Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Robert Greenberg Blog

Tchaikovsky in America

Music History Monday: Tchaikovsky: A Composer and Conductor in America!

April 24th, 2017

Both the dates April 24 and 25 are bereft of significant musical events. As a result, this week’s “Music History Monday” is, in fact, “Music History Wednesday”, as we turn to April 26 for the event that powers todays post. The event: on April 26, 1891 – 126 years ago this coming Wednesday – the… 

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Grand Opera House

Music History Monday: An Earth-Shaking Performance!

April 17th, 2017

I have a particular affection for the date April 18. (Yes: I know this post is about a musical event that took place on April 17; bear with me.) Back, momentarily, to April 18th and a few of the events that mark this auspicious date. On April 18th 796, King Æthelred of Northumbria (son of… 

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Mozart at 14 - Verona dalla Rosa

Music History Monday: One Talented Kid

April 10th, 2017

As is sometimes the case, the lack of notable musical events on our “appointed” date (in today’s case, April 10) requires that we shimmy forward (or back) a day for relevant material; thus: On April 11, 1770 – 247 years ago tomorrow – a choral performance took place in Rome that was the source of… 

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Elmer Bernstein With Oscar

Music History Monday: The “Other” Bernstein

April 3rd, 2017

Since virtually nothing of note in the concert music world took place on April 3rd (aside from the appearance – today – of this post), we turn to April 4th for the subject of today’s post, which marks the birth (in 1922) of one of my all-time favorite composers, Elmer Bernstein. Elmer WHO? Oh, you… 

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Haydn’s death mask

Music History Monday: Papa’s Last Days

March 27th, 2017

On this day in 1808, Joseph Haydn made his last public appearance at a performance of his oratorio The Creation given in honor of his upcoming 76th birthday. The performance – which took place at Vienna’s University Hall – was what we would call today a “star-studded event”: everyone who was anyone in Vienna’s musical… 

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One Day University

Music History Monday: Why Art Matters

March 20th, 2017

March 20 was a quiet – a very quiet! – day in music history. Thus, as I have done on other “quiet” Mondays, I’m using today’s post to tell a story and to editorialize a bit. In 2016, I got involved with an operation called “One Day University”, founded by a visionary named Steven Schragis… 

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Richard Wagner in Paris

Music History Monday: A Very Tough Crowd

March 13th, 2017

156 years ago today – on March 13, 1861 – Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser was first performed in Paris at the Théâtre Imperial de l’Opéra. The Paris production of Tannhäuser remains one of the greatest operatic flops of all time: a scheduled ten-performance run that was reduced to three disastrous performances before the opera was… 

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Giuseppe Verdi, circa 1855

Music History Monday: A Magnificent Fiasco!

March 6th, 2017

On March 6, 1853 – 164 years ago today – Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La Traviata received its first performance at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. The two years between March of 1851 and March of 1853 saw the premieres of three operas by Giuseppe Verdi that cemented, for all time, his reputation as the… 

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Robert Greenberg and Van Cliburn in 1996

Music History Monday: A Cold War Miracle

February 27th, 2017

Four years ago today, the pianist, cultural icon and “Cold War Musical Envoy” Van Cliburn died at his home in Fort Worth Texas. He was 78. Van Cliburn’s celebrity was shaped not just by his talent but also by what were – and remain – earth-shaking historical events. Joseph Stalin – “the Leader and Teacher;… 

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Johann Peter Salomon in 1792

Music History Monday: Movers and Shakers

February 20th, 2017

Today we celebrate the birth – on February 20, 1749 – of the violinist, composer, and impresario Johann Peter Salomon. His name is relatively unknown today, yet without him the musical legacy of the late eighteenth century would be much the poorer. Let us contemplate, for a moment, the massive, gleaming 6.5-liter engine that powers… 

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