January 28

1712 John Stanley – English composer and organist (d.1786); at about the age of 2, he fell on a marble hearth with a china basin in his hand, an accident which left him almost blind; had a remarkable memory which helped him enjoy music-making and card games with his many friends; if he had to accompany a new oratorio he would ask his sister-in-law to play it through just once and that was enough to commit it to memory.

1791 Ferdinand Hérold – French composer (d.1833); best known today for the ballet La fille mal gardée and the overture to the opera Zampa.

1830 premiere of Daniel Auber's opera Fra Diavolo by the Opéra-Comique at the Salle Ventadour in Paris; the composer's greatest success and one of the most popular works of the 19th century; opera historian Hugh Macdonald called it "the most successful work of its kind before Offenbach".

1912 premiere in Paris of the ballet version of Ravel’s Ma mere l’oye (Mother Goose); Ravel wrote the music originally as a piano duet for two very talented children of his friends Ida and Cyprien Godebski in 1910; in 1911, he orchestrated the music and added a prelude, a new opening scene and connecting interludes.

1944 Sir John Tavener – English composer (d.2013); known for his extensive output of religious works including The Protecting Veil, Song for Athene and The Lamb; first came to prominence in 1968 with his dramatic cantata The Whale, based on the Old Testament story of Jonah; it was premiered at the London Sinfonietta's debut concert, which was also the opening concert of Queen Elizabeth Hall; the composer's younger brother, Roger, was then doing some building work on Ringo Starr's home and persuaded the Beatles to have The Whale recorded by Apple Records and released in 1970.

1962 Noriko Ogawa – Japanese pianist (55 years old); has collaborated in a piano duo with British pianist Kathryn Stott since 2001, and teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (Professor of Piano) in London.

1995 first performance of Elinor Armer’s Island Earth (to a text by sci-fi writer Usula Le Guin) at the University of California, Berkeley, by various San Francisco choirs and the Women’s Philharmonic conducted by JoAnn Falletta; on the same program were the premiere performances of Chen Yi’s Antiphony for orchestra and Augusta Read Thomas’s Fantasy for piano and orchestra with soloist Sara Wolfensohn.


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