January 17

1706 Benjamin Franklin – inventor of the ‘armonica’ (set of tuned glasses), amateur composer and Founding Father of the United States (d.1790); a fine musician who was very knowledgeable in history, theory, and harmony; attended many concerts in his lifetime including the last concert of Messiah conducted by Handel just eight days before the death of the composer.

1734 François-Joseph Gossec – Dutch-born French composer of operas, string quartets, symphonies, and choral works (d.1829); his 90-minute Requiem (1760) made him famous overnight; most would have difficulty recognizing his Gavotte by its title, but the melody itself is famous thanks to Carl Stalling’s use of an arrangement of it in several Warner Brothers cartoons.

1738 death of Jean François Dandrieu – French composer, harpsichordist and organist (age c. 56); gave his first public performances when he was 5 years old, playing the harpsichord for King Louis XIV.

1907 Henk Badings – Dutch composer (d.1987); born in Bandung, Java; used unusual musical scales and harmonies (e.g., the octatonic scale); also used the harmonic series scale from the 8th to the 15th overtone; he was prolific artist, producing over a thousand pieces.

1927 Donald Erb – Youngstown-born composer (d.2008); long-time faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music and co-founder of the Cleveland Composers Guild; back in the mid-1980s he read a press report of WCLV co-founder Robert Conrad’s assertion that most contemporary music was akin to composers speaking in Swahili, a language unknown to most radio listeners; Mr. Erb created a mockup bumper sticker which read “WCLV is Dull” in Swahili; Mr. Conrad's comment? "You didn't include the frequency!"

1948 Anne Queffélec – French pianist (69 years old); daughter of Henri Queffélec and sister of Yann Queffélec, both noted writers.

1949 Augustin Dumay – French violinist and conductor (68 years old); principal conductor of the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie with which he travels throughout Europe.

1957 Nancy Argenta – Canadian soprano (60 years old); best known for performing music from the pre-classical era.

1959 Fabio Luisi – Italian conductor (59 years old); currently general music director of the Zurich Opera and principal conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. 

1991 first performance of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Oboe Concerto, by soloist John Mack and the Cleveland Orchestra, Christoph von Dohnányi conducting.


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