn
  Variations on the Star Spangled Banner
  Concert Variations upon Old Hundredth
.

John Knowles Paine died on April 25, 1906.  After his death his widow established the Paine Travelling Fellowship, which is awarded to Harvard students who show “distinguished talent and originality” in musical compositon and scholarship.
John Knowles Paine
John Knowles Paine
John Knowles Paine's Symphonies No. 1 and 2
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Choreographers make up and record new dances!