Classical Music Timeline: 1950s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1950
Gyula Dávid (1913-1977) completed the Viola Concerto

January 6 – Piano Concerto in C♯ minor, FP 146 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

March 1 – Cello Sonata in C major, op. 119 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

April 3 – Kurt Weill (1900-1950) died in New York, New York

May 22Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in London, England

1951
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) completed The Phantom Regiment

April 14English Dances, op. 27 by Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) was first performed in London, England

August 21 – Constant Lambert (1905-1951) died in London, England

October 23 – Symphony No. 3 in B minor by Borys Lyatoshynsky (1895-1968) was first performed in Kyiv, Ukraine

1952
January 26Taras Bulba, ballet in four acts, op. 92 by Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

May 3 – Romance in D♭ major for harmonica and orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in New York, New York

July 13 – Alla Pavlova (1952-) was born in Vinnytsia, Ukraine

October 11 – Symphony No. 7 in C♯ minor, op. 131 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

1953
Heino Eller (1887-1970) completed Five Pieces for String Orchestra

January 14 – Symphony No. 7, “Sinfonia Antartica”, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in Manchester, England

March 5 – Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) died in Moscow, Russia

April 11 – Concerto Grosso No. 2 for string orchestra by Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was first performed in London, England

August 22Soleriana by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

November 13 – String Quartet No. 5 in B♭ major, op. 92 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 17 – Symphony No. 10 in E minor, op. 93 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1954
Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) completed The First Day of Spring

February 12The Stone Flower, ballet, op. 118 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

March 5 – Jack Stamp (1954-) was born in College Park, Maryland

April 3 – Elisabetta Brusa (1954-) was born in Milan, Italy

August 11 – Tarantella for Two Pianos by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 6 – Festive Overture, op. 96 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

1955
January 15From Jewish Folk Poetry, op. 79 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) received its first public performance in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

May 4 – George Enescu (1881-1955) died in Paris, France

October 31 – Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain”, op. 132 by Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) was first performed in Houston, Texas

1956
April 30 – Sextet in B♭ for piano and winds, op. 6 by Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) was first performed in London, England

June 23 – Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) died in Moscow, Russia

August 30 – Aita Donostia (1886-1956) died in Lecároz, Navarre, Spain

September 5 – Piano Concerto No. 4 in B♭ major for the left hand, op. 53 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

October 17 – Symphony No. 4 in C major, op. 54 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

December 1Candide, operetta with music by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), was first performed in New York, New York

December 27Spartacus, ballet by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1957
Lars-Erik Larsson (1908-1986) completed Concertino for Clarinet and String Orchestra, op. 45, no. 3

Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) completed Commonwealth Christmas Overture, op. 64

January 26Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) received its first concert performance in New York, New York

May 10 – Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, op. 102, (Piano Concerto No. 2) by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

June 18 – Sonata for Flute and Piano, FP 164 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Strasbourg, France

September 20 – Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) died in Järvenpää, Finland

September 26West Side Story, musical with music by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), was first performed in New York, New York

October 30 – Symphony No. 11 in G minor, “The Year 1905”, op. 103 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 4 – Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957) died in Grigny, France

November 4 – Elena Kats-Chernin (1957-) was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

November 29 – Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) died in Los Angeles, California

1958
Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966) completed Symphony No. 3 for symphonic band

Alec Wilder (1907-1980) completed Woodwind Quintet No. 3

March 5Fantasía para un gentilhombre, concerto for guitar and orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in San Francisco, California

August 21 – Stevan Hristić (1885-1958) died in Belgrade, Serbia

August 26 – Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) died in London, England

December 4 – Symphonie de danses by Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur (1908-2002) was first performed in Paris, France

1959
Trevor Duncan (1924-2005) completed The Girl from Corsica

Veljo Tormis (1930-2017) completed Overture No. 2

July 15 – Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) died in Portland, Oregon

August 26 – Symphony No. 4 by William Alwyn (1905-1985) was first performed in London, England

August 28 – Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) died in Liestal, Switzerland

November 16The Sound of Music, musical with music by Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) and lyrics by Oscar Hammarstein II (1895-1960) premiered in New York, New York

November 17 – Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) died in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1940s

1960s→

Star-Shy Asteroids

Thanks to Gaia, many star positions (and proper motions) and minor planet positions (orbits) have improved so much that those of us who try to observe stellar occultations by minor planets have recently seen a vast improvement in our likelihood of success. These occultation events are an excellent way to discover minor planet satellites as well as double stars. At the very least, they provide highly accurate minor planet astrometric positions that lead to more accurate orbits, and if several observers record an event, the size and shape of the minor planet can be more accurately determined.

Perhaps surprisingly, a number of low-numbered (and thus generally larger) minor planets have never been observed to occult a star. Here are the ten lowest-numbered minor planets still awaiting their first-observed stellar occultation event.

To predict future stellar occultation events for any given minor planet (and so much more!), use the latest version of Occult – Occultation Prediction Software by David Herald.

Last Updated: June 17, 2024

157 Dejanira
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 19.959 ± 2.476 km.
Discovered 1875 Dec 1 by A. Borrelly at Marseilles.
Named for the second wife Dejanira (Greek: Deianeira) of Heracles; Megara was the first. She unwittingly killed Heracles by sending him a garment steeped in the poisoned blood of the centaur Nessus. This garment, Nessus has said, had power to reclaim a husband from unlawful loves.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/157_Dejanira

180 Garumna
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 23.440 ± 0.414 km.
Discovered 1878 Jan 29 by J. Perrotin at Toulouse.
Named for the Garonne river on which the city of discovery is situated. Garumna is the ancient name.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/180_Garumna

183 Istria
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 32.927 ± 0.168 km.
Discovered 1878 Feb 8 by J. Palisa at Pola.
Named for the {now Croatian} peninsula at the northern end of the Adriatic sea, containing Trieste and the city of discovery. Named by Vice-Admiral B. Freiherr von Wüllerstorf who was the commander of the first Austrian circumnavigatory adventure with the frigate Novara.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/183_Istria

228 Agathe
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 9.30 ± 0.8 km.
Discovered 1882 Aug 19 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
Named in honor of the youngest daughter of Theodor von Oppolzer (1841-1886), professor of astronomy in Vienna.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/228_Agathe

244 Sita
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 11.077 ± 0.022 km.
Discovered 1884 Oct 14 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
Named possibly for the wife of Rama in the Sanskrit epic The Ramayana. It is a symbol of the ideal spouse and of everlasting faith.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/244_Sita

262 Valda
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 14.645 ± 0.141 km.
Discovered 1886 Nov 3 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
Any reference of this name to a person or occurrence is unknown. Name proposed by the Baroness Bettina von Rothschild.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/262_Valda

263 Dresda
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 23.952 ± 0.213 km.
Discovered 1886 Nov 3 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
The planet is named to honor the German city of Dresden.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/263_Dresda

281 Lucretia
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 11.036 ± 0.145 km.
Discovered 1888 Oct 31 by J. Palisa at Vienna.
Named in honor of Lucretia Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), sister of the discoverer (1781) of Uranus, Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), whom she assisted, beginning in 1772. She independently discovered seven or eight comets. After her brother’s death, she returned from England to Hannover, Germany and constructed a catalogue of the nebulae and clusters discovered by him. She received the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1828.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/281_Lucretia

282 Clorinde
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 39.03 ± 1.0 km.
Discovered 1889 Jan 28 by A. Charlois at Nice.
Named probably after the heroine of the epic poem Jerusalem Delivered by the Italian writer Torquato Tasso (1544-1595).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/282_Clorinde

288 Glauke
Main-belt Asteroid. Diameter 28.981 ± 0.571 km.
Discovered 1890 Feb 20 by R. Luther at Düsseldorf.
Named for the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth, whom Jason planned to marry. Glauke is also the name of one of the Danaides and of one of the Nereides.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/288_Glauke

References
Schmadel, Lutz D. 2012. Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. 6th ed. Berlin, Germany: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-29718-2.

Solar System Dynamics. (Downloaded 17 Jun 2024). (Small-Body Database Lookup). https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov