On This Day

Events in Music in 1939

Music Premiere

Mar 23 1st performance of Béla Bartók's 2nd Violin Concerto at the Concertgebow, Amsterdam with Zoltán Székely on violin and Willem Mengelberg conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra

  • Mar 25 Billboard Magazine introduces hillbilly (country) music chart
  • Apr 5 Alexander Gretchaninov's 5th Symphony premieres at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia with Leopold Stowkowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra

Music History

Apr 9 Marian Anderson sings before 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Appointment of Interest

May 23 Dmitri Shostakovich appointed professor at conservatory of Leningrad

  • Jun 3 "Beer Barrel Polka" by Will Glahe hits #1 on the pop singles chart

Music History

Jul 13 Frank Sinatra makes his recording debut, with The Harry James Orchestra, singing "From the Bottom of My Heart" and "Melancholy Mood"

Radio Premiere

Aug 6 1st broadcast of "Dinah Shore Show" on NBC-radio

The Wizard of Oz

Aug 15 "The Wizard of Oz", American musical fantasy film directed by Victor Fleming and King Vidor, premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, starring Judy Garland (Dorothy), Ray Bolger (Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Tin Man), Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion), Frank Morgan (Wizard), Billie Burke (Glinda), and Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch)

Music Premiere

Aug 17 Musical film "The Wizard of Oz", starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, and Jack Haley opens at Loews Capitol Theatre, NYC

  • Aug 28 Sammy Fain and Jack Yellen's musical "George White's Scandals" premieres
  • Oct 14 BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) formed

Music History

Oct 16 George Kaufman and Moss Hart's comedy "The Man Who Came to Dinner" opens at the Music Box Theatre, NYC; runs for 739 performances

Music Premiere

Oct 18 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's musical "Too Many Girls" premieres in NYC

Music History

Oct 20 "All the Things You Are" recorded by Tommy Dorsey Orchestra

Music History

Nov 11 Kate Smith first sings Irving Berlin's "God Bless America"

Music History

Nov 17 Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's "Very Warm for May" premieres in NYC

Music Premiere

Dec 6 Cole Porter's musical "Du Barry Was A Lady" opens at 46th Street Theatre, NYC; runs 408 performances

  • Dec 7 William Walton's violinist concert premieres in Cleveland