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
January 16
Can You Guess?
Duke Ellington's wonderful orchestra recorded It Don't Mean a Thing.  The next word in the song is, "if." Can You Guess how the line is completed?  It don't mean a thing if . . .

Go to the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
What Else
1724 - Premiere of J. S. Bach's Sacred Cantata No. 155 Mein Gott, wie lang, ach lange.

1728 - Niccoló Piccinni, Italian opera composer, was born.

1739 - Premiere of G.F. Handel's Saul.

1745 - Premiere of Handel's musical drama Hercules.

1876 - Premiere of P. I. Tchaikovsky's Serenade Mélancolique in Moscow.

1932 - Duke Ellington and his Orchestra recorded It Don't Mean a Thing.

1934 - Marilyn Horne American mezzo-soprano, was born.

1957 - Arturo Toscanini,  Italian-American conductor, died in NYC.

1957 - Little Richard recorded Lucille. (How's he do that with his voice?)

1997 - Premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's L.A. Variations for orchestra. Los Angeles Philharmonic, composer conducting.
Esa-Pekka Salonen was born June 30, 1958 in Helsinki, Finland.   He entered the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki  in 1973, studying horn, and later, composition.

Salonen originally saw composiing as his career.  He saw himself as a conducting composer.  He wrote his first major orchestral work was called Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra in 1980/81.  He was in Milan studying with Niccolò Castiglioni at the time.  Salonen's second orchestral work Giro is also from this time.  In 1983 Salonen undertook a performance of Mahler's Third Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.  Overnight he became a composing conductor.  But Salonen would not produce another major orchestral piece for more than 10 years.

He composed Floof in 1982.  It is a work for soprano and 5 players based on texts by the  Polish science-fiction writer Stanislaw Lem. Pekka completely revised the work in 1990.  It won the UNESCO Rostrum Prize in 1992.

Highly successful performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1989 led to Salonen's invitation to become the orchestra's music director. He took post in 1992, becoming the orchestra's youngest music director.  In 1996 the orchestra commissioned him to produce a major orchestral work.  L.A. Variations premiered in January, 1997.

In July 1993, Salonen became the first conductor to be awarded the prestigiuous Siena Prize from Accademia Chigiana. He has also been awarded the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres from France, the Literis & Artibus from the King of Sweden, and the Pro Finlandia from the Finnish government. He was also named Conductor of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London twice.

Salonen is known for his 20th  century music performances, and  praised for interpretations of Haydn, Mahler, and Beethoven. He and Joshua Bell recorded Congliano's violin music for the film The Red Violin.
January 16, 2003 Esa-Pekka Salonen conducted the premiere of William Kraft's Concerto for English Horn The Grand Encounter. Carolyn Hovewas the soloist, and she was accompanied by the members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
Esa-Pekka Salonen
1958 - 
Red Violin, conducted by Salonen
Salonen Conducts
Soundtrack to
The Red Violin
Salonen, L.A. Variations
Salonen as Composer
L.A. Variations
Vol. 1 - Duke Ellington - sheet music at
Book and CD of
Duke Ellington's Music
You Can Play Along
Did You Guess?
It Don't Mean a Thing if . . .
it ain't got that swing!

Did You See the Color Clues?
Orange Blossom Special
Irish Fiddler Button
It's Getting to be
That Time of the Year
Fiddle Time!
Orange Blossom Special or Irish Fiddle for St. Pat's. Your Choice!
Electric Violins for Ellington-Like Jazz