Today in 1960 an album titled Drums of Passion was released by Columbia Records. It is widely held as the first so-called “world music” recording, and certainly the first commercially successful recording of traditional African Music in the United States of America. On today's "A Day in the Life," we learn how the album came to be and about the central figure behind the effort, Babatunde Olantunji.
On this day in 1963, construction began on the Gateway Arch — that defining landmark of the city of St. Louis and the iconic portal to the western United States. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we consider "Arch Music for St. Louis", a 1997 piece by Dutch composer Peter Schat. We also explore the musical arches of Béla Bartók and Jewel.
Today in 1924, bandleader Paul Whiteman presented his “Experiment in Modern Music” at Aeolian Hall in New York City. This is the concert where George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue made its debut. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the modern music that Whiteman experimented with that evening.
Today in 1973, pianist, composer, and author Ethan Iverson was born in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Iverson makes up one third of The Bad Plus, a jazz slash avant-garde slash power trio ensemble—known widely for its dynamic covers of jazz, popular, and classical selections. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore some of The Bad Plus's interpretations of iconic works.
On this day in 1996, the computer Deep Blue stunned chess master Gary Kasparov by beating him in the opening game of their six-game match. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we contemplate the music of the game of kings and explore the nonhuman works of the computer composer Emily Howell.
It was on this day in 2004 that American hip hop artist Kanye West released his first album The College Dropout. On today's "A Day in the Life," not only will you learn which college Kanye dropped out of, you'll also walk away with an understanding of Jay-Z's role in Kanye's early career. We'll have a listen to Izzo, Slow Jamz, The Wire and more.
A teaser for our upcoming episode with banjo superstars Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Coming soon to a radio or podcast near you!
Today in 1937, the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók debuted selections from Mikrokosmos at a concert for the International Society for Contemporary Music in London. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we explore Bartók's pedagogical musical endeavor.
It was on this day in 1964 that the British rock and roll band, The Beatles made their American television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. On today's "A Day in the Life," we separate fact from fiction, hear how Ringo found America, and learn which daughters of famous Americans attended the show.
Today in 1932, American composer, conductor, and pianist John Williams was born in Floral Park, New York. On today's "A Day in the Life," we examine the career of the creator of some of the most iconic musical scores in the history of cinema.
It was on this day in 1973, one week after the release of his first album, that Bruce Springsteen played a show at Villanova University to a crowd of 25 people. On today's "A Day in the Life," not only will you learn why there were only 25 people there, but you'll also be immersed in the history of those small and iconic concerts at which a multitude of people claim to have been present, when, in fact, they probably weren't.
Today in 1704, a disturbance was caused at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, when someone began to hiss and throw oranges at Italian soprano, Margherita de L’Épine as she took to the stage. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we explore the rivalry between two of the period's greatest sopranos.
Today in 1924, in Carnegie Hall, the ultramodernist composer and pianist Henry Cowell had his New York debut. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we learn about Cowell's unique technique in eliciting sounds from the piano and explore his notable works.
Today in 1972, David Bowie entered the Trident studios in London’s Soho district to record a last-minute addition to the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. That song was Starman. On today's "A Day in the Life," we examine the meaning of the song and identify its surprising sonic brethren.
It was on this day in 1945 that English pianist Marian Turner became Marian McPartland when she wed American cornetist Jimmy McPartland in Germany. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the long and fruitful career of Marian McPartland from her days playing USO shows in World War II, to her long running NPR program, "Piano Jazz".
Today in 1978, the American rock and roll outfit, Van Halen, signed with Warner Brothers records. On today's "A Day in the Life," we turn our attention to the early days of the band and learn why they changed their name from "Mammoth".
It was on this day in 2012 the orchestral work, "Alternative Energy," by Mason Bates had its world premiere with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Bates is one of America's most performed composers and he's also DJ. On today's "A Classical Day in the life," we explore "Alternative Energy" and the nontraditional sonic elements entwined within the work.
Today in 1902, American poet, social activist, novelist, and lyricist James Mercer Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri. On today's "A Day in the Life," we examine Hughes's legacy as a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance.
Today in 1861, Kansas became the 34th state of the union. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the music of Kansas, from the homestead to the Moondog.
On this day in 1972, in Atlanta, the African American composer Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha had its first staged performance. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," learn why it took more than a half a century after Joplin's death to first perform his only surviving opera.
It was on this day in 1941 that Osborne Ruddock, also known as King Tubby was born in Kingston Jamaica. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore King Tubby's career from his days as a radio pirate to his innovative take on reggae that would become known as dub.
On this day in 1823, Edouard Lalo, one of the major voices in late-19th-century French composition, was born. We explore the music of Lalo and compare it with that of another famous composer who was also born on this day in 1756, find out the identity of the other January 27th birthday boy on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."
It was on this day in 1972 that the "Queen of Gospel," Mahalia Jackson died. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the life and career of one of the world's most influential gospel singers and civil rights activists. Find out what Jackson said to Martin Luther King, Jr. during his famous "Dream" speech at the March on Washington that caused King to improvise a section of the speech and thus transforming it into the "Dream" speech.
Today in 1934, vocalist Mabel Scott sang at the opening of the Apollo theater in Harlem. On today's "A Day in the Life," we track the beginnings of Scott's career and the beginnings of one of America's most legendary performance venues.
It was on this day in 1759 that Scottish poet and lyricist, Robert Burns was born. This is also the day that people around the world celebrate "the immortal memory" of the Bard of Ayrshire at Burns Suppers where pipes are blown, haggis is cut, toasts are made, verse is read and songs are sung.