Composers Datebook®

Terence Blanchard's birthday

Composers Datebook - March 13, 2024


Today’s date in 1962 marks the birthday in New Orleans of Terence Blanchard, American jazz trumpeter, composer and educator.

“I come from a family of musicians,” Blanchard says. “My father was an opera singer, my mother played piano and taught voice, my grandfather played the guitar. What I wanted was to be a jazz musician, have a band, travel and create music.”

Well, he got his wish! Blanchard started piano at 5 and trumpet at 8, playing music with childhood friends Wynton and Branford Marsalis at summer music camps and studied composition with their father, Ellis Marsalis. In 1980, while still in his teens, Blanchard began performing with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and later Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

In the 1990s, Blanchard started writing film and TV scores and has composed more than 40 of them to date. In 2019, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his music for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.

He holds major teaching positions and tours with his quintet, the E-Collective. In 2021, his opera Fire Shut Up in My Bones was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera.

Music Played in Today's Program

Terence Blanchard (b. 1962): ‘Ron’s Theme,’ from BlacKkKlansman Suite; the E-Collective, with a 96-piece orchestra Back Lot Music CD 779

On This Day


  • 1700 - French composer and flutist Michel Blavet, in Besançon;

  • 1860 - Austrian composer and music critic Hugo Wolf, in Windisch-Graz;


  • 1842 - Italian-born composer Luigi Cherubini, age 81, in Paris;


  • 1744 - Handel: oratorio Joseph and his Brethren (Julian dater: March 2);

  • 1797 - Cherubini: opera Médée (Medea), in Paris;

  • 1845 - Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in e, Op. 64, by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Niels Gade, with Ferdinand David the soloist;

  • 1861 - Wagner: opera Tannhäuser (Paris version), at the Théâtre Imperial de l'Opéra;

  • 1947 - Messiaen: Hymne for orchestra, by the New York Philharmonic, Leopold Stokowski conducted;

  • 1954 - Schoenberg: (unfinished) opera Moses and Aaron, in a concert performance by the Hamburg Radio; The first staged performance took place in Zürich, Switzerland, on June 6, 1957);

  • 1964 - Ernst Toch: Symphony No. 5 (Jeptha - Rhapsodic Poem), in Boston;

  • 1976 - Babbitt: Concerti for Violin, Small Orchestra and Tape, in New York City;

  • 1986 - George Rochberg: Symphony No. 5 (Commissioned for the sesquicentennial celebration of the city of Chicago), by the Chicago Symphony, with Sir Georg Solti conducting;

  • 1992 - Peter Maxwell Davies: Strathclyde Concerto No. 5 for violin, viola and strings, at Glasgow's City Hall, by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by the composer, with soloists James Clarke and Catherine Marwood;

  • 1998 - Mark Adamo: opera Little Women at Houston Opera Studio, with Christopher Larkin conducting;


  • 1970 - George Crumb completes his Black Angels for electric string quartet, percussion and water-tuned musical glasses; The score is inscribed: "finished on Friday the Thirteenth, March 1970 in tempore belli" (in time of war).

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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.

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