January 7

1857 first performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in Weimar, with the composer conducting and as soloist, his pupil Hans von Bronsart, to whom it was dedicated; drafts of this work had been sketched in 1839 and 1840, but Liszt revised the manuscript repeatedly, not really completing it until 1861.

1899 Francis Poulenc – French composer and pianist (d. 1963); his early works are marked by high spirits and irreverence, but a much more serious side to his nature emerged, particularly in the religious music he composed from 1936 onwards; pianist Pascal Rogé commented in 1999 that both sides of Poulenc's musical nature were equally important: "You must accept him as a whole. If you take away either part, the serious or the non-serious, you destroy him. If one part is erased you get only a pale photocopy of what he really is."

1917 Ulysses Kay – American composer (d. 1995); nephew of the classic jazz musician King Oliver; the last of his five operas, Frederick Douglass, was mounted in April 1991 at the New Jersey State Opera.

1941 first performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy, to whom the work is dedicated.

1943 Richard Armstrong – English conductor (74 years old); noted opera conductor, working early in his career at Covent Garden and from 1993 to 2005, was Music Director of Scottish Opera.

1955 first performance of Bohuslav Martinu’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Fantaisies symphoniques’ by the Boston Symphony, with Charles Munch conducting; written for the 75th anniversary of the Boston Symphony.

1955 Marian Anderson makes her Metropolitan Opera debut as Ulrica in Verdi's Un ballo in mascera, the first African-American singer to perform as an opera soloist on the Met stage; subsequent distinguished African-Americans who performed as members of the Met company included Robert McFerrin, Sr. (Bobby McFerrin Jr.’s father), Leontyne Price, Martina Arroyo, Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman.

1978 Janine Jansen – Dutch violinist and violist (39 years old); quite a musical family: her father and both her brothers are musicians; her mother is a classical singer and is a sister of the bass Peter Kooy.


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