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On This Day in February

February 16 to 29

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February 16, 1709 - Composer Charles Avison, known for publishing his Essay of Musical Expression in 1752, was born.

February 17, 1653 - Arcangelo Corelli was born in Fusignano, Italy. He was a virtuoso violinist, an accomplished composer, teacher and considered as the one who perfected the concerto grosso style.

February 18, 2001 - Singer-songwriter James Taylor married Caroline Smedvig. With songs like "Fire and Rain" and "You've Got A Friend" under his belt, James Taylor enjoys career longevity that other musicians aspire for.

February 19, 1956 - The Platters recorded their song "Magic Touch."

February 20, 1626 - John Dowland died in London, England.

February 20, 1874 - Mary Garden was born in Scotland. She made her debut in 1900 in Gustave Charpentier's Louise. It was in 1902 where she became renowned when Claude DeBussy handpicked her for the female lead of his opera Pelléas et Mélisande.

February 20, 1961 - Percy Grainger died in White Plains, New York, U.S.A. He was an Australian composer, conductor and pianist. He was also an avid collector of folk music; an interest he shared with fellow composer and friend Edvard Grieg. Grainger was the head of New York University's music department from 1932 to 1933 and founder of the Grainger Museum at Melbourne.

February 21, 1891 - Karl Lawrence King was born in Paintersville, Ohio. He was an American bandmaster, conductor, and composer of marches who shares the title "March King" with John Philip Sousa. His most famous work is "Barnum and Bailey's Favorite."

February 21, 1986 - Vocal prodigy Charlotte Church was born in Llandaff, Cardiff.

February 22, 1817 - Composer Niels Wilhelm Gade was born in Copenhagen.

February 22, 1974 - Singer-songwriter James Blunt was born in Tidworth, Hampshire, England.

February 23, 1685 - George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany. He was as one of the most important composers of the late Baroque period. He was a master of polyphony, one of the great composers of concerto grosso and considered the creator of the English oratorio.

February 23, 1934 - Edward Elgar died in Worcester, England. He was a music teacher, conductor and English composer of Romantic music. He was knighted in 1904 by King Edward VII. Elgar wrote cantatas, oratorios, song cycles, choral and orchestral pieces, to name a few. One of his famous works is "Falstaff."

February 24, 2004 - Clarinetist Pete Fountain performed during the Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana.

February 25, 1727 - French organist and composer Armand-Louis Couperin was born.

February 26, 1953 - Michael Bolton was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He is an American singer/songwriter who popularized such songs as "Said I Loved You But I Lied" and "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?"

February 27, 1814 - Opus 93, Symphony No. 8 in F major by Ludwig van Beethoven was first performed. He was one of the great composers of the Classical period. He became deaf in his late 20s (some books say in his 30s) but continued to compose music that is still much appreciated to this day.

February 28, 1882 - Geraldine Farrar was born in Melrose, Massachusetts. She was an American soprano who had her debut in 1901 in Charles Gounod's Faust performed at the Royal Opera House. Her American debut occurred in 1906 at the Metropolitan Opera in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette. Geraldine Farrar also appeared in silent movies.

February 29, 1792 - Composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini was born in Pesaro, Italy. He was a onductor, accompanist and composer known for his comic operas. His most productive years were between 1810 and 1822 when he wrote serious operas like Ottelo and comic operas like L'italiana in Algeri. Rossini retired a wealthy man and was known to give lavish dinners attended by notable names in music during the 19th century.

Special Celebrations in February

The Day the Music Died - Feb. 3 (check out Related Article)
President's Day - 3rd Monday of February (check out Songs for Washington and Songs for Lincoln)
Black History Month - whole month of February (check out Famous Black Musicians)
National Weddings Month - whole month of February (check out Instrumental Wedding Ceremony Music)

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