On This Day

George Frideric Handel

Composer George Frideric Handel

Profession: Composer


Why Famous: As a young man the German born Handel travelled and lived in Italy, its operatic tradition becoming very influential on his work.

In 1712 Handel decided to settle in London, becoming a naturalized British citizen in 1727. He enjoyed early royal patronage and wrote his famous "Water Music" in 1717 for King George I on the River Thames and in 1727 was commissioned to compose works for the coronation of George II. One of these, "Zadok the Priest" has been played at every British coronation since.

Handel began to move away from Italian style operas towards oratorios before later in life embracing a more English choral tradition. His most famous work "Messiah" was composed in 1742 and its "Hallelujah" chorus has been a Christmas favorite ever since.

Born: February 23, 1685
Birthplace: Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg, Germany
Star Sign: Pisces

Died: April 14, 1759 (aged 74)

Articles and Photos

Historical Events

  • 1705-01-08 George Frideric Handel's 1st opera "Almira" premieres in Hamburg
  • 1711-02-24 George Frideric Handel's opera "Rinaldo" premieres at Haymarket theatre in London
  • 1713-07-07 1st performance of George Frideric Handel's "Te Deum" & "Jubilate"
  • 1717-07-17 George Frideric Handel's "Water Music" premieres on the river Thames in London
  • 1723-01-12 George Frideric Handel's opera "Ottone" premieres at the King's Theatre London
  • 1724-02-20 George Frideric Handel's opera "Giulio Cesare in Egitto" premieres at the King's Theatre in Haymarket, London
  • 1724-10-31 George Frideric Handel's opera "Tamerlano" premieres at the King's Theatre in London
  • 1728-02-28 George Frideric Handel's opera "Siroe, re di Persia" premieres in London
  • 1728-05-04 George Frideric Handel's opera "Tolomeo, re di Egitto" premieres in London
  • 1731-02-02 George Frideric Handel's opera "Poro" premieres in London
  • 1734-01-08 Premiere of George Frideric Handel's Ariodante at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
  • 1736-02-19 George Frideric Handel's "Alexander's Feast" premieres at the Covent Garden Theatre, London
  • 1738-04-15 Premiere in London of "Serse", an Italian opera by George Frideric Handel
  • 1741-09-14 George Frideric Handel finishes his "Messiah" oratorio after working on it non-stop for 23 days
  • 1742-04-13 George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Messiah" performed for the 1st time at New Music Hall in Dublin
  • 1743-03-23 George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Messiah" premieres in London
  • 1749-04-27 First performance of George Frideric Handel's "Music For The Royal Fireworks"in Green Park, London
  • 1751-08-30 George Frideric Handel completes oratorio "Jephtha"
  • 1752-11-03 George Frideric Handel undergoes (failed) eye operation
  • 1759-04-20 George Frideric Handel is buried in Westminster Abbey, London
  • 1762-07-10 Louis-Fran├žois Roubiliac's monument to George Frideric Handel is unveiled at Westminster Abbey in London

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