Composers Datebook®

Lowell Liebermann

Composers Datebook - Feb. 22, 2024


In recounting the life story of many composers, it’s a familiar and perhaps romantic cliché that their work will be — as a matter of course — not appreciated by their contemporaries, and that the composer in question will have to toil for years in obscurity before his or her music is appreciated by performers and audiences.

In reality, we’re happy to report, that isn’t always the case.

Consider, for example, American composer Lowell Liebermann, who was born in New York on today’s date in 1961. When he was 16, his Piano Sonata No. 1 premiered at Carnegie Hall, resulting in a number of prizes and awards. By his 30s, Liebermann was being commissioned and championed by some of the leading performers of our time.

For James Galway, Liebermann composed a flute concerto, and Liebermann’s two-act opera The Picture of Dorian Gray was the first work the Monte Carlo Opera commissioned from an American composer. In 1998, Liebermann was appointed composer-in-residence with the Dallas Symphony, and that orchestra premiered his Symphony No. 2 in February 2000, and, in a symbolic millennium gesture, simulcast their performance on the new-fangled worldwide web.

Music Played in Today's Program

Lowell Liebermann (b. 1961) Flute Concerto; James Galway, flute; London Mozart Players; Lowell Liebermann, cond. BMG 63235

Symphony No. 2; Dallas Symphony and Chorus; Andrew Litton, cond. Delos 3256

On This Day


  • 1810 - Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin, in Zelazowa Wola (This is the date contained in the composer's baptismal certificate; Chopin himself gave March 1, 1810, as his birthdate);

  • 1817 - Danish composer Niels W. Gade, in Copenhagen;

  • 1961 - American composer Lowell Liebermann, in New York City;


  • 1903 - Austrian composer Hugo Wolf, age 42, in Vienna;


  • 1878 - Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4, in Moscow, with Nikolai Rubinstein conducting (Julian date: Feb. 10);

  • 1881 - Bruch: "Scottish Fantasy," Op. 46, in Liverpool, with the composer conducting and Joseph Joachim as soloist;

  • 1890 - Brahms: Piano Trio No. 1 in Bb, Op. 8 (revised version), in Vienna, at one of the Rosé Chamber Concerts, with the composer at the piano; The first version of this Trio, composed in 1854, received one of its first public performances ever in New York City on November 27, 1855;

  • 1907 - Ravel: "Introduction and Allegro," in Paris;

  • 1938 - Kabalesvky: opera "Colas Breugnon," in Leningrad;

  • 1941 - Paul Creston: Symphony No. 1, in New York City;

  • 1941 - Morton Gould: "Latin American Symphonette," in Brooklyn, N.Y.;

  • 1945 - Virgil Thomson: "Symphony on a Hymn Tune," in New York City, with the composer conducting;

  • 1962 - Benjamin Lees: "Concerto for Orchestra" No. 1, in Rochester, N.Y.

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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®