February 15

1571 Michael Praetorius – German composer, organist, and music theorist (d.1621, on his birthday); Praetorius was the conventional Latinized form of his family name, Schultze; he was the greatest musical academic of his day and compiled an encyclopedic record of contemporary musical practices; his Bourrée from the dance compilation Terpsichore (1612) was for many years the theme of WCLV’s First Program.

1847 Robert Fuchs – Austrian composer and music teacher (d.1927); he is not better known because he was not a self-promoter, preferring to live a quiet life in Vienna; Brahms said of him, “Fuchs is a splendid musician, everything is so fine and so skillful, so charmingly invented, that one is always pleased.”

1899 Georges Auric – French composer (d.1983); one of Les Six, the group of artists informally associated with Jean Cocteau and Erik Satie; before turning 20 he had orchestrated and written incidental music for several ballets and stage productions; also had a distinguished career as a film composer, including scores for Moulin Rouge (1952) and Roman Holiday (1953).                

1905 first performance of Alexander Glazunov's Violin Concerto at a Russian Musical Society concert in St. Petersburg, with violinist Leopold Auer, to whom it was dedicated.           

1907 Jean Langlais – French composer, organist and improviser (d.1991); became blind due to glaucoma when he was only two years old; organiste titulaire at the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde, 1945-1988, and was much in demand as a concert organist, touring widely across Europe and the US; prolific composer, best known for his organ music and sacred choral pieces.

1947 John Adams – American composer and conductor (71 years old); his music is usually categorized as minimalist or post-minimalist but he has categorized himself as a 'post-style' composer; won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 9/11 memorial piece, On the Transmigration of Souls.

1947 first performance of Korngold’s Violin Concerto Op 35, by the St. Louis Symphony conducted by Vladimir Golschmann, with soloist Jascha Heifetz; the work received the most enthusiastic ovation in St. Louis concert history.

1949 Christopher Rouse – American composer and teacher (69 years old); his Trombone Concerto was awarded the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Music; notable students include Michael Torke, Nico Muhly, Kamran Ince and Kevin Puts.

 

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