February 26

1770 Anton Reicha – French composer (d.1836); Czech-born, adopted French citizenship, but a composer of music very much in the German style; wrote the standard text on composition at the Conservatoire de Paris.

1879 Frank Bridge – English composer, violist and conductor (d.1941); mostly remembered for privately tutoring Benjamin Britten, who later championed his teacher's music and paid homage to him in the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge (1937).

1927 first performance of Ottorino Respighi's Church Windows (Vetrate di Chiesa) by the Boston Symphony with Serge Koussevitzky conducting; inspired by four famous stained-glass windows.

1935 first performance of Georges Bizet's Symphony No. 1 in Basle, Switzerland; called No. 1, but it’s his only symphony, written in 1855 when Bizet was a student of Charles Gounod at the Paris Conservatory; according to Grove's Dictionary, the work "reveals an extraordinarily accomplished talent for a 17-year-old student, in melodic invention, thematic handling and orchestration".

1946 first performance of Richard  Strauss’s Oboe Concerto by the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra conducted by Volkmar Andreae, with Marcel Saillet as soloist; the work was prompted by a chance comment made by American oboist—and then U.S. soldier—John de Lancie during a post-war visit with the composer in Bavaria; Strauss offered de Lancie the American premiere, but that honor went instead to oboist Mitch Miller and the Columbia Concert Orchestra in 1948; many years later, de Lancie made a stereo recording of the piece for RCA.   

1949 Emma Kirkby – English soprano (69 years old); one of the world's most renowned early music specialists; appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2007 Queen's Birthday Honors List.

1959 first performance of George Rochberg’s Symphony No. 2 with the Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell conducting; the New York Times called it "…a masterpiece… a powerful and thoroughly original score… it communicates emotion, with technique relegated to minor importance."

1967 Christoph-Mathias Mueller – Peruvian-born conductor (51 years old); grew up in Switzerland; General Music Director of the Göttingen Symphony in Germany.


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