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→

Classical Music Timeline: 1880s

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.

1880
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Two Elegiac Melodies, op. 34

January 20 – Two Rhapsodies, op. 79 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Krefeld, Germany

April 20 – In the Steppes of Central Asia, in A minor, by Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

July 24 – Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was born in Geneva, Switzerland

December 26 – Tragic Overture, in D minor, op. 81 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1881
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Norwegian Dances, op. 35

February 12 – Symphony No. 2 in C minor, op. 17, “Little Russian” (2nd and final version) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

February 20 – Symphony No. 4 in E♭ major, WAB 104, “Romantic” by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

March 25 – Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was born in Sânnicolau Mare, Romania

March 25 – Symphony No. 6 in D major, op. 60, B112 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

March 28 – Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

April 17 – Carmen Fantasy, op. 25 for violin and orchestra (on themes from Bizet’s Carmen), by Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

August 19 – George Enescu (1881-1955) was born in Liveni, Romania

October 30 – Romance in G major for violin and orchestra, op. 26 by Johan Svendsen (1840-1911) was first performed in Oslo, Norway

November 9 – Piano Concerto No. 2 in B♭ major, op. 83 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Budapest, Hungary

December 4 – Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1882
February 10 – The Snow Maiden, opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

June 17 – Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was born in Lomonosov, Russia

July 8 – Percy Grainger (1882-1961) was born in Melbourne, Australia

July 26 – Parsifal, opera by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was first performed in Bayreuth, Germany

October 6 – Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) was born in Tymoshivka, Ukraine

November 5 – Má vlast, six symphonic poems by Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) was first performed in its entirety in Prague, Czech Republic

November 27 – Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments in E♭ major, op. 7 by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Dresden, Germany

December 9 – Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) was born in Seville, Spain

December 16 – Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) was born in Kecskemét, Hungary

1883
February 13 – Richard Wagner (1813-1883) died in Venice, Italy

March 19 – Tamara, symphonic poem in B minor by Mily Balakirev (1837-1910) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

May 16 – Scherzo capriccioso in D♭ major, op. 66, B131 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

July 4 – Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) was born in Vilnius, Lithuania

July 25 – Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) was born in Turin, Italy

July 27 – Franz Doppler (1821-1883) died in Baden bei Wien, Austria

October 14 – Violin Concerto in A minor, op. 53, B108 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

December – Elégie, for cello and piano, op. 24 by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was first performed in Paris, France

December 2 – Symphony No. 3 in F major, op. 90 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

December 3 – Anton Webern (1883-1945) was born in Vienna, Austria

December 6 – Sonata in F major for cello and piano, op. 6 by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Nuremberg, Germany

1884
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed From Holberg’s Time: Suite in Olden Style, op. 40

May 12 – Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) died in Prague, Czech Republic

September 17 – Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was born in Elmira, New York

December 30 – Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107, by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was first performed in Leipzig, Germany

1885
Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894) completed Habanera

April 22 – Symphony No. 7 in D minor, op. 70, B141 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in London, England

June 19 – Stevan Hristić (1885-1958) was born in Belgrade, Serbia

July 7 – Ernest Farrar (1885-1918) was born in London, England

September 28 – Ballade in D minor, for violin and piano, op. 15, B139 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

October 25 – Symphony No. 4 in E minor, op. 98 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Meiningen, Germany

November 23 – Stenka Razin, in B minor, op. 13, symphonic poem by Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1886
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Lyric Pieces, Book III, op. 43

January 10 – Aita Donostia (1886-1956) was born in San Sebastián, Spain

May 1 – Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy Overture (3rd and final version), TH 42, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Tbilisi, Georgia

May 19 – Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 78, with organ, by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in London, England

July 31 – Franz Liszt (1811-1886) died in Bayreuth, Germany

October 15 – Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) and orchestrated by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 24 – Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, op. 99 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

December 16 – Violin Sonata in A major, CFF 123, by César Franck (1822-1890) was first performed in Brussels, Belgium

1887
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) completed Pavane in F♯ minor, op. 50, for SATB choir and piano

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) completed Elegy in D♭ major, op. 17 (In memory of Franz Liszt) for cello and piano

January – Miniatures, for two violins and viola, op. 75a, B149 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

January 6 – Slavonic Dances, op. 72, B147 (Nos. 1, 2, and 7) by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic
[Note: I have been unable to find when Nos. 3-6 and 8 premiered.]

January 22 – Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor, op. 45 by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was first performed in Paris, France

February 27 – Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

March 5 – Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

March 7 – Heino Eller (1887-1970) was born in Tartu, Estonia

March 30 – Romantic Pieces, for violin and piano, op. 75, B150 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

October 18 – Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra in A minor, op. 102 “Double Concerto” by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Cologne, Germany

October 31 – Capriccio espagnol, op. 34 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 15 – Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Violin Sonata No. 3 in C minor, op. 45

December 12 – Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974) was born in Gothenburg, Sweden

1888
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) completed Nächtens (At night), in D minor, from Six Quartets, op. 112, no. 2

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Lyric Pieces, Book IV, op. 47

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) completed Scheherazade, in E major, op. 35

Florida Suite by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) was first performed in Leipzig, Germany

January 6Cypresses, for string quartet, B152 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed (Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 9) in Prague, Czech Republic

January 6 – Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, op. 81, B155 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

November 17 – Symphony No. 5 in E minor, op. 64 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 15 – Russian Easter Festival Overture, op. 36 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 21 – Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, op. 108, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Budapest, Hungary

December 30 – Ilse Fromm-Michaels (1888-1986) was born in Hamburg, Germany

1889
Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) completed the orchestration of the unfinished Symphony No. 3 in A minor by Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)

February 17 – Symphony in D minor, CFF 130, by César Franck (1822-1890) was first performed in Paris, France

February 17 – Geoffrey Toye (1889-1942) was born in Winchester, England

October – Ralph Greaves (1889-1966) was born in Lymington, Hampshire, England

November 11 – Don Juan, tone poem in E major, op. 20 by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Weimar, Germany

November 20 – Symphony No. 1 in D major by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Budapest, Hungary

1870s

1890s