Classical Music Timeline: 1940s

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.

1940
Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) completed The Comedians, op. 26

June 11 – Divertimento for string orchestra, Sz. 113 BB 118 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Basel, Switzerland

July 1The Sea Hawk, with film score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), was released

November 9Concierto de Aranjuez, for guitar and orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Barcelona, Spain

November 16 – Violin Concerto in D minor by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

December 3 – Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940) died in Moscow, Russia

December 9 – Sextet for Piano and Winds (1939 revision), FP 100 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Paris, France

December 26 – Symphony No. 4, “Folk Song Symphony”, by Roy Harris (1898-1979) was first performed in Cleveland, Ohio

1941
January 3 – Symphonic Dances, op. 45 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

January 10 – Frank Bridge (1879-1941) died in Eastbourne, England

February 7 – Violin Concerto, op. 14 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

April 17 – Adolphus Hailstork (1941-) was born in Rochester, New York

June 21Masquerade Suite by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

June 26Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell (1904-1977) premiered in the film Dangerous Moonlight

1942
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) completed Song of the Brave, for tenor and piano, op. 89, no. 2

March 5 – Symphony No. 7, “Leningrad”, by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia (Leningrad at the time)

April 16 – Second Essay for Orchestra, op. 17 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

June 11 – Geoffrey Toye (1889-1942) died in London, England

June 18 – Paul McCartney (1942-) was born in Liverpool, England

December 4A Ceremony of Carols, op. 28 by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was first performed (in its final form) in London, England

December 9Gayane, ballet by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Perm, Russia

1943
March 12Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Cincinnati, Ohio

March 28 – Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) died in Beverly Hills, California

June 24 – Symphony No. 5 in D major by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

1944
Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed the orchestration of La Vallée des cloches (”Valley of the Bells”) from Miroirs by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

January 28 – Symphony No. 1, “Jeremiah”, by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was first performed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

April 16Concierto de estío, for violin and orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Lisbon, Portugal

May 7Our Town, music from the film score, by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

May 8 – Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) died in Woking, England

June 7Gran Marcha de los Subsecretarios (“Grand March of the Subsecretaries”), for piano four hands, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

August – Kaljo Raid (1921-2005) completed Symphony No. 1

October 30Appalachian Spring, ballet by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Washington, D.C.

October 31Sebastian, ballet by Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007) was first performed in New York, New York

December 1 – Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116, BB 123 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

December 27 – Amy Beach (1867-1944) died in New York, New York

December 30 – Piano Sonata No. 8 in B♭ major, op. 84 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

1945
Suite from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was arranged by Artur Rodziński (1892-1958)

January 13 – Symphony No. 5 in B♭ major, op. 100 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

April 9Girl No. 217, with film score by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978), was released

August 2 – Emil von Reznicek (1860-1945) died in Berlin, Germany

September 15 – Anton Webern (1883-1945) died in Mittersill, Austria

September 24 – John Rutter (1945-) was born in London, England

September 26 – Béla Bartók (1881-1945) died in New York, New York

October 12 – Symphony No. 3, H. 299 by Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

November 3 – Symphony No. 9 in E♭ major, op. 70 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 21Cinderella, ballet, op. 87 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 30 – Symphony No. 4, H. 305 by Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 17À l’ombre de Torre Bermeja (“In the Shadow of the Crimson Tower”) by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

December 17A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map, for male chorus, brass, and drums, op. 15 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

1946
Twenty-Four Preludes, op. 38 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

February 8 – Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major, Sz. 119, BB 127 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

October 16 – Granville Bantock (1868-1946) died in London, England

October 18 – Symphony No. 3 by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

October 23 – Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, op. 80 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 14 – Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) died in Alta Gracia, Argentina

November 27Cinco piezas infantiles (“Five children’s pieces”), for orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

December 6 – Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1947
January 8 – Piano Concerto, op. 44 by Richard Arnell (1917-2009) was first performed in New York, New York

February 15 – Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35 by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was first performed in St. Louis, Missouri

February 15 – John Adams (1947-) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts

March 5 – Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) died in Rome, Italy

June 14 – Michael Mauldin (1947-) was born in Port Arthur, Texas

August 20 – Concerto for Bassoon and Strings with Percussion by Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) was first performed in London, England

October 23Starlight Roof Waltz by George Melachrino (1909-1965) was first performed in London, England

November 12Flourish, Mighty Land, cantata for chorus and orchestra, op. 114 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 29The Legend of Ohrid, ballet by Stevan Hristić (1885-1958) was first performed in Belgrade, Serbia

1948
William Grant Still (1895-1978) completed Miniatures, for flute, oboe, and piano

January 21 – Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) died in Venice, Italy

April 21 – Symphony No. 6 in E minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

May 4Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

June 27 – George Templeton Strong (1856-1948) died in Geneva, Switzerland

October 29 – Violin Concerto in C major, op. 48 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

October 30The Red Pony, suite from the film score, by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Houston, Texas

1949
Clive Richardson (1909-1998) completed Beachcomber

Robert Farnon (1917-2005) completed How Beautiful is Night

January 14 – Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) died in Madrid, Spain

September 8 – Richard Strauss (1864-1949) died in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

September 11 – Henri Rabaud (1873-1949) died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

December 2Turangalîla-Symphonie by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

1930s

1950s

Classical Music Timeline: 1910s

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.

1910
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Caprice Viennois, for violin and piano, op. 2

Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Praeludium and Allegro (in the style of Pugnani), for violin and piano

Ein Tanzspiel by Franz Schreker (1878-1934) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

March 1 – Suite in A major, op. 98b, B190, “American” by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

March 9 – Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania

April 23 – Italia, Rhapsody for Orchestra, op. 11, by Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) was first performed in Paris, France

May 29 – Mily Balakirev (1837-1910) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

June 25The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was first performed in Paris, France

September 6 – Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in Gloucester, England

September 12 – Symphony No. 8 in E♭ major by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Munich, Germany

1911
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed Two Eastern Pictures, for women’s voices and harp (H. 112)

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) completed Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose) Suite

Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Recitative and Scherzo-Caprice, for solo violin, op. 6

Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed Irish Tune from County Derry (BFMS No. 29)

February 21 – Berceuse élégiaque, op. 42 (BV 252a) by Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) was first performed in New York, New York

March 8 – Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) was born in Somerville, Massachusetts

March 11 – Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, Third Group, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in Blackburn, England

April 3 – Symphony No. 4 by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in Helsinki, Finland

May 2 – Invocation for Cello and Orchestra, op. 19, no. 2, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

May 18 – Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) died in Vienna, Austria

June 14 – Johan Svendsen (1840-1911) died in Copenhagen, Denmark

July 7 – Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007) was born in Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy

August 1 – Autumnal, op. 8, by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

September 14 – Five Mystical Songs, for baritone, chorus, and orchestra, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in Worcester, England

December 3 – Nino Rota (1911-1979) was born in Milan, Italy

December 6 – Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, First Group, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England

December 23 – I gioielli della Madonna (The Jewels of the Madonna), opera by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948), was first performed in Berlin, Germany

1912
Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) completed Three Pieces, op. 23

February 28 – Violin Concerto, op. 33 by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

March 22 – Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, Second Group, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

April 22 – La Péri, ballet by Paul Dukas (1865-1935), was first performed in Paris, France

June 8 – Daphnis et Chloé by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

June 26 – Symphony No. 9 by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

July 23 – Aristophanic Suite, The Wasps, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

August 7 – Piano Concerto No. 1 in D♭ major, op. 10 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

August 13 – Jules Massenet (1842-1912) died in Paris, France

September 24 – The Sea, Suite for Orchestra, H. 100 by Frank Bridge (1879-1941) was first performed in London, England

1913
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed St. Paul’s Suite, in C major, op. 29, no. 2

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) completed Questo fu il carro della Morte, op. 2

April 24 – Canto serioso, for horn and piano, FS 132 by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

May 6 – Gyula Dávid (1913-1977) was born in Kecskemét, Hungary

October 23 – On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) was first performed in Leipzig, Germany

November 22 – Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was born in Lowestoft, England

1914
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed A Dirge for Two Veterans, H. 121

Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) completed Variations on a Nursery Song, op. 25

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Il Tramonto (“The Sunset”), for mezzo-soprano and string quartet, P. 101

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Sinfonia Drammatica in B♭ minor, P. 102

February 5 – Ten Pieces, op. 12 , for piano, by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

March 18 – Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, Fourth Group, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

March 27 – Symphony No. 2, “A London Symphony”, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

August 28 – Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914) died near Borovichi, Russia

November 12 – Second Quintet in E♭ minor for Piano and Strings, op. 26, by Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

1915
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) completed “Christmas Carol for Homeless Children”, for children’s chorus (Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maison: Nous n’avons plus de maison), CD 147

George Enescu (1881-1955) completed Orchestral Suite No. 2, in C major, op. 20

May – English Pastoral Impressions, op. 26, by Ernest Farrar (1885-1918) was first performed in Harrogate, England

1916
Franz Schreker (1878-1934) completed Verschwiegene Liebe (Silent Love), arrangement for voice and orchestra of Eichendorff Lieder: No. 3 by Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)

Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974) completed Symphony No. 3 in D major, op. 10, “Västkustbilder” (“West Coast Pictures”)

January 29 – Scythian Suite, op. 20 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

April 9 – Nights in the Gardens of Spain, for piano and orchestra, G. 49 by Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

April 11 – Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

1917
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed the Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1, P 109

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) completed Song of the Black Swan (Canto do cysne negro), for cello and piano, W122

Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974) completed the Suite No. 3, op. 19, no. 1, for violin, viola, and string orchestra

Ilse Fromm-Michaels (1888-1986) completed Piano Sonata, op. 6

Ilse Fromm-Michaels (1888-1986) completed Walzerreigen, op. 7

March 11The Fountains of Rome, tone poem by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was first performed in Rome, Italy

May 3 – Schelomo: Hebraic Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra, B. 39 by Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was first performed in New York, New York

July 24 – Robert Farnon (1917-2005) was born in Toronto, Canada

September 15 – Richard Arnell (1917-2009) was born in London, England

1918
Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) completed D’un Soir Triste, symphonic poem

January – Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) completed the orchestral version of D’un matin de printemps

February 11 – Pan and Syrinx, symphonic poem in F major, op. 49 by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

February 11 – Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 68 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Budapest, Hungary

March 15 – Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) died in Mézy-sur-Seine, France

March 25 – Claude Debussy (1862-1918) died in Paris, France

April 9Le bourgeois gentilhomme, orchestral suite, op. 60 by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

April 21 – Symphony No. 1 in D major, op. 25, “Classical”, by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

July 3 – Heroic Elegy, op. 36, by Ernest Farrar (1885-1918) was first performed in Harrogate, England

August 25 – Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts

September 18 – Ernest Farrar (1885-1918) died near Le Cateau, Cambrai, France (World War I casualty)

September 29 – The Planets, op. 32 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

1919
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed Ode to Death, for chorus and orchestra, op. 38

Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed the orchestral version of Colonial Song (Sentimental No. 1)

Peter Warlock (1894-1930) completed the choral work Balulalow

George Gershwin (1898-1937) completed Lullaby, for string quartet

March 31 – Two Studies for Doktor Faust, BV 282 by Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) was first performed in Zürich, Switzerland

April 11 – Le Tombeau de Couperin (piano), M. 68 by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

June 22 – The White Peacock (orchestral version) by Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was first performed in New York, New York

October 27 – Cello Concerto in E minor, op. 85 by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) was first performed in London, England

November 16 – Poem for Flute and Orchestra, A. 93 by Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was first performed in New York, New York

November 24 – Symphony No. 5 in E♭ major, op. 82 by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in Helsinki, Finland

November 28 – The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan, tone poem by Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

1900s

1920s