Top 5 Classical Events of 1964-65

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

With the return of AMC's hit television show, Mad Men, references to the 1960's seem to be popping up all over the place. With the show's fourth season opening in the fall of 1964 and moving into the winter of 1965, here are the Top 5 @ 105 classical music events that would have been taking place around Don Draper.

1. Terry Riley’s seminal work In C announces the birth of minimalism when it’s first played San Francisco. A young pianist performing in the premiere -- Steve Reich -- brings back Riley’s ideas to New York. That January, Reich composes It’s Going to Rain after listening to a pair of identical tape loops running at slightly different speeds.

2. Legislation to establish the National Council on the Arts passed the House and Senate in 1964 and was signed by President Lyndon Johnson. The eventual council, which eventually becomes the National Endowment for the Arts, begins meeting the following spring with classical music representatives Leonard Bernstein and Isaac Stern.

3. The young contralto, Marilyn Horne, fresh off a triumphant debut at Covent Garden as Marie in Wozzeck wins the Grammy for most promising new classical recording artist. Her 1964 recording of Norma with Joan Sutherland likely helped.

4. Leonard Bernstein took a sabatical during the 1964-65 New York Philharmonic season. But he was given permission to conduct the NY Philharmonic in the premiere of his Chichester Psalms on July 15, 1965.

5. On May 9, 1965, the eccentric pianist Vladimir Horowitz ended his 12-year retirement and returned to the stage. Fans waited overnight in the rain to get tickets which sold out in two hours. Horowitz was roundly cheered through the program and all four encores.

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Comments [1]

Miichael Meltzer

1964 was a new environment for emetging artists and budding composers, for the Great Newspaper Strike of 1963, which had begun with 7 competing newspapers, left us with just 3, and those 3 in financial trouble. The Daily Mirror, the Journal-American, the World-Telegram & Sun and the Herald Tribune were down the tubes. The Daily News, The NY Times and The NY Post (still a real newspaper under Dorothy Schiff) Had to pull in their horns and reorganize.
No longer was critical coverage of a New York debut a given, gone was any sense of competition for "best coverage" of the arts. The few remaining critics were now aristocrats, with agendas and unprecedented power of life and death for performers. It was a sad time for New York music.

Aug. 08 2010 04:47 AM

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