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
September 24
1645 - Death of British composer William Lawes.

1813 - Death of Belgian-born French composer André Grétry at age 72.

1863 - Birth of American bandmaster William Henry Santelmann in Offensen, Germany.  Played clarinet in Sousa's band.

1885 - Birth of Estonian composer Arthur Lemba.

1892 - Death of Irish-American bandmaster and composer Patrick Gilmore in St. Louis. (When Johnny Comes Marching Home, 1863 click the link and sing along).

1893 - Birth of Spanish composer Rafael Millan.

1921 - Birth of American composer Robert Mols.

1927 - Birth of American composer Richard Swift in Middlepoint, OH.

1928 - Birth of German composer Karl Haus.

1945 - Birth of English conductor and composer John Rutter in London.

1951 - Birth of American composer S. K. Waller in CA.

1966 - Premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 2

1977 - The Love Boat debuted on ABC-TV. The theme song was sung by Jack Jones and was written by Paul Williams and Charles Fox.  Listen to the theme.

1986 - Premiere of Karel Husa's Concerto for Orchestra.

1992 - Premiere of Tobias Picker's Bang!. The New York Philharmonic, Kurt Masur conducting a New York Philharmonic 150th Anniversary commission.

1994 - Premiere of Ellen Taaffe  Zwilich's American Concerto for trumpet and orchestra, by the San Diego Symphony, JoAnn Faletta conducting, with soloist Doc Severinson. The inaugural concert of the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

2001 - Death of Jens Nygaard,  Conductor of the Jupiter Symphony.

  
Did You Guess?
Alana Ulbach plays Maria, who does not know Mary Had a Little Lamb but does sing The Love Boat in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

Did You See the Color Clues?

Extra credit if you can tell me the name of the hymn the choir sings at the end of the movie as well as the composer of the melody to that hymn.  Click here to see the answer.
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Amy Scurria
1973 -
Amy Scurria was born September 24, 1973.

Amy's father played the piano.  Amy loved to listen.  The family also played recordings of music of many styles.  Spanish guitar. Classical composers like Beethoven, Bach, Debussy and Copland.  Music filled the house. Amy took it all in. She didn't much care for pop music until she was in her teens. Slightly out of step with her peers, she liked John Denver and the Carpenters.  But at a very young age she knew she loved music.
Her sister, Jackie, took piano lessons and Amy would listen, memorize what had been played and learn the pieces.  Although Amy took lessons from the same teacher for about a year, she did not like the teaching style and quit lessons.  She did not study piano formally again until she was 11.  But then her family couldn't get her away from the keys!

At age 11 she began studying with a teacher who used the Suzuki method.  Amy loved the freedom and creativity it allowed. The teacher even allowed Amy to perform her own works at recitals, which really appealed to her.  Practice was no chore, her parents had to call her away from the piano!

Amy's father was in the military, and the family moved a lot.  Her next teacher continued to encourage her creativity, began teaching her to write the works down and was excited to hear the new things that Amy created.  Ms. Scurria is now grateful for this teacher's creating "a safe place to explore beyond the reading and performance of music," and the confidence that this provided her.

By the time Amy was in her mid-teens she had two passions in life . . . flying and music.  Amy's last teacher before college was actually a composer, and spent many hours helping her work on composing and analysis.  She spent time in ear-training as well as dictation.  Amy drank it all in, and by age 16 realized that she would spend her life in music.

Ms. Scurria moved to Houston to attend Rice University, and there attended a symphony concert for the first time.  She knew the instruments from her studies.  She had heard recordings, but actually attending a concert astounded her.  She threw herself into studies and completed her bachelor's degree in composition at Rice University, and earned a master's degree at Johns Hopkins. 

And people have taken note of her work.  She was the winner of the 1991 Northern Virginia Composition Competition, the 1998 Haddonfeld Young Composers' Competition and four consecutive ASCAP Plus Awards.  She is one of the youngest composers ever published by the Theodore Presser Company.  And she has taken the bold step of placing some of her music on the Internet so that the world can hear what she has to say.  Listen to her music here.  You can purchase her music directly through her website.  (www.amyscurria.com/)

Ms. Scurria advises teachers of budding composers to "merely guide and draw out what already exists in the student."  She urges ear-training, and practice with notation and analysis.  And, at least it seems to me, a flexible method of instruction which takes into account the learning and creative styles of the student yet fosters in the student the desire and will to study and do the work necessary to succeed.

Her inspiration?  "
My faith in God has been important to me in every aspect of my life and to put it simply, music is my prayer.  When I need guidance in life, I pray.  When I need inspiration for a work, I pray.  Music is a gift and I can only pray that I will create it to the best of my ability which for me means creating music that provides hope, beauty, inspiration... And in thanks for the many gifts I receive every day, music is my best offering in return."

The future? Ms. Scurria hopes, "
to continue to have opportunities with composing, but as long as I am creating, exploring, experiencing music, I am happy and fulfilled.  Without music in my life I feel like a wandering spirit with no home, nobody, no place.  I am infinitely blessed to have had the opportunities that I have had.  To hear one's music performed in front of an audience is the greatest gift a composer could ever receive.  . . .  There are so many things that I still want to write... More piano works, a ballet, a musical/opera, more orchestral works, more songs.  Simply put, I still feel that I have more to explore and say through this beautiful language called music!"

On a personal note, I encountered Ms. Scurria's music by chance, but I am profoundly glad that I did.  Her melodies, harmonies and the textures she develops, even her subjects touch me.  And in more than 700 web pages that I have written so far nobody has been kinder or more cooperative. 
Listen to this lady's work.  Remember this lady's name. You'll be as glad that you found her as I am. 
Click her picture to go to Amy Scurria's website.
Sister Act 2
Chess
Indigo Girls
Chess
La Mer by DeBussy
Phantom of the Opera
Karen Carpenter
What Did / Does Amy Listen To?
La Mer
Chess
Phantom of the Opera
As always, the music presented on this site is there to provide samples and examples for you to listen to.  If you plan to purchase something on line, I would appreciate it if you would do it through one of my links . . . it helps me pay for bandwidth.  If not, don't worry about it!  Keep coming back.  Keep playing.  Keep reading.  Keep listening. Thank you for taking the time to stop by. 
Appalachian
Spring
Indigo Girls
Karen Carpenter
Violin Sheet Music, Classical Sheet Music, Sheet Music Download
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Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Phantom of the Opera (Violin) - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Andrew Lloyd Weber: The Phantom of the Opera (Violin) Composed by Andrew Lloyd Weber. For violin solo. Format: violin solo book. With standard notation. Broadway. 16 pages. 9x12 inches. Published by Hal Leonard. (HL.850207)
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In the What Else Happened Today section I mention the TV Show The Love Boat and provide a link to the theme song.  In a 1993 comedy actress Alanna Ubach plays a character who doesn't know Mary Had a Little Lamb, but can sing The Love Boat. Can You Guess the name of the movie?  By the way, since school has started are you back in the habit of daily practice?  I hope so!
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