Composers Datebook®

Seeing things at Wagner's Parsifal


Music Played in Today's Program

Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883) Act I excerpt, fr Parsifal Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; James Levine, cond. DG 437 501

On This Day


  • 1782 - Irish composer and pianist John Field, in Dublin

  • 1791 - Austrian composer and pianist Franz Xaver Mozart in Vienna; He was the sixth child and youngest surviving son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (who died in December of 1791 when Franz Xaver was less than a year old); Franz Xaver studied with Hummel and Salieri, among others

  • 1856 - British dramatist and music critic George Bernard Shaw, in Dublin

  • 1866 - Italian composer opera Francesco Cilea, in Palmi, Calabria

  • 1874 - Russian-born American double-bass player, conductor and new music patron, Serge Koussevitzky, in Vishny-Volochok (Julian date: July 14) ; He was engaged as the permanent conductor of the Boston Symphony, a post he held for 25 years

  • 1876 - American composer, conductor and pianist Ernest Schelling, in Belvidere, N.J.

  • 1949 - South African-born Irish composer Kevin Volans, in Pietermaritsburg


  • 1882 - Wagner: opera "Parsifal," in Bayreuth at the Festpielhaus, Herrmann Levi conducting

  • 1940 - Henry Cowell: "Pastoral and Fiddler's Delight," by the All-American Youth Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski conducting

  • 1985 - Elliott Carter: "Penthode" at London's Royal Albert Hall, with the Ensemble InterContemporain and the Paris Orchestral Ensemble conducted by Pierre Boulez

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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®