On This Day

Year 1917 in Music History

Events in Music


Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 13 Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari is arrested in Paris on suspicion that she is a German spy

Exotic Dancer, Courtesan and German Spy Mata Hari
Exotic Dancer, Courtesan and German Spy
Mata Hari

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Feb 20 Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton & P.G. Wodehouse's musical "Oh, Boy!" premieres in New York

Broadway Composer Jerome Kern
Broadway Composer
Jerome Kern
  • Feb 26 1st jazz records recorded - "Dixie Jazz Band One Step" and "Livery Stable Blues" by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company
  • Mar 7 1st jazz record released on a 78 by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company ("Dixie Jazz Band One Step," one side "Livery Stable Blues" other)
  • Mar 19 Victor Herbert and Harry Blossom's operetta "Eileen", loosely based on a novel by Herbert's grandfather, premieres at Shubert Theater, New York City
  • May 3 1st performance of Ernest Bloch's symphony "Israel"
  • May 30 Jazz standard "Dark Town Strutters Ball" by Shelton Brooks recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band
  • Jul 24 Trial of Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari begins in Paris for allegedly spying for Germany and thus causing the deaths of 50,000 soldiers
  • Oct 15 Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari is executed by firing squad for spying for Germany during WWI at Vincennes near Paris
  • Dec 25 Louis Hirsch and Otto Harbach's musical "Going Up" premieres in New York City

Birthdays in Music

  • Jan 2 Vera Zorina, German dancer (d. 2003)
  • Jan 5 Reginald Smith Brindle, British composer, born in Cuerden, Lancashire (d. 2003)
  • Jan 5 Wieland Wagner, German opera director, born in Bayreuth, Germany (d. 1966)
  • Jan 7 Ulysses Simpson Kay, American composer (Of New Horizons: Overture), born in Tucson, Arizona (d. 1995)
  • Jan 10 Jerry Wexler, American music producer who coined the term "rhythm and blues" (Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan), born in The Bronx, New York (d. 2008)
  • Jan 12 Walter Hendl, American conductor & composer, born in West New York, New Jersey (d. 2007)
  • Jan 13 Felix Guerro Diaz, composer
  • Jan 17 Oskar Morawetz, Czech-Canadian composer (From the Diary of Anne Frank), born in Světlá nad Sázavou, Bohemia (now Czech Republic); (d. 2007)
  • Jan 19 Rudolf Maros, Hungarian composer (Sirato/Lament; Euphonies), and pedagogue, born in Stachy, Bohemia (d. 1982)
  • Jan 22 Albert "Pud" Brown, American jazz clarinetist and saxophonist, born in Wilmington, Delaware (d. 1996)
  • Jan 25 Floyd "Guitar" Smith, American jazz and blues guitarist and record producer, born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1982)
  • Jan 29 John Raitt, American stage and screen singer and actor (Carousel; Pajama Game), born in Santa Ana, California (d. 2005)
  • Jan 31 José Maceda, Filipino composer, born in Manila, Philippines (d. 2004)
  • Feb 1 Edward Simons, American classical violinist and conductor (Rockland Symphony, 1962-2017), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2018)
  • Feb 6 Arthur Gold, Canadian pianist, born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1990)
  • Feb 6 Liberato Firmino Sifonia, Italian composer, born in Geneva, Switzerland (d. 1995)
  • Feb 7 Milton "Milt" Holland, American drummer, percussionist, ethnomusicologist (film Tinkerbell's tinkle, Bewitched's nose tinkle), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2005)
  • Feb 12 Thomas Scherman, American conductor (Little Orchestra Society, 1947-75), born in NYC, New York (d. 1979)
  • Feb 20 Phil Moore, American jazz pianist, arranger, and bandleader, born in Portland Oregon (d. 1987) [1]
  • Feb 21 Lucille Bremer, American actress and dancer (Meet Me in St. Louis; Ziegfeld Follies), born in Amsterdam, New York (d. 1996)
  • Feb 28 George Malcolm, British keyboard player and conductor (Westminster Cathedral Master of the Music, 1947-59), born in London (d. 1997)

Person of interestDinah Shore

Mar 1 (Fannye) "Dinah" Shore, American singer ("Buttons and Bows"), and TV personality (Dinah Shore Show), born in Winchester, Tennessee (d. 1994)

Singer, Actress and TV Personality Dinah Shore
Singer, Actress and TV Personality
Dinah Shore
  • Mar 2 John Gardner, English classical composer, born in Manchester, England (d. 2011)
  • Mar 7 Janet Collins, American ballerina, choreographer, and teacher born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 2003)
  • Mar 7 Robert Erickson, American composer, born in Marquette, Michigan (d. 1997)
  • Mar 13 Ina Ray Hutton, American orchestra leader (Ina Ray Hutton Show), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1984)
  • Mar 17 Brian Boydell, composer
  • Mar 19 Constantin "Dinu" Lipatti, Romanian classical pianist and composer, born in Bucharest, Kingdom of Romania (d. 1950)
  • Mar 20 Vera Lynn 'the Forces Sweetheart', English singer (We'll Meet Again), born in East Ham, London (d. 2020)
  • Mar 23 Johnny Guarnieri, American jazz pianist (Morey Amsterdam Show), born in NYC, New York (d. 1985)
  • Mar 26 Rufus Thomas [Mr. Swing], American musician (Do the Funky Chicken), born in Cayce, Mississippi (d. 2001)
  • Mar 30 Els Aarne, Estonian composer, born in Makiivka, Russian Empire (d. 1995)
  • Mar 30 Rudolf Bruci, composer
  • Apr 1 Johnny Andrews, singer/host (Songs at Twilight), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Apr 2 Lou Monte, American singer (Peppino the Italian Mouse), born in Manhattan, New York (d. 1989)
  • Apr 3 Bill Finegan, American composer (Sauter-Finegan Band, Sat Night Revue), born in Newark, New Jersey (d. 2008)
  • Apr 3 Tibor Andrasovan, Slovak composer, born in Slovenská Lupca, Zólyom, Austria-Hungary (d. 2001)
  • Apr 5 Richard Yardumian, American composer (Come Creator Spirit), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1985)
  • Apr 6 Big Walter Horton, American blues harmonica player (Everybody's Fishin'), born in Horn Lake, Mississippi (d. 1981)
  • Apr 12 Helen Forrest, American singer of traditional pop and swing music, born in Atlantic City, New Jersey (d. 1999)
  • Apr 15 Pietro Grossi, Italian composer, born in Venice (d. 2002)
  • Apr 19 Johnny Hoes, Dutch musician and producer (Wished I'd stayed with my Mom), born in Rotterdam, Netherlands (d. 2011)
  • Apr 22 Yvette Chauviré, French ballerina, born in Paris (d. 2016)

Person of interestElla Fitzgerald

Apr 25 Ella Fitzgerald, American jazz singer (Is it live or Memorex), born in Newport News, Virginia (d. 1996)

Jazz Musician Ella Fitzgerald
Jazz Musician
Ella Fitzgerald
  • Apr 30 Bea Wain, American singer and radio host (Deep Purple, Heart and Soul), born in The Bronx, Yew York (d. 2017)
  • May 3 James Penberthy, Australian composer, born in Melbourne, Australia (d. 1999)
  • May 3 George Gaynes, Dutch-American singer, actor and voice artist (Tootsie, Police Academy, General Hospital), born in Helsinki Finland (d. 2016)
  • May 3 Betty Comden [Basya Cohen], American lyricist (On The Town; Just In Time), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2006)
  • May 4 Edward Toner Cone, American pianist, composer and pedagogue, born in Greensboro, North Carolina (d. 2004)
  • May 6 Kal Mann, American lyricist (Let's Twist Again), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2001)
  • May 12 Andre A Rieu, Dutch conductor
  • May 14 Lou Harrison, American composer (La Koro Sutro), born in Portland, Oregon (d. 2003)
  • May 16 Geraint Jones, Welsh conductor and organist, born in Porth, Wales (d. 1998)
  • May 20 Enyss Djemil, composer
  • May 22 Georg Tintner, Austrian conductor, born in Vienna, Austria (d. 1999)
  • May 22 Daniel Nagrin, American modern dancer and choreographer, born in NYC, New York (d. 2008)
  • May 25 Jimmy Hamilton, American jazz saxophonist, born in Dillon, South Carolina (d. 1994)
  • May 28 Papa John Creach, American blues violinist (Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane), born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania (d. 1994)
  • Jun 2 Max Showalter, American actor and composer (Kansas, Niagara, Stockard Channing Show in Caldwell), born in Caldwell, Kansas (d. 2000)
  • Jun 4 Robert Merrill [Moishe Miller], American operatic baritone and actor (NY Metropolitan Opera), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2004)

Person of interestDean Martin

Jun 7 Dean Martin [Dino Paul Crocetti], American singer, comedian and actor (Martin and Lewis, The Dean Martin Show), born in Steubenville, Ohio (d. 1995)

Actor, Comedian and Singer Dean Martin
Actor, Comedian and Singer
Dean Martin
  • Jun 15 Michalis Genitsaris, Greek singer and composer (d. 2005)
  • Jun 18 Akhmet Jevdet Ismail Hajiyev, Azerbaijani composer, born in Nukha, Azerbaijan (d. 2002)
  • Jun 23 Peter Knight, English musical arranger, conductor, and composer, born in Exmouth, Devon, England (d. 1985)
  • Jun 28 Willem "Wim" Sonneveld, Dutch singer considered one of the 'Great Three' of Dutch cabaret (My Fair Lady), born in Utrecht, Netherlands (d. 1974)
  • Jun 30 Lena Horne, American actress and singer (Stormy Weather, Wiz), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2010)
  • Jul 6 Hugo Cole, composer and music critic, born in London (d. 1995)
  • Jul 7 Elton Britt, Marshall Ark, country singer (Sat Night Jamboree)
  • Jul 7 Woodrow Wilson "Red" Sovine, American country music singer, born in Charleston, West Virginia (d. 1980)
  • Jul 9 Ted Steele, American orchestra leader (Cavalcade of Stars), born in Hartford, Connecticut (d. 1985)
  • Jul 14 Arthur Leavins, English violinist, leader of the BBC Concert Orchestra (d. 1995)
  • Jul 18 Henri Salvador, French Caribbean singer, born in Cayenne, French Guiana (d. 2008)
  • Jul 24 Robert Farnon, Canadian composer and conductor, born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 2005)
  • Jul 27 Moses Rascoe, American blues singer, born in Windsor, North Carolina (d. 1994)
  • Jul 27 Bourvil [André Robert Raimbourg], French actor and singer (Le Corniaud, La Grande Vadrouille), born in Prétot-Vicquemare, France (d. 1970)
  • Aug 12 Marjorie Reynolds [Goodspeed], American actress and dancer (Holiday Inn, Life of Riley), born in Buhl, Idaho (d. 1997)
  • Aug 16 Roque Cordero, Panamanian composer (Sonata Breve), born in Panama City (d. 2008)
  • Aug 22 John Lee Hooker, American blues guitarist (Boogie Chillen), born in Clarksdale, Mississippi (d. 2001)
  • Aug 23 Tex Williams, American country-western singer, born in Ramsey, Illinois (d. 1985)
  • Sep 2 Laurindo Almeida, Brazilian classical, jazz and Latin guitarist and composer (developed bossa nova), born in Prainha, São Paulo, Brazil (d. 1995)
  • Sep 13 Jón Thórarinsson, Icelandic composer and musicologist, born in Gilsárteigur, Iceland (d. 2012)
  • Sep 13 Robert Ward, American composer (Pantaloon), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 2013)
  • Sep 15 Richard Arnell, composer
  • Sep 17 Isang Yun, Korean-born German composer, born in Sancheong, Korea (d. 1995)
  • Sep 18 Ande Anderson, English opera director, born in South Shields (d. 1996)
  • Sep 28 Michael [George] Somes, England, dancer (Royal Ballet)
  • Sep 28 Vaclav Kaslik, Czechoslovakia, opera composer/conductor

Person of interestBuddy Rich

Sep 30 Buddy Rich, American jazz drummer and band leader (Buddy Rich Band-Away We Go), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1987)

Jazz Drummer/Band Leader Buddy Rich
Jazz Drummer/Band Leader
Buddy Rich
  • Oct 2 Francis Jackson, British organist and composer, born in Malton, Yorkshire, England
  • Oct 2 William Marshall, American singer, bandleader and actor (State Fair, Pennsylvanians), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1994)
  • Oct 4 Albert de Klerk, Dutch organist, composer, and conductor, born in Haarlem, Netherlands (d. 1998)
  • Oct 8 Hans Poser, German composer, born in Tannenbergsthal (d. 1970)
  • Oct 10 Thelonious Monk, American jazz pianist and composer (Straight, No Chaser; 'Round Midnight), born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina (d. 1982)
  • Oct 11 Franz Alphons Wolpert, German composer, born in Wiesentheid, Germany (d. 1978)
  • Oct 21 John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, American jazz trumpeter, a creator of bebop & modern jazz (A Night In Tunisia), born in Cheraw, South Carolina (d. 1993)
  • Oct 31 Erik Routley, English Congregational minister, composer and musicologist, born in England (d. 1982)
  • Nov 5 Claus Adam, American composer and cellist (Juilliard Quartet), born in Sumatra, Indonesia (d. 1983)
  • Nov 7 András Mihály, Hungarian composer, born in Budapest (d. 1993)
  • Nov 7 Howard Rumsey, American jazz musician (Lighthouse Cafe), born in Brawley, California (d. 2015)
  • Nov 11 Julien-François Zbinden, Swiss composer, born in Rolle, Switzerland

Weddings in Music


LoveWedding of Interest

May 1 Country singer Jimmie Rodgers (19) weds Stella Kelley

Country Singer Jimmie Rodgers
Country Singer
Jimmie Rodgers

Deaths in Music

  • Feb 5 Paul Rubens, English musical comedy composer, (Miss Hook of Holland), dies at 41
  • Feb 10 Émile Pessard, French composer, dies at 73
  • Feb 13 Joel Angel, Russian musicologist and composer, dies at 48
  • Mar 29 Fran Gerbič, Slovenian composer, dies at 76

Person of interestScott Joplin

Apr 1 Scott Joplin, American ragtime composer (The Entertainer, Maple Leaf Rag), dies at 48

Ragtime Composer Scott Joplin
Ragtime Composer
Scott Joplin
  • Apr 7 Spyridon Filiskos Samaras, composer, dies at 53
  • May 11 Otto Adolf Klauwell, German composer, dies at 66
  • May 25 Léon Vasseur, French composer, dies at 72
  • Jun 6 Iacob Mureșianu, Romanian composer, dies at 59
  • Jun 12 Maria Teresa Carreno, composer, dies at 63
  • Jul 16 Ludwig Philipp Scharwenka, German composer (Album Polonaise), dies at 70
  • Sep 8 Charles-Édouard Lefebvre, French composer, dies at 74

BattleMata Hari

Oct 15 Mata Hari [Margaretha Geertruida Zelle], Dutch dancer, courtesan and convicted German WWI spy, executed by firing squad at 41

Exotic Dancer, Courtesan and German Spy Mata Hari
Exotic Dancer, Courtesan and German Spy
Mata Hari
  • Dec 7 Ludwig Minkus, Austrian ballet composer, dies at 91