Composers Datebook®

Missy Mazzoli

Composers Datebook - 20231201


On today’s date in 2006, the Minnesota Orchestra did something quite unusual: It gave a public concert consisting of nine works that had never been performed by a major orchestra, all written by young composers at the start of their careers. The new pieces had been workshopped and rehearsed the previous week as part of the orchestra’s annual Composers Institute for promising new works by promising new composers. The public concert was billed as “Future Classics,” suggesting that although the pieces were new, they would have staying power.

One of the works on the program that chilly December night in Minneapolis was selected as the audience’s favorite. It also has gone on to be programmed again by not only the Minnesota Orchestra, but others around the world. The work was by a Pennsylvania-born composer named Missy Mazzoli, titled These Worlds In Us. Dedicated to her father, it ruminates on his service in the Vietnam War. 

Blogging after its 2006 performance in Minneapolis, Mazzoli wrote: “Participating in the [Composer] Institute was the single most important thing I have ever done as a composer, not only for the performance but also for the long love affair with the orchestra this week has inspired.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Missy Mizzoli (b. 1980) – These Worlds in Us (Arctic Philharmonic; Tim Weiss, cond.) Bis 2572

On This Day


  • 1709 - German composer Franz Xaver Richter, probably in Holleschau, Moravia;

  • 1823 - French opera composer Ernest (Louise-Etienne-Ernest) Reyer, in Marseilles; An ardent admirer of Wagner, Ernest Reyer added a Germanic "-er" to his real last name "Rey"; His most famous opera is "Sigurd"(1884), a retelling of the Siegfried story familiar from Wagner's "Ring" cycle, but set in the style of a French grand opera;

  • 1847 - Norwegian composer and pianist Agathe Backer-Grondahl, in Holmestrand;


  • 1707 - British composer and organist Jeremiah Clarke, age c. 33, commits suicide in London, supposedly after an unhappy love affair; This date is according to the Julian "Old Style" calendar still in use in England that year (Gregorian date: Dec. 12);

  • 1950 - Anglo-Irish composer Ernest John Moeran, age 55, near Kenmare, Ireland;


  • 1832 - Mendelssohn: Overture, "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage," in Berlin;

  • 1902 - Nielsen: Symphony No. 2 ("The Four Temperaments") in Copenhagen;

  • 1924 - Gershwin: musical "Lady, Be Good," at the Liberty Theater in New York City; This show featured Fred and Adele Astaire and included the classic Gershwin songs "Fascinating Rhythm," "Oh, Lady Be Good," and "The Half of It, Dearie, Blues";

  • 1934 - Ravel: "Don Quichotte à Dulcinée," his last work, in Paris at a Colonne Concert;

  • 1935 - Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2, by the Madrid Symphony, with the Spanish conductor Enrique Fernández Arbós and the French violinist Robert Soëtens;

  • 1937 - Vaughan Williams: one-act opera "Riders to the Sea," in London;

  • 1944 - Bartók: "Concerto for Orchestra," by the Boston Symphony, Serge Koussevitzky conducting; Bartók composed a revised and more dramatic ending for this work this work soon after the Boston premiere (The original ending heard at the premiere was judged too perfunctory and abrupt);

  • 1944 - Gruenberg: Violin Concerto, Op. 47, by violinist Jascha Heifetz, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy conducting;

  • 1951 - Britten: opera, "Billy Budd" (libretto by E.M. Forester, after Hermann Melville), in London, at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, with the composer conducting;

  • 1956 - Bernstein: musical "Candide" (original version) at Martin Beck Theater in New York City; A trial run opened at the Colonial Theater in Boston on October 29, 1956; Bernstein revised the work in 1973 (Chelsea Theater version), 1982 (New York City Opera version), 1988 ("opera house" version), and 1989 ("concert version" with narrator);

  • 1957 - Stravinsky: ballet "Agon," at the New York City Ballet, choreographed by Georges Balanchine; The first concert performance of Stravinsky's ballet score occurred on June 17, 1957, at a 75th birthday concert for Stravinsky in Los Angeles conducted by Robert Craft;

  • 1977 - Lukas Foss: "American Cantata," in New York City;


  • 1736 - J.S. Bach gives an organ recital at the Frauenkirche in Dresden;

  • 1822 - The 11 year-old pianist Franz Liszt performs for the first time in Vienna at that city's town hall; His first public appearance ever had occurred in October of 1820, in Oedenberg, when he was 9 years old;

  • 1859 - The French Opera House opens in New Orleans with Rossini's "William Tell";

  • 1886 - Wagner's opera "Tristan und Isolde" receives its American premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, with Wagner's protégé, Anton Seidl, conducting;

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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®