January 4

1710 Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (born Giovanni Battista Draghi) – Italian composer, violinist and organist (d.1736 at the age of 26); one of the most important early composers of opera buffa.

1874 Josef Suk – Czech composer and violinist (d. 1935); son-in-law of Antonin Dvorák (who was his most influential teacher) and grandfather of violinist Josef Suk (1929-2011).

1881 first performance of Johannes Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture at a special convocation held by Breslau University with the composer conducting.

1937 Grace Bumbry – American mezzo-soprano (80 years old); one of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation; her advice to young singers: "To strive for excellence, that's the answer. If you strive for excellence, that means that you are determined. You will find a way to get to your goal, even if it means having to turn down some really great offers. You have to live with that, as you have to live with yourself."

1970 Paul Watkins – Welsh cellist (47 years old); joined the Emerson String Quartet in the 2013-14 season, replacing the departed David Finckel.


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