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
July 7
Did You Guess?
John Williams conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra

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olor clues?
Can You Guess?
We read below of John Williams and his cello concerto.  We know about John Williams producing the prize-winning Star Wars scores.  But Williams is also a conductor.  Can You Guess what famous orchestra he conducted.

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Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was born July 7, 1860 in Kaliste, Bohemia (today the Czech Republic).  His father, Bernhard, was a merchant, his mother, Maria, suffered from heart disease. Mahler had a deep emotional attachment to his mother.  Several of his siblings did not survive, including his favorite brother Ernst who died in 1874.  Only his sister Justine (who married Arnold Rosé, concert master of the Vienna Philharmonic) remained close to Mahler when they were adults.
Mahler’s musical talent was apparent at age 4. He took piano lessons, loved folk songs and military bands, and began composing before he entered high school. He gave his first piano recital at age 10, was sent to Prague for advanced piano instruction at 11, and entered the Vienna Conservatory at 15.  Among his teachers was Anton Bruckner.

Mahler enrolled in the University of Vienna in 1877 to study philosophy, literature and music. By the time he left the Conservatory in 1881 he had already begun a conducting career.

Mahler rose through conducting posts in small towns to opera and symphony directorships in Kassel, Prague, Leipzig, Budapest and Hamburg. In 1887 he met Richard Strauss, who became a lifelong friend.  In 1888 Mahler wrote parts of his song cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn, based on poems by Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim.  He also completed his Symphony No. 1 (“The Titan”).

Mahler conducted Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen and Tristan und Isolde in 1892, and received rave reviews in London.  Besides opera, he also conducted concerts, and was  recognized for novel interpretations of Beethoven symphonies.  His Symphony No. 2 appeared in 1895.

Mahler was appointed conductor of the Vienna Court Opera on June 1, 1897, and took on the Vienna Philharmonic a year later.  He stayed with the Philharmonic until 1901, but remained in Vienna until 1907.

While he was in Vienna, the city once more became the musical capital of central Europe.  Much of this was due to Mahler's charisma. musical passion, and drive. Although he ruled his orchestra with an iron glove, he was kind and often quite introspective. Mahler read fiction, poetry and philosophical texts. He was highly educated and driven by great intellectual curiosity. In 1891/93 he wrote the orchestral version of his earlier Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer).

Reactions were mixed, but he received some recognition after the successful premiere of the Second Symphony, and his works were performed more often.

During his amazingly productive middle creative period, Mahler composed two song cycles, the Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children) and the Fünf Lieder nach Rückert (Five Songs after Rückert), both based on poems by Friedrich Rückert several symphonies.

The Metropolitan Opera, in New York, engaged Mahler for a series of performances.  It opened with Tristan on January 1, 1908.  In 1909, Mahler resigened from the Metropolitan and  accepted  the position of conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mahler made his debut with the New York Philharmonic February 14, 1911.  Shortly after that he fell ill with an infection which led to bacterial endocarditis.  He went to Paris for treatment, then to Vienna, but treatments were never successful.  Gustav Mahler died shortly before midnight on May 18, 1911.
1607 - God Save the King was first sung

1713 - Premiere of Georg F Handel's Te Deum and Jubilate

1911 - Gian Carlo Menotti, Italian-born American composer and conductor, was born in Cadegliano

1940 - Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) drummer for The Beatles, was born.

1956 - Johnny Cash made his first appearance on Grand Ole Opry.

1967 - The Monkees opened a national tour with Jimi Hendrix as the opening act.

1968 - Leo Sowerby, American organist and composer, died in Fort Clinton, Ohio at age 73.

1994 - Premiere of John Williams's Cello Concerto, at the opening of Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, Mass., by the Boston Symphony, with the composer conducting and Yo-Yo Ma the soloist.
Mahler conducted by Bernstein
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Bernstein Conducts Mahler