Composers Datebook®

Hovhaness and the world's biggest vocal soloist


Music Played in Today's Program

Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) And God Created Great Whales Seattle Symphony; Gerard Schwarz, cond. Delos 3157

On This Day


  • 1864 - German composer and conductor Richard Strauss, in Munich;

  • 1899 - American composer George Frederick McKay, in Harrington, Wash.;

  • 1926 - American opera composer Carlisle Floyd, in Latta, S.C.;


  • 1913 - Pizetti: incidental music for "La Pisanella," in Paris;

  • 1921 - Honegger: cantata "Le Roi David" (King David), in Mézières;

  • 1925 - Honegger: opera "Judith" (1st version), at the Théatre du Jorat in Mézières im Waadt;

  • 1960 - Britten: opera "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in Aldeburgh at the Jubilee Hall;

  • 1960 - Stockhausen: "Kontakte" for electronic instruments, piano and percussion, in Cologne;

  • 1970 - Hovhaness: "And God Created Great Whales" for taped song of humpback whales and orchestra, at a New York Philharmonic Promenade concert conducted by André Kostelanetz;

  • 1987 - Michael Torke: ballet "Purple," at the New York State Theater, by the New York City Ballet Orchestra, Lukas Foss conducting.


  • 1931 - Nicholas Slonimsky conducts in Paris the second of two concerts (both financed by Charles Ives) devoted to new music; The June 11 program includes works for chamber orchestra by the Spanish-Cuban composer Pedro Sanjuan ("Sones de Castilla"), Mexican Carlos Chaves ("Energia"), Franco-American Carlos Salzedo ("Preamble et Jeux"). Cuban Alejandro Caturla ("Bembe"), American Wallingford Riegger ("Three Canons"), and Franco-American Edgard Varese ("Integrales"); See also June 6, 1931.

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About Composers Datebook®

Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.

He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.

About Composers Datebook®