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
September 29
1739 - Handel finished Concerto Grosso in G, Op. 6, no. 1 in London.

1746 - Ernst Ludwig Gerber, German lexicographer, organist, and writer, was born.

1789 - Mozart completed Clarinet Quintet, K. 581, written for clarinetist Anton Stadler, who gave its first performance in December, 1789.

1800 - William Billings, US composer (Rose of Sharon), died at 53.

1893 - Birth of Russian-American double bass player Fabien Sevitzky. Conducted Indianapolis Symphony, Philadelphia Chamber String Simfonietta.

1918 - First performance of Gustav Holst's The Planets in Queen's Hall, London.

1947 - Dizzy Gillespie presented his first Carnegie Hall concert in New York.

1949 - Eric Funk, US composer, was born in Deer Lodge, MT.

1955 - Steve Perillo, US composer, was born in New York City.

1977 - Alexander, Tcherepnin, Russian composer, died.

1983 -First performance of Witold Lutoslawski's Symphony No. 3, in Chicago.

1994 - Michael Jackson's album Thriller was certified 24 times Platinum.

2000 - First performance of Tan Dun's Crouching Tiger Concerto by the London Sinfonietta at the Barbican Festival in London. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon soundtrack.

Did You Guess?
A lexicographer is a person who puts together a dictionary.  Ernst Ludwig Gerber compiled a music dictionary.
Can You Guess?
Lexicographer Ernst Ludwig Gerber was born in 1746.  Can You Guess what a lexicographer does? (No fair using your dictionary!  Oops, was that a hint?)

Go to the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.

What Else
Jean-Luc Ponty was born September 29, 1942, in France.  His father taught violin.  His mother taught piano.  He learned both violin and clarinet from his father.  Ponty was admitted to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris at age 16.  Two years later he graduated with the Premier Prix, the school's highest award.  Ponty was immediately hired by one of the major symphony orchestras, Concerts Lamoureux.
While still a member of the orchestra, Ponty began playing clarinet with a jazz band that performed at local parties. Ponty's interest in jazz grew, expecially the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane.  He took up the tenor saxophone.  But ponty really wanted to play his main instrument, the violin, in a jazz setting.

Three years after being hired by Concerts Lamoureux, Ponty took a chance and left the orchestra to work full-time in the field of jazz.

At first, the violin was a handicap.  Almost nobody felt that the violin had a place in jazz.  Ponty listened, particularly to the powerful sound of the horns in jazz bands.  Using them as an example, he tried that sound on his violin.  People were amazed.  Critics said that he was the first jazz violinist to be as exciting as a saxophonist.  At age 22 he released his debut solo album, Jazz Long Playing.  In 1966 he produced a live album with Svend Asmussen, Stephane Grappelli and Stuff Smith.  (We looked at Stuff on September 25.)  The album was called Violin Summit.

In 1967, John Lewis of The Modern Jazz Quartet invited Ponty to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival.  Jean-Luc's first -ever American appearance received thunderous applause.  He signed a U.S. recording contract with World Pacific.  His reputation grew, and he was soon in demand by recording artists worldwide.

In 1969, Frank Zappa composed the music for Jean-Luc's solo album King Kong.  In 1972 he played on Elton John's Honky Chateau album.  The Mothers of Invention invited Ponty to tour with them.  By 1973 Ponty had emigrated to the U.S. with his wife and daughters.  In 1945 he signed on as a solo artist with Atlantic records.

Over the next ten years Ponty recorded a dozen albums, all of which reached the top 5 on the Billboard Jazz charts.  Besides touring with his own group, Ponty performed some of his compositions with the New Music Ensemble of Pittsburgh, the Radio City Orchestra in New York City and several major symphony orchestras.

In 1991, Ponty combined the sounds of his acoutsic and electric violins with the polyrhythmic sounds of West Africa.  He had met several African musicians who had moved to Paris, and decided to collaborate with them.  "There is a whole scene in Paris of top-notch African musicians," Ponty said.  "I was very curious, and wanted to educate myself in these rhythms, which were totally new to my ears.

Since that time Ponty has continued to work, performing and recording with jazz greats, with his African ensemble, and even played duets with Vadim Repin, the young Russian classical violin star.
Jean-Luc Ponty
1942 -
Click Picture to Go to Ponty's Website
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The Very Best of
Jean Luc Ponty

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