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
June 5
Did You Guess?
John Phillip Sousa! 

Did you see the color clues?
Can You Guess?
Elizabeth Iona Brown used her middle name professionally.  One composer/conductor of marches is known by his first, middle and last names.  Can You Guess just who this composer might be?

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What Else
Elizabeth Iona Brown was born in Salisbury, England. Her father, Antony, was a pianist and organist and music teacher who specialized in the music of J.S. Bach. Her mother, Fiona, played violin with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.  Iona was given her first violin lessons at age 5.
1722 - Death of German composer Johann Kuhnau in Leipzig.

1798 - Alexei Lvov, Estonian violinist and military officer Alexei LVOV in Reval.

1826 - Composer Carl Maria Von Weber died.

1863 - Sir Arthur Somervell, English composer, was born.

1913 - Premiere of Mussorgsky's opera Khovantschina orchestrated version by Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel in Paris.

1919 - Akeo Watanabe, Japanese conductor, was born. Nippon Philharmonic Orchestra, 1956-68.

1945 - Victoria Bond, US composer - conductor was born.

1956 - Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula" was released.

1971 - Metropolitan opera debut of conductor James Levine. Puccini's Tosca. Levine became the Met's principal conductor in 1973 and its music director in 1976.

1971 - James Taylor's You've Got A Friend was released.

2003 - Manuel Rosenthal, French conductor-composer, died. He studied with Ravel, who encouraged him to compose. He studied violin at the Paris Conservatoire.

2003 - Premiere of Oliver Knussen's Symphony No. 4. New York Philharmonic, Lorin Maazel conducting.
Iona Brown was educated at the Cathedral School in Salisbury and Cranborne Chase.  She played in the National Youth Orchestra from 1955 to 1960 ("Fiddle No 22, I remember it like yesterday").  She studied under Hugh Maguire in London, Remy Principe in Rome and Henryk Szeryng in Paris.  

When she turned professional, she discovered that there was already a professional by the name of Elizabeth Brown, and so began using her middle name professionally.

Iona played in the pit orchestra with the Ballet Rambert.  She was a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra under Otto Klemperer from 1963-1966.  She joined the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in 1964. She succeeded Sir Neville Marriner as musical director of that group in 1974, and she remained there until 1980.

Marriner was obviously a big fan.  He wrote, "
Iona personified the essence of the Academy's style of music-making. As a violinist she embraced the romantic movement with warmth and passion, and in the early classical repertoire she displayed a fastidious elegance that observed the performing conventions of the 18th century without letting the music dry out. She was an inspiration to several generations of the orchestra's players, although the altitude of some of her technical and musicianly demands broke a few spirits, and her vibrant personality broke a few hearts."
Iona Brown became guest conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1985.  In 1987 she was named music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

She played a 1716 Stradivari violin, "the Booth," (Click here to see a replica) and  made many recordings with Marriner and the Academy including Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Vivaldi's Four Seasons.   Iona began to have trouble with arthritis, and so began to turn more and more to conducting.  In February of 1998, Iona gave a recital in Tokyo. She recalled: "It was received so rapturously by the audience that I went back to my dressing room, put my violin in its case and said: 'I'm not going to do it any more.' I felt it was best to go out on a high note."   It would be her last public performance as a violinist.  She sold the violin in 1999.

Iona turned to conducting, and conducted several major orchestras including the London Philharmonic, the Danish Philharmonic and the Tokyo Philharmonic. 

Iona Brown died in her home in Salisbury, England June 5, 2004.
Iona Brown
Violinist Iona Brown
Click Photo to See
Iona Brown's Music at Amazon
Iona Brown and Baroque at Bathtime
Baroque at Bathtime: A Relaxing Serenade to Wash Your Cares Away
         -- with Iona Brown
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Presents all major and minor (melodic) scales and arpeggios in two octaves. It uses various positions I-IV. Eight charts per page. Finger positions for major and minor scales and arpeggios.
JAS Violin Scales Chart