February 5

1810 Ole Bull – Norwegian composer and violinist (d.1880); very popular in the United States; in 1852, he purchased a large tract of land in Pennsylvania and founded a colony he called ‘New Norway’, commonly referred to as the Ole Bull Colony.

1868 Lodewijk Mortelmans – Belgian conductor and composer (d. 1952); sometimes called ‘the Flemish Brahms’; composed in a number of forms, including piano music and orchestral works, but he was most celebrated in his day for his art songs; his opera De Kinderen van Zee (The Children of the Sea) was first produced in 1920 at the Flemish Opera.

1887 premiere of Giuseppe Verdi's Otello at La Scala in Milan with composer conducting (and cellist Arturo Toscanini in the orchestra); Verdi’s first opera since Aïda in 1871 and a resounding success, due in no small part to the expert libretto by Arrigo Boïto. 

1909 Grazyna Bacewicz – Polish composer and violinist (d.1969); only the second Polish female composer to have achieved national and international recognition, the first being Maria Szymanowska in the early 19th century.

1970 first performance of Elliott Carter’s Concerto for Orchestra by the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein conducting; the work—the most complex of Carter’s output—was dedicated to the Philharmonic and Bernstein.


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