Composers Datebook®

Dahl's "Sinfonietta"

Ingolf Dahl (1912 - 1970) — Sinfonietta (DePaul University Wind Ensemble; Donald DeRoche, cond.) Albany 435

Composer's Datebook - January 12, 2022


download audio

January 12, 2022


On today’s date in 1961, a new work by the German-born American composer Ingolf Dahl received its premiere performance in Los Angeles. Entitled “Sinfonietta for Concert Band,” it was commissioned by the College Band Directors National Association, who were eager to expand band repertory with major new works of the highest quality.

Dahl had emigrated to the United States in 1938 and settled in Los Angeles, where he met and befriended Igor Stravinsky, who gave him some practical advice about composing for wind band: “You must approach this task as if it had always been your greatest wish to write for these instruments,” suggested Stravinsky, “as if all your life you had wanted to write a work for just such a group."

“This was good advice,” recalled Dahl. “[And] after the work was done that it turned out to be indeed the piece that I had wanted to write all my life. I wanted it to be a substantial piece that, without apologies for its medium, would take its place alongside symphonic works of any other kind.”

Dahl and the College Band Directors National Association must have been pleased to see their “Sinfonietta” rapidly become an established classic of the wind band repertory.

Music Played in Today's Program

Ingolf Dahl (1912 - 1970) — Sinfonietta (DePaul University Wind Ensemble; Donald DeRoche, cond.) Albany 435

On This Day


  • 1715 - French composer Jacques Duphly, in Rouen;

  • 1876 - Italian opera composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, in Venice;

  • 1921 - American composer and pianist Leo Smit, in Philadelphia;

  • 1926 - American composer Morton Feldman, in New York City;

  • 1927 - American composer Salvatore Martirano, in Yonkers, N.Y.;


  • 1674 - Italian composer Giacomo Carissimi, age 68, in Rome;

  • 1958 - American composer Arthur Shepherd, age 77, in Cleveland;


  • 1723 - Handel: opera "Ottone, re di Germania" (Otto, King of the Germans), in London at the King's Theater in the Haymarket, with the debut London performance of the Italian soprano Francesca Cuzzoni in a work by Handel (Gregorian date: Jan. 23); It was during a rehearsal of this opera with Cuzzoni in late Dec. of 1722 that the famous incident between Handel and Cuzzoni took place during which the composer supposedly said “Madam, I know you are a veritable devil, but I would have you know that I am Beelzebub, the chief of the devils!”;

  • 1864 - Brahms: "Variations on a Theme by R. Schumann," Op. 23 for piano four-hands, in Vienna;

  • 1883 - Chadwick: “Thalia” Overture, by the Boston Symphony, with the composer conducting;

  • 1885 - Tchaikovsky: Orchestral Suite No. 3, in St. Petersburg (Gregorian date: Jan. 24);

  • 1894 - Dvorák: String Quintet in Eb, Op. 97 (“American”), in New York, by the Kneisel Quartet (and violist M Zach);

  • 1918 - George Templeton Strong, Jr.: tone-poem “Le Roi Arthur” (King Arthur), in Geneva, Switzerland, with Ernest Ansermet conducting the orchestra which would be named the Orchestra of the Suisse Romande ater that same year;

  • 1934 - Bloch: "Sacred Service," in Turin, Italy;

  • 1942 - Miaskovsky: Symphony No. 22 in Tbilisi;

  • 1964 - Cowell: "Concerto Grosso," for chamber orchestra, in Miami Beach by the Miami Symphony Orchestra, Fabien Sevitzky, conducting;

  • 2002 - Athena Adamopoulos: "Soliloquy" for cello and piano, at a "From the Top" recording session for Public Radio International at Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Christopher O'Riley; Ms. Adamopoulos was 15 years old at the time; Their performance was broadcast nationwide in early February, 2002;


  • 1910 - Radio pioneer Lee De Forest experiments with live broadcasting from the Metropolitan Opera in New York; The signal was relayed from a rooftop transmitter at the Met to wireless installations, then by land lines to telephone receivers, and reportedly reached a few hundred listeners as far away as Newark, New Jersey; These were the first occasions on which a Met performance was heard live by audiences not present at the actual performance; De Forest’s 1910 “broadcasts” included part or all of Acts II and III of the Jan. 12th performance of “Tosca” (with soprano Olive Fremstad in the title role) and the following day’s double-bill of “Cavalleria Rusticana” (with soprano Emmy Destinn as Santuzza) and “Pagliacci”; Riccardo Martin sang the lead tenor roles in “Tosca” and “Cavalleria Rusticana,” Enrico Caruso in the “Pagliacci” performance; The first in the continuing series of complete live radio broadcasts from Met occurred on Christmas Day in 1931, when “Hansel and Gretel” was aired on the NBC network.