January 2

1837 Mily Balakirev – Russian pianist, conductor and composer (d.1910); known today primarily for his work promoting musical nationalism and his encouragement of more famous Russian composers, notably Peter Tchaikovsky.

1843 premiere of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, at the Semper Oper in Dresden with the composer conducting; written as a one-act opera but it is most often staged in three acts today.

1905 Sir Michael Tippett – English composer (d. 1998); among his best-known works are the oratorio A Child of Our Time, the orchestral Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli, and the opera The Midsummer Marriage.

1936 Paul Freeman – American conductor and composer (d.7/21/2015); founded the Chicago Sinfonietta; recorded a nine-LP series that follows the history of Black symphonic composers from 1750 to the present day.

1944 Peter Eötvös – Romanian composer, conductor (73 years old); has written at least four operas, including Angels in America; very active as a teacher and a champion of contemporary music.

1950 David Shifrin – American clarinetist, former Cleveland Orchestra principal (67 years old); Professor of Clarinet at Yale University since 1987; commissioned the Pulitzer Prize-winning Clarinet Concerto by Stephen Albert; also helped in the revival of the basset clarinet, so that Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto can often be performed as it was originally written.

1963 Tzimon Barto – American pianist (54 years old); also a bodybuilder, novelist, poet, philosopher and speaks seven languages.

1970 Eric Whitacre – American composer, conductor and speaker (47 years old); known for his choral, orchestral and wind ensemble music; also for his ‘Virtual Choir’ projects, bringing individual voices from around the globe together into an online choir.