On This Day

Musicians Who Died on May 9

  • 1707 Dietrich Buxtehude, German organist & composer, dies at about 69
  • 1745 Tomaso Antonio Vitali, Italian composer & violinist, dies at 82
  • 1785 Franz Xaver Schnitzer, German composer, dies at 44

Person of interestFrancis Hopkinson

1791 Francis Hopkinson, American author and composer (designed the first American flag), dies from an apoplectic seizure at 53

Designer of the American Flag Francis Hopkinson
Designer of the American Flag
Francis Hopkinson
  • 1799 Claude-Bénigne Balbastre, French organist, harpsichordist, and composer, dies at 74
  • 1822 Charles Duquesnoy, French composer, dies at 62
  • 1853 Johann Philipp Samuel Schmidt, German composer, dies at 73
  • 1880 Johann Hermann Berens, German composer, dies at 54
  • 1905 Ernst Pauer, Austrian composer & pianist, dies at 78
  • 1919 James Reese Europe, American ragtime and early jazz arranger, composer, and bandleader in New York, and with the military in France during WWI, dies of a stab wound (received during an argument with one of his drummers), at 38
  • 1928 Constantin Dimitrescu, Romanian composer (Dans ţănănesc), dies at 81
  • 1944 Ethel Smyth, English composer, dies at 86
  • 1957 Ezio Pinza, Italian American operatic bass singer (South Pacific, NY Met Opera), dies at 64
  • 1966 Alfred Mendelsohn, Romanian composer, and conductor (Romanian National Opera, 1944-63), and teacher, dies at 56
  • 1967 Philippa Schuyler, African-American child prodigy & composer, dies at 35
  • 1970 Percy Brier, Australian composer, dies at 84

  • 1974 Lyubomir Pipkov, Bulgarian composer, dies at 69
  • 1976 Raymond Chevreuille, Belgian composer, dies at 74
  • 1976 Valentino Bucchi, Italian composer, dies at 59
  • 1977 Walter Kraft, German organist & composer, dies at 71
  • 1979 Lan Adomian, Russian-born American composer, dies at 73
  • 1985 Reginald Dixon, British theatre organist, dies at 80
  • 1989 Keith Whitley, American country music singer ("Don't Close Your Eyes"), dies of alcohol poisoning at 33
  • 1991 Rudolf Serkin, Bohemian-American pianist (Marlboro School of Music), dies at 88
  • 1995 Marshall Royal, American jazz alto saxophonist & clarinetist (Count Basie Orchestra), dies at 82
  • 1997 Willy Hess, Swiss musicologist, composer and famous Beethoven scholar, dies at 90
  • 1998 Alice Faye [Leppert], American actress & singer (Hello Frisco, Hello; Fallen Angel; Stowaway), dies of stomach cancer at 83
  • 2001 James E. Myers, American songwriter (Rock Around the Clock) & producer, dies at 81
  • 2002 Leon Stein, American composer, dies at 81
  • 2005 Nasrat Parsa, Afghani singer, dies at 36
  • 2007 Jacob Gilboa, Israeli composer, dies at 87
  • 2009 Turner Stephen Bruton, American country songwriter and musician (Crazy Heart), dies of throat cancer at 59
  • 2010 Lena Horne, American singer & actress (Cabin in the Sky), dies at 92
  • 2019 Freddie Starr, English comedian & singer (The Freddie Starr Showcase), dies at 76

Person of interestLittle Richard

2020 Little Richard [Wayne Penniman], American singer-songwriter and rock 'n' roll pioneer (Tutti Frutti), dies at 87

Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer Little Richard
Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer
Little Richard