On This Day

Walter Piston

Composer Walter Piston

Full Name: Walter Hamor Piston, Jr.
Profession: Composer

United States of America

Biography: The American classical composer was known for his symphonic and chamber works in a neoclassical style. The many prizes for his work include two Pulitzer prizes for his third (1947) and seventh (1960) symphonies.

Piston was also a teacher with considerable influence on American music; he served as a professor at Harvard from 1926 to 1960, where his pupils included Leonard Bernstein, Elliott Carter, and Leroy Anderson.

Born: January 20, 1894
Birthplace: Rockland, Maine, USA

Generation: Lost Generation
Star Sign: Aquarius

Died: November 12, 1976 (aged 82)

Historical Events

  • 1930-03-28 1st performance of Walter Piston's Suite for orchestra (Boston)
  • 1938-04-08 Walter Piston's 1st Symphony in E, premieres in Boston, by the Boston Symphony, conducted by the composer
  • 1938-05-30 Walter Piston's dance work, The Incredible Flutist, written for the Boston Pops Orchestra, which premieres it, Arthur Fiedler conducting
  • 1944-03-05 1st performance of Walter Piston's 2nd Symphony by the National Symphony, in Washington, D.C.
  • 1944-10-21 Walter Piston's "Fugue for a Victory Tune" premieres in NYC
  • 1948-01-09 Walter Piston's 3rd Symphony in E, premieres in Boston by the Boston Symphony Orchestra; conducted by Serge Koussevitzky; wins 1947 Pulitzer Prize
  • 1951-03-30 1st performance of Walter Piston's 4th Symphony commissioned to mark the University of Minnesota's centennial, debuts by the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, Antal DorĂ¡ti conducting
  • 1955-11-25 Walter Piston's 6th Symphony, composed to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Boston Symphony, premieres, led by Charles Munch
  • 1956-02-24 Walter Piston's 5th Symphony, commissioned by the Juilliard School of Music for their 50th anniversary, premiere performance by the Juilliard Orchestra, conducted by Jean Morel
  • 1961-02-10 Walter Piston's 7th Symphony, commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra premieres under direction of Eugene Ormandy; wins 1961 Pulitzer Prize
  • 1965-03-05 1st performance of Walter Piston's 8th Symphony (his last), by the Boston Symphony, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf

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