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
October 16
Can You Guess?
It was appropriate for Paul Wittgenstein to premiere Richard Strauss' Parergon to the Symphonia domestica for piano left hand and orchestra. Can You Guess why this was such a good match?  Sorry, no hint today!

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answe
r.
What Else
Happened
Today?
1607 - Giuseppe Guarneri,  violin maker, was born in Cremona Italy.

1750 - Death of German lutenist and composer Silvius Leopold Weiss.

1912 - Premiere of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire after 40 rehearsals. Work for speaking voices and chamber orchestra.

1925 - Paul Wittgenstein premiered Richard Strauss's Parergon to the Symphonia domestica for piano left hand and orchestra.

1938 - Premiere of Aaron Copland's ballet Billy the Kid Ballet by the Caravan Company, with a two-piano version of the score.

1942 - Premiere of Aaron Copland's one-act ballet Rodeo at Metropolitan Opera House, by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

1958 - Leonard Bernstein's first presentation of a 'major view of American music' with The New York Philharmonic

1976 - Premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies' Five Klee Pictures for orchestra. Young Musicians' Symphony, James Blair conducting.

1988 - Premiere of Stephen Paulus' Five for the Flowers Near the River for viola and piano, by Cynthia Phelps and Warren Jones, in Minneapolis.

1992 - Premiere of Joan Tower's Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 3 dedicated to conductor JoAnn Falletta.

2003 - Premiere of
Tan Dun's Paper Concerto, celebrating the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles CA

Did You Guess?
Paul Wittgenstein was a classically trained pianist.  During World War I he was injured and had his right arm amputated.  Wittgenstein continued his music career after the war, commissioning several well-known composers to write works for left hand only.
The world premiere of Peanuts Gallery for piano and orchestra, based on Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters.by composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich held at Carnegie Hall October 16, 1997.

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich was born in Miami, Florida on April 30, 1939.

When I was a toddler I climbed up on a piano bench and found out what happened when I banged on it, and I’m still fascinated,” Zwilich said.
Zwilich studied music at Florida State University.  She continued her studies at the Juilliard School under Roger Sessions and Elliott Carter.  She also studied violin under Richard Burgin and Ivan Galamian.  In 1975 She became the first woman to receive a doctorate in composition from Juilliard.

"All talk of method and style seemed suddenly trivial; I became interested in meaning. I wanted to say something musically about life and living."

While still working on her doctorate she played violin with the American Symphony Orchestra from 1965-1972, where she played under the baton of Leopold Stokowski.

But it seems that composition is Zwilich’s passion.  "If it doesn't give you goose bumps there is something wrong,” she said of writing. "One of the joys of my life is writing music for people who really want to play it. And that's priceless."

And compose she does.  Zwilich composes in all media except opera.  She first attracted attention when Pierre Boulez conducted her Symposium for Orchestra at Juilliard in 1975.  But she leapt to the fore when, in 1983.  That year she became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Music with her
Symphony No. 1.

Zwilich celebrated her birthday in 1991 with the premiere of her
Bass Trombone Concerto.  Her works have been performed by virtually all of the leading American orchestras and by major ensembles abroad.  She has continued to win award after award.  In 1995 she was named to the first Composer’s Chair in the history of Carnegie Hall.  In 1999 Zwilich was named America’s Composer of the Year.  Her works are regularly commissioned and played by leading orchestras and ensembles all over the world.

But composition is not enough for Ms. Zwilich.  She also teaches.  She is currently the Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor at the
Florida State University College of Music.

"
I need to feel that everything is an event and each new piece an exploration . . .  It seems to me that there is something very deep about music, in the same category as falling in love or a religious experience. People do things they feel to be deeply enriching, because they are totally pulled along, because they want to."
Ellen Taaffe
Zwilich

1939-
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