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

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