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
May 5
Did You Guess?
Asked how to get to Carnegie Hall, the policeman replied, "
Practice, practice, practice."
Can You Guess?
A joke from years ago tells of a musician visiting New York City and losing his way.  He approached a police officer and asked how to get to Carnegie Hall, where all the great musicians played.

Can You Guess
the answer the officer in the joke gave the musician?

Go to the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
     What Else
Happened Today?

1708 - Birth of German composer Adolf Scheibe.

1837 - Death of Italian composer Nicola Antonio Zingarelli.

1891 - Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky was the guest conductor at the opening of New York City's Music Hall.  The hall was later renamed "Carnegie Hall."

1893 - Birth of Russian composer Ivan Vyshnegradsky . . . an exponent of the use of quarter tones.

1956 - Elvis Presley hit #1 on the charts with Heartbreak Hotel.

1962 - The soundtrack to West Side Story goes to #1 on the album charts.  It will spend a total of 54 weeks there.

1982 - First performance of Ellen Taaffee Zwilich's Symphony # 1.  Won the Pulitzer prize in 1983.
Debussy's Sonata for Violin and Piano debuted May 5, 1917.

Achille-Claude Debussyborn in a bourgeois family. His father owned a china shop and worked as a travelling salesman, a printer's assistant and a clerk. His mother was a seamstress. Debussy's musical talent was discovered by his first piano teacher Mme. Mauté de Fleurville who claimed to have studied piano with Chopin. Mme. Mauté sent Debussy to the Conservatory in Paris, where he studied from 1872 to 1884.
Claude Debussy
Initially Debussy wanted to be a virtuoso pianist.  But having failed in piano examinations in 1878 and 1879, he gave up the idea of a solo career and, in 1880, attended the composition class of Ernest Guiraud. Under his guidance, Debussy won the second Prix de Rome in 1883 and the coveted first Prix de Rome the following year with his cantata L'enfant prodigue. This allowed him to study music at the Villa de Medici in Rome for three years.

Debussy served as pianist for Nadezhda von Meck, who was Tchaikovsky's patron.  He taught music and acted as accompanist for both vocal and instrumental works.  In 1888 and 1889 he traveled to Bayreuth to attend the Wagner Festivals.  He was fascinated with Wagner's Parsifal and Tristan und Isolda, but tired of them, and eventually turned against Wagners music and that of most other German composers.

In 1892 Debussy began to compose the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.  It was not performed until December, 1894.  In 1893 Debussy attended a performance of the Symbolist writer Maurice Maeterlinck's play
Pelléas et Mélisande.  This inspired him to begin work immediately on his opera. The opera was completed in 1902, with its first performance at the Opéra-Comique on April 30, 1902.  It was a great success.

Starting in 1907 Debussy undertook several European tours to England, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Russia to play piano and conduct his works. Success in England (1908-1909) brought him international fame.  He joined the advisory board of the Paris Conservatory. In 1909 Debussy began to compose his first book of the Preludes for piano. He finished orchestrating
Jeux in 1913.  His publisher, Jacques Durand, commissioned an edition of Chopin's works in 1915. The intensive study necessary in this effort inspired Debussy to produce his own piano works. The result was a set of twelve Études for piano.

Dubussy's final work was his Violin Sonata.  It was first performed
May 5, 1917.  Debussy played piano and Gaston Poulet played violin.  It was to be Debussy's last public performance. You can see a video of violinist David Oistrakh performing the first movement of the piece below!

Claude Debussy died March 25, 1918.

Look inside this title
Claude Debussy: Sonata for Violin and Piano - sheet music at
Claude Debussy: Sonata for Violin and Piano with a Preface by Fr. Lesure - for Violin and Piano. By Claude Debussy. Edited by E.-.G. Heinemann. Violin. Pages: Score = VI and 27 * Vl Part = 22. Urtext edition-paper bound. Published by G. Henle. (410)
See more info...
Violin Sonatas -- Debussy and others
Look inside this title
Mariachi Violin Transcriptions - sheet music at
Mariachi Violin Transcriptions Arranged by Laura Sobrino. For Violin. Solos. Mariachi. Level: Beginning-Intermediate. Book. 80 pages. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
See more info...
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo All Year Round!
Joshua Bell--West Side Story Suite
Joshua Bell Plays
West Side Story Suite
Great Show Tunes arranged for violin!
Good Collection of Violin Sonatas Including Debussy
Viva Cinco de Mayo -- Mariachi Violin Sheet Music
Mariachi Button
Kid's Mariachi Shirt