On this day in 1971, Leonard Bernstein's MASS had its premiere in Washington, D.C., at the brand new Kennedy Center for the performing arts. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the tradition of the musical representation of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church and Bernstein's unique take on the form.
Rap pioneer Keith "Cowboy" Wiggins passed away on this day in 1989. How did he help define standard tropes and techniques we associate with the genre, including the term "hip hop" itself? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 2008 the final curtain went down on Rent--the 10th longest running musical in Broadway history. How and why does the theme of "No day but today" run throughout this Pulitzer Prize winning show? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 2008, Scottish composer Thea Musgrave’s Rainbow had its London premiere. Originally composed for the opening of the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow in 1990, this London performance at the BBC Proms was in honor of Musgrave’s 80th birthday year.
It was on this day in 1997 that Princess Diana was buried. At the service Elton John premiered his reworked version of "Candle in the Wind" in honor of the late Princess. On today's "A Day in the Life" we learn how John re-imagined his tribute to Marilyn Monroe as a fitting elegy to "England's Rose".
It was on this day in 1964 that the song "The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. On today's "A Day in the Life", we explore the song's provenance in the blues.
Today in 1932, Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos had its debut at the International Society for Contemporary Music in Venice. Commissioned and dedicated to the Princess Edmond de Polignac, the piece was written in three months over the course of the summer of 1932. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we break down the movements of the concerto and explore some of its surprising influences.
Today in 1838, Queen Lili‘uokalani -- the last royal leader of the Hawaiian Kingdom -- was born. Queen Lili‘u was part of a highly musical family, and she and three siblings became known as the “Royal Fours.” On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the musical legacy of the queen.
Today in 1901 Theodore Roosevelt spoke the famous line "Speak softly and carry a big stick." How has music spoken of Teddy over the course of time? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1897 at 6am, approximately 100 people gathered onto the first train to travel beneath the city of Boston. This subway line was the first in the United States following the establishment of similar systems in London, Glasgow, and Budapest. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore the music inspired by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Today in 1785 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dedicated a set of string quartets to his musical mentor, Joseph Haydn--father of the string quartet. How did Mozart demonstrate his own mastery of the genre through this set of quartets? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1918, Filipino composer Lucrecia Roces Kasilag was born in San Fernando, the capital city of La Union Province on the north-east coast of the island of Luzon. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the composer's use of native Filipino traditions in her neo-classical works.
Today in 1987 Michael Jackson's music video for "Bad" premiered on primetime network television. How were Martin Scorsese, Richard Price, and Wesley Snipes involved? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
On this day in 1992, the Low Symphony by Philip Glass had its premiere in Munich, with Dennis Russel Davies conducting the Young German Chamber Philharmonic. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore Glass's first symphony -- a reconfiguration of songs from the 1977 album Low by David Bowie and Brian Eno.
It was on this day in 1993 that the first episode of The Late Show with David Letterman premiered on CBS. On today's "A Day in the Life" we revisit the rivalry between Leno and Letterman and explore the late night legacy of The Ed Sullivan Theater.
Today in 1952, John Cage’s experimental composition 4-33 had its premiere in Woodstock, New York. Pianist David Tutor gave the first performance--he walked onto the stage, sat down at the piano bench, and began the piece...by closing the keyboard’s lid. Learn what happened next and how the piece was initially received on today's "A Classical Day in the Life".
It was on this day in 1977 that Ronnie Lee Adkins informed Memphis police that he had infiltrated a small group of men who were planning to steal the body of Elvis Presley and then ransom it back to the Presley family. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore the twisty tale in all of its nonsensical glory.
Today in 1846, Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah had its premiere at the Birmingham festival in England. What inspired Mendelssohn to write an oratorio on the Old Testament prophet? Find out on today's "A Classical Day in the Life"
Today in 1968, Jimi Hendrix opened up Electric Lady Studios in New York City's Greenwich Village. What musicians played in this space before and after it became Hendrix's personal space for creativity? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
On this day in 1893, African American musicians performed Western classical music in a concert on Colored American Day at the Chicago World’s Fair. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" learn who performed and the general reception to African American musicianship in the last years of the 19th Century.
It is the birthday of Gene Simmons, born as Chaim Witz on this day in 1949. How did he come to be the long-tongued bassist for KISS? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his final sonata for violin, K. 526 in A Major. It is by far the most technical of his violin sonatas and is characterized by a hard-driving, rhythmic energy emergent from the opening moments of its first movement. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we delve into the sonata and explore its connection to German composer Carl Friedrich Abel.
Today we celebrate the birthday of Leon Theremin--born on this day in 1894--by exploring his singular contribution to the sound world of the 20th century: The Theremin. How did this spy influence The Beach Boys? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
On this day in 1964, the American composer Lou Harrison's Symphony on G had its premiere. That's right - ON G, not IN G. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the symphony and Harrison's playful titling philosophy.
It was on this day in 1912 that triple-threat singer, dancer, and actor Gene Kelly was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Born into a working class family, far from the starry spotlight into which he would eventually step. On today's "A Day in the Life" we explore Kelly's rise to stardom.