February 3

1525 Giovanni Palestrina –  Italian composer (d. 1594); exact birthday unknown but he was probably born between February 3, 1525 and February 2, 1526; had a lasting influence on the development of church music, and his work is regarded as the culmination of Renaissance polyphony.

1809 Felix Mendelssohn [full name: Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy] – German composer, pianist, organist and conductor (d. 1847); recognized early as a musical prodigy, but his parents did not try to capitalize on his talent; enjoyed early success in Germany, where he also revived interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach; was very well received in Britain as a composer, conductor and soloist; his conservative musical tastes set him apart from many of his more adventurous musical contemporaries, and the Leipzig Conservatory (now the University of Music and Theatre Leipzig), which he founded, became a bastion of this anti-radical outlook.

1823 premiere of Gioacchino Rossini's Semiramide at La Fenice in Venice; his final Italian opera.

1844 first performance of Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, in Paris at the Salle Herz, with the composer conducting; made up of material from Berlioz's opera Benvenuto Cellini, including some music from the opera's carnival scene; features a prominent solo for the English horn.

1867 first performance of Brahms’s String Sextet No. 2 in Vienna, by the Hellmesberger Sextet; according to Brahms' biographer Karl Geiringer, the first movement contains a thematic reference to the first name of Agathe von Siebold (with whom Brahms was infatuated at the time).

1881 Henry Fillmore – American musician, composer, publisher, and bandmaster (d. 1956); best known for his many marches and ‘screamers’ (upbeat marches intended to stir up the audience during a circus).

1904 Luigi Dallapiccola – Italian composer (d.1975); known for his lyrical twelve-tone compositions; the politically charged Canti di prigionia (1941) for chorus and ensemble is his best-known work.

1910 Blas Galindo Dimas – Mexican composer and teacher (d. 1993); best known for Sones de mariachi (1940).

1911 Jehan Alain – French composer and organist (d.1940); died in action, aged 29, early in WW II; the compositions from his too-brief career are viewed by many as among the most original of the 20th century.

1945 premiere of Stravinsky’s Scènes de ballet in New York City by the New York Philharmonic conducted by the composer; commissioned by Broadway impresario Billy Rose for a 1944 revue titled The Seven Lively Arts.

1974 Laura Mikkola – Finnish pianist (44 years old); well known for her recordings of Einojuhani Rautavaara's Piano Concertos and piano works for Naxos Records.

1989 first performance of Michael Torke’s Ash by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, John Adams conducting; made into a ballet with choreography Peter Martins in 1991.

2002 first performance of Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Plutonian Ode’ at Carnegie Hall by the American Composers Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies; commissioned by the Brucknerhaus, Linz, and Carnegie Hall in celebration of Glass's 65th birthday.


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