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: 1920s

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.

1920
FebruaryLe Tombeau de Couperin (orchestral version) by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

March 25The Hymn of Jesus, op. 37 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

April 8 – Charles Griffes (1884-1920) died in New York, New York

May 23Short Festival Te Deum, H. 145 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

June 20Three Tone-Pictures, op. 5 by Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was first performed in Greenwich, Connecticut

October 2 – Max Bruch (1838-1920) died in Berlin, Germany

1921
January 23The Three Miracles of Saint Cecilia, incidental music to the play by Henri Ghéon, by Aita Donostia (1886-1956) was first performed in Paris, France

January 30The Fog is Lifting, for flute and harp, op. 41, no. 2, by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

February 20 – Ruth Gipps (1921-1999) was born in Bexhill-on-Sea, England

March 4 – Kaljo Raid (1921-2005) was born in Tallinn, Estonia

September 27 – Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921) died in Neustrelitz, Germany

October 9Taras Bulba by Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was first performed in Brno, Czech Republic

October 21 – Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) was born in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England

December 16 – Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) died in Algiers, Algeria

December 16 – Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, op. 26 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Chicago, Illinois

1922
January 16 – Symphony No. 3, “Pastoral”, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

January 30 – Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed Spoon River (AFMS No. 2) [elastic scoring]

February 25Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in Paris, France

March 10 – Hans Sitt (1860-1922) died in Leipzig, Germany

May 20Daisies, in F major, op. 38, no. 3 (piano-only version) by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in London, England

October 19Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) as orchestrated by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), was first performed in Paris, France

1923
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed the Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite II

Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957) completed Baïlèro, Chants d’Auvergne, Series 1, No. 2

May 14The Perfect Fool by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

May 28 – György Ligeti (1923-2006) was born in Târnăveni, Romania

September 30Hassan, incidental music, by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) was first performed in London, England

October 18 – Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, op. 19 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

1924
February 12Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin (1898-1937) was first performed in New York, New York

February 27 – Trevor Duncan (1924-2005) was born in London, England

May 8 – The revised version of Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, op. 16 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

July 27 – Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) died in Berlin, Germany

September 14Ruralia hungarica, Five pieces for orchestra, op. 32b, by Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) was first performed in Pécs, Hungary

September 28 – Rudolf Barshai (1924-2010) was born in Labinsk, Russia

November 4 – Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) died in Paris, France

December 14The Pines of Rome, tone poem by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was first performed in Rome, Italy

1925
Enrique Fernández Arbós (1863-1939) completed his orchestrations of five of the twelve piano pieces, Iberia, by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)

May 29 – Concerto Grosso No. 1 for String Orchestra with Piano Obbligato by Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was first performed in Cleveland, Ohio

August 31Mississippi Suite by Ferde Grofé (1892-1972) was first performed in New York, New York

November 20 – Clytus Gottwald (1925-2023) was born in Szczawno-Zdrój, Poland

November 29 – The Love for Three Oranges, Suite, op. 33bis by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

December 3 – Piano Concerto in F major by George Gershwin (1898-1937) was first performed in New York, New York

1926
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed Seven Part-Songs, op. 44

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) completed Zarabanda lejana (Distant Sarabande)

May 2 – Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano, FP 43 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Paris, France

May 12 – Symphony No. 1 in F minor, op. 10 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

June 26 – Sinfonietta by Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

October – Peter Warlock (1894-1930) completed Capriol Suite

October 31 – Symphony No. 5 in F♯ minor, “Dance Symphony”, by Emil von Reznicek (1860-1945) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

November 1The Profound Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, incidental music to the play by Henri Ghéon, by Aita Donostia (1886-1956) was first performed in Paris, France

December 26Tapiola, tone poem in B minor, op. 112 by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in New York, New York

1927
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Gypsy Caprice

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Three Botticelli Pictures

March 24Háry János Suite, op. 35a by Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) was first performed in Barcelona, Spain

June 7Le pas d’acier (“The Steel Step”), ballet, op. 41 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

June 14The Red Poppy, ballet, op. 70 by Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

October 27 – Dominick Argento (1927-2019) was born in York, Pennsylvania

1928
Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) completed Schluck und Jau, incidental music

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Brazilian Impressions

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) completed the two-piano transcription of his orchestral piece, Cinco piezas infantiles (Five children’s pieces)

February 12Egdon Heath, tone poem, op. 47 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in New York, New York

June 12Gli uccelli (“The Birds”) by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was first performed in São Paulo, Brazil

August 12 – Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) died in Ostrava, Czech Republic

September 11 – String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters”, by Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was first performed in Brno, Czech Republic

October 9 – Einojuhani Rautavaara (1929-2016) was born in Helsinki, Finland

December 13An American in Paris by George Gershwin (1898-1937) was first performed in New York, New York

1929
January 11 – Stabat Mater, op. 53 by Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) was first performed in Warsaw, Poland

February 10 – Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004) was born in Los Angeles, California

February 21Roman Festivals, tone poem by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was first performed in New York, New York

May 21L’enfant prodigue (“The Prodigal Son”), ballet, op. 46 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

November 7 – Suite-Divertissement, for violin, viola, cello, and piano, by Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986) was first performed in Brussels, Belgium

1910s

1930s