January 14

opera is set in the year 1800; opera scholar Julian Budden comments on Puccini's "inept handling of the political element", but still hails the work as "a triumph of pure theater".

1932 first performance of Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto in G at the Salle Pleyel in Paris by the Lamoureux Orchestra conducted by the composer, with Marguerite Long as soloist; the work is heavily influenced by jazz, which Ravel had encountered on a concert tour of the United States in 1928.

1934 first performance of George Gershwin's 'I Got Rhythm' Variations for piano and orchestra, at Boston's Symphony Hall by the Leo Reisman Orchestra conducted by Charles Previn and the composer as soloist; the piece is dedicated "To my brother Ira".

1943 Mariss Jansons – Latvian-born conductor (74 years old); chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, regularly campaigning for the construction of a new concert hall in Munich; was music director of the Oslo Philharmonic from 1979 to 2000, resigning after disputes with the city over the acoustics of the Oslo Concert Hall.

1956 Ben Heppner – Canadian tenor and broadcaster (61 years old); announced retirement from singing in April 2014; works as a broadcaster on Canadian radio, hosting Saturday Afternoon at the Opera and Backstage with Ben Heppner on the CBC.

1965 Andrew Manze – English violinist and conductor (52 years old); since 2006, Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden.


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