February 22

Washington's Birthday               

1817 Niels Gade – Danish composer, conductor, violinist, organist and teacher (d.1890); the most important Danish musician of his day; important influence on a number of later Scandinavian composers, he encouraged and taught both Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen.

1878 first performance of Peter Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, in Moscow, with Nikolai Rubinstein conducting; despite early negative reviews—the New York Post wrote in 1890, “If Tchaikovsky had called his symphony 'A Sleigh Ride Through Siberia' no one would have found this title inappropriate"—the work has become a staple of the orchestral repertoire.

1881 first performance of Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy in Liverpool with the composer conducting and Joseph Joachim as soloist; dedicated to the virtuoso violinist Pablo de Sarasate.

1942 Steven Lubin – American pianist (75 years old); in the 1980’s, organized a period-instrument Mozart orchestra, The Mozartean Players, and presented a series of performances of Mozart piano concertos in major New York halls.

1945 first performance of Virgil Thomson’s Symphony on a Hymn Tune in New York City, with the composer conducting; composed from 1926 to 1928 while Thomson studied with composer Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

1961 Lowell Liebermann – American composer, pianist and conductor (56 years old); his most-recorded works are the Sonata for Flute & Piano (1987), Gargoyles for piano (1989) and Concerto for Flute & Orchestra (1992).

1972 Rolando Villazón – Mexican-born tenor (45 years old); became a French citizen in 2007; made his debut as a stage director with a new production of Werther at the Opéra de Lyon in 2011.