Classical Music Time Line

notes Click to listen to "Pathétique" by Beethoven.

Early Music: The First Thirteen Centuries

400 St Augustine writes his spiritual autobiography, The Confessions.

590 Gregory the Great, eventually linked to Gregorian chant, becomes Pope.

800 Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne "Holy Roman Emperor"

900 Earliest surviving chant books with music notation.

1003 Leif Erikson voyages to North America

1095 Pope Urban II proclaims the First Crusade.

1206 Temujin is enthroned as Genghis Khan.

1214 Oxford University founded

1298 Marco Polo writes his Book of Travels to Tartary and China

The 14th Century to the Renaissance

1348-49 Black Plague kills one third of Europe's population

1387 Geoffrey Chaucer writes The Canterbury Tales.

1440 Josquin des Pres was born in France.

1453 Fall of the Byzantine Empire. Constantinople becomes Istanbul

1492 Christopher Columbus reaches the New World. (the Bahamas)

1495 Music theorist Johannes Tinctoris writes his Dictionary of Musical Terms.

1503 Leonardo Da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa.

1505 Thomas Tallis was born in England.

1521 Josquin des Pres dies.

1525 Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina is born in Italy.

1527 Martin Luther nails his "95 Theses" to the door of his Wittenberg church.

1528 Elizabeth Tutor becomes queen of the British Isles

1542 Orlandus Lessus was born in Mons (now part of Belgium).

1543 William Byrd was born in England.

1545 Council of Trent reforms the Catholic Church.

1549 Thomas Luis de Victoria was born.

1554 Giovanni Gabrieli was born in Germany.

1563 John Dowland was born in England.

1567 Claudio Monteverdi was born in Gcremona, Italy.

1571 Michael Practorius was born.

Early Baroque

1584 Sir Walter Raleigh discovers and annexes Virginia.

1585 Thomas Tallis was born.

1587 Claudio Monterverdi wrote the First Book of Madrigals.

1590 Claudio Monterverdi wrote the Second Book of Mardrigals.

1594 Orlandus Lessus dies.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina dies.

1597 John Dowland publishes his First Booke of Songes.

1600-1601 William Shakespeare writes Hamlet.

1603 John Dowland wrote Third and Last Book of Songs or Aires.

King James I of Scots became King of the British Isles.

1607 Claudio Monteverdi wrote the opera Orfeo.

1608 Dutchman Johann Lippershey invents the telescope.

1611 Tomas Luis de Victoria dies.

1611 Peter Paul Rubens paints the Descent From the Cross.

1612 Giovanni Gabrieli dies.

1618 Thirty Years' War begins between the Hapsburg Holy Roman Empire and France, England, Sweden, ect

1621 Michael Praetorius dies.

1623 William Byrd dies.

1626 John Dowland dies.

1637 First public opera house opens in Venice.

1642 Claudio Monterverdi wrote the opera L'Incoronazione di Poppea.

1643 Claudio Monteverdi dies.

Beginning of long reign (to 1715) of Louis XIV in France.

1653 Johann Pachelbel born

Arcangelo Corellia is born in Italy.

1659 Henry Purcell born in England.

Late Baroque

1660 Beginning of the English Reformation.

1668 Rrancois Couperio born in France.

1671 Tomaso Albinoni born in Venice.

1678 Antonio Vivaldi born on March 4, 1678, Venezia (Italy).

1681 Georg Philipp Telemann born in Magdeburg, Germany.

1683 Jean-Philippe Rameau born in France.

1685 Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21in Eisenach, a small town in Germany.

George Handel born in Germany.
Domenico Scarlatti born in Italy.

1695 Henry Purcell dies.

1706 Johann Pachelbel dies.

1708 Bach writes Toccatas and Fugues in D Minor.

1709 Bartolomeo Cristofori invents the hammer action pianoforte

1711 On April 1st 1761 Hayden became second conductor of Prince Paul Anton Esterházy (1711-1762).

1713 Arcangelo Corelli dies.

1714 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, J. S, Bach's second oldest son, born.

Christoph Willibals von Gluck born on July 2.

1717 George Handle wrote Water Music.

1722 Telemann appointed Cantor of St. Thomas in Leipzig but Hamburg will not release him.

1723 J.S. Bach accepts Leipzig position offered to Telemann.

1725 Opus 8 - Vivaldi's The Four Seasons were published in Amsterdam.

1727 Bach writes St Matthew Passion.

1732 Joseph Haydn born on March 31 in Rohrau in Burgenland.

1733 Francois Couperin dies.

Bach writes the Magnificat in D Major.

1737 Antonio Stradivari instrument maker extraordinaire, dies.

1741 Antonio Vivaldi dies July 27, 1741, Wien (Austria).

1742 Bach writes his Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fugue.

Handel's Messiah was first performed.
Frederick the Great opens the Berlin Opera House.

1748 Discovery of the ruined city of Pompei.

1750 Johann Sebastian Bach dies July 28.

Tornago Albinoni dies.

1751 Denis Diderot finishes editing his Encyclopedie in 17 volumes.

The Classical Era

1754 Anglo-French War in North America.

1756 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart born.

1757 First public concert in Philadelphia given by John Palma.

1759 George Handel dies.

Voltaire publishes Candide; British Museum opened to the public.

1762 Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice was staged in Vienna in 1762.

Leopold Mozart took his six year old son, Wolfgang and his daughter on their first performing tour.

1764 Jean-Philippe Rameau dies.

1768 Jean-Jacques Rousseau publishes his Dictionnarie de musique.

1770 December 17 Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn.

1772 First Encyclopedia Britannica issued in Scotland.

1775 James Watt perfects the steam engine.

1776 American Declaration of Independence signed.

1782 Nucciki Paganini born Genoa in Italy.

1783 Great Britain formally recognizes American independence.

1784 Haydn and Mozart may have meet in Vienna.

Haydn composed the Paris Symphonies (Nos. 82-87).

1785 Mozart dedicated to his friend, Joseph Haydn, six string quartets.

1786 Mozart's Marriage of Figaro first performed.

When Beethoven was sixteen, he played for Mozart, who reportedly said, "Keep your eyes on him; someday he will give the world something to talk about."

1787 Mozart's Don Giovanni was first performed.

Christoph Willibald von Gluck dies.

1788 Carl Philip Emanuel Bach dies.

Mozart composed Symphony No. 40 in G minor and Symphony No. 41 Jupiter.

The Bridge from Classical to Romantic

1789 French Revolution takes place.

George Washington (1789-1797)

1790 Immanuel Kant publishes his Critique of Judgement

Mozart's The Magic Flute was performed.

1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies.

Franz Schubert born.
1791-1795 Hadyn composed the London Symphonies, which include the No. 92 the Oxford, No. 94 the Surprise, and No. 101 the Clock.

1792 France declared a Republic.

Thirteen years old Beethoven traveled to Vienna where he studied with Joseph Haydn for a year.
Guiaccguno Rossini born.

1793 First national art gallery in Europe, the Louvre, opens.

1797 Gaetano Donizetti born in Bergamo, Italy.

Franz Schubert born.

1798 Haydn's great oratorio The Creation was performed.

Lyrical Ballads of William Wordsworth appears. First music periodical appears in Leipzig.

1799 Napoleon Bonaparte nominated First Consul of France. Rosetta Stone discovered in Egypt.

1801 Vincenzo Bellini born in Catania, Sicily.

1803 Hector Berlioz born in a small town near Grenoble, France.

In the summer of this year, Beethoven begins work on the Symphony No. 3" (The Eroica).

1804 Mikhail Glinka born in Smolensk.

1808 Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth Symphonies were completed by the summer of 1808.

1809 Joseph Haydn dies.

Felix Mendelssohn born in Hamburg.
Beethoven's Op. 73, Piano Concerto no. 5 ('Emperor') in E-flat, composed.

1810 Fredric Chopin born.

Robert Schumann born.

1811 November 28, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.5 in E-flat Major Op. 73 "Emperor" first performance in the Leipzig Gewandhaus.

Franz Liszt born in Raiding, Hungary.

1813 Richard Wagner born in Leipzig on May 22.

Giuseppe Verdi born in Parma, Italy.
Critic E.T.A. Hoffmann declares that instrumental music "is the most romantic of all the arts."

1814-15 Congress of Vienna attempts to restore a pre-Revolutionary Europe.

Early Romantic

1815 Napoleon loses Battle of Waterloo.

1816 Rossini composed The Barber of Seville.

1818 By the year 1818 Beethoven was totally deaf.

1819 Clara Wiek Shuman born.

1822 Schubert writes Eighth Symphony ('Unfinished').

1823 Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (Choral) was completed in 1823.

Edouard Lalo born in France.

1824 Anton Bruckner born in Ansfelden, Austria.

Bedrich Smetana born in Litomysl, Bohemia.

1825 Johann Strauss II born.

Mendelssohn composed the Octet in E flat

1826 Bellini composed Bianca e Gernando

Mendelssohn wrote A Midsummer's Night Dream.

1827 On March 26 Beethoven dies.

Schubert visits a dying Beethoven.
Bellini composes Il Pirata.

1828 Franz Schubert dies.

1829-1830 Berlioz wrote his Symphonie Fantastique, which he finished during the revolution of 1830.

Berlioz wrote the Symphonie fantastique (fantastic Symphony).
Chopin composed the Concerto No. 1 in E Minor for Piano Op.11

1831 the premieres of two of Bellini's most famous operas, La Sonnambula and his masterpiece, Norma, brought him international fame.

1833 Johannes Brahms born Hamburg.

Alexander Borodin born in Russa.

1835 Lucia di Lammermoot was written by Donizetti.

Camille Saint-Saens born in Paris.

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) born.

1836 Leo Delibes born in France.

1837 Victoria succeeds William IV to the English throne.

Shumann founded his journal Die Neue Zeitschrifi fir Music (New Musical Journal)

1838 Regular Atlantic steamship service begins.

Georges Bizet born in Paris.
Max Burch born Germany

1839 Hector Berlioz wrote Romeo and Juliet and The Damnation of Faust.

Modest Mussorgsky born in Russia.

1840 Peter Tchaikovsky born.

1841 Antonin Dvork born near Prague.

Emmanuel Chabrier born.

1842 Wagner's opera The Flying Dutchman first performed.

1843 Edvard Grieg born in Bergen, Norway.

1844 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov born in Tikhvin, Russia.

1845 Gabriel Faure born in France.

1846 Berlioz's Damnation of Faust performed.

Mendelssohn's Elijah was performed.

1847 Felix Mendelssohn dies.

1848 Gaetano Donizeti dies.

1849 Fredric Chopin dies.

Gold discovered in California and Australia
Dickens wrote David Copperfield 1849-1850.

1851 Herman Melville publishes Moby Dick

Verdi composes his opera Rigoletto.

1853 Liszt composes Piano Sonata in B Minor.

Brahms ment Liszt in Weimar. Later he became friends with Robert and Clara Schumann.

1854 Leos Janacek born in Moravia (later Czechoslovakia).

1855 Ernest Chausson born.

1856 Robert Schumann dies.

Christian Sinding born.
Wagner composes Die Walküre

1857 Mikhail Glinka dies.

Edward Elgar born in England.
Ruggero Leoncavallo born in Naples.

1858 Giacomo Puccini born.

First Atlantic cable laid.

1859 Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.

1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi occupies Naples and precipitates the unification of Italy.

Gustav Mahler born Kalist, Bohemia.
Hugo Wolf born in Austria.
Issac Albeniz born in Catalnoia.

Late Romantic

1861 Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)

1861-5 Civil War ravages the United States.

1862 Claude Debussy born in St. Germainen-Laye.

Frederick Delius bornin France.

1863 Pietro Mascagni born.

1864 Richard Strauss born.

Geneva Convention establishes Red Cross

1865 Carl Nielsen born.

Jean Sibelius born in Finland.
Leo Tolstoy publishes War and Peace.
Union Pacific Railway completed in U.S.

1866 Erik Satie born.

Ferruccio Busoni born in Italy.

1867 Mussorgsky finished Night on a Bare Mountian.

1868 Grieg finished the Piano Concerto in A minor.

Gioacchino Rossini dies.

1869 Hector Berlioz dies

1870 Leo Delibes composed Coppelia.

1870-1 Franco-Prussian War erupts.

1871 Verdi composes his opera Aida.

1872 Ralph Vaughan Williams born.

Alexander Scriabin born in Moscow.
Saint-Saens writes the Concerto No. 1 in A Minor for Cello, Op. 33.

1873 Sergei Rachmanioff born.

Lalo composed Symphonie espagnole.

1874 Arnold Schoenburg born.

Gustav Holst born.
Charles Ives born in Danbury, Connecticut.
Verdi composes his opera Requiem.

1875 Bizet's opera Carmen premiere.

Tchaikovsky completes Swan Lake.
Georges Bizet dies.
Maurice Ravel born 7 March 1875, Ciboure (France)

1876 Thomas Edison invents the phonograph.

Brahms completed his Symphony No. 1 in C Minor.
Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt performed on the 24th February 1876.
In 1876 the premiere performance of the entire Der Ring des Nibelungen took place.
Manuel de Falla born in Spain.

1879 Smetana finished Ma Vlast (My Fatherland).

Ottorino Respighi born in Bologna in Itlay.

1878-81 Brahms writes Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat Op. 83

1878 Tchaikovsky wrote Eugene Onegin, the Fourth Symphony, and the Violin Concerto.

1881. Modest Mossorgsky dies.

Bela Bartok born Romania..
Saint-Saens wrote his Concerto No. 3 in B Minor for Violin, Op. 61.
Percy Grainger born in Melbourne.

1882 Igor Stravinsky born in Oranienbaum in Russia..

Zan Kodaly born in Hungary.

1883 Brahms composes Symphony No. 3 in F Major

1884 Bedrich Smetana dies.

1885 Richard Wagner dies.

Albania Berg was born in Vienna.

1886 Franz Liszt dies.

1887 Alexander Borden dies.

Heater Villa-Lobos born in Brazil.
Brahms wrote the Double Concerto.
Anton Bracken's Symphony No. 8 in C minor premieres.
Rimsky-Korsakov writes Russian Easter Overture, Op. 36 and Scheherazade, Op. 35 and the Ccapriccio espagnol.
Hugo Wolf wrote the Italian Serenade for string quartet.

1888 Mahler finished his First Symphon in D.

Eric Satie composed his Gymnopedies.

1888-89 Tchaikovsky toured as a conductor during these years. He meet Brahms, Dvorak, and Grieg. He completed his Fifth Symphony and The Sleeping Beauty.

1891 Dvorak becomes the Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York which he kept for the next three years. This is when he wrote the Symphony N0. 9, "From the New World".

Leo Delibes dies.

1891-92 Tchaikovsky composes the Nutcracker Suite.

Edouard Lalo dies.
Sergei Prokofiev born in Sontsovka.

1892 Debussy composes Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun).

Arthur Honegger born in France of Swiss parents, and he kept his Swiss citizenship all his life.
Rachmaninoff composed Prelude in C sharp minor.

1893 Peter Tchaikovsky dies.

Before Tchaikovsky dies he completes the Pathetique Symphony.

1894 Emmanuel Chabrier dies.

1895 Mahler's Second Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection" first performed.

Paul Hindemith born near Frankfurt.

1896 Clara Wreck Shumann dies.

Anton Bruckner dies.
Puccini's opera La Boheme was first produced in Turin.
Hugo Wolf's opera Der Corregidor was first performed. In the same year he also wrote Italienisches Liederbuch.
Virgil Thompson was born in Kansas City, Missouri.

1897. Johannes Brahms dies.

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

1897-1898 Richard Strauss writes Don Quizote.

1898 George Gershwin born.

1899 Johann Strauss II dies.

Ernest Chausson dies.
Francis Poulenc born in France.
Schoenberg produced his first major work, the tone poem Transfigured Night.

1900 Aaron Copland born.

Puccini's opera Tosca was first produced in Rome.
Kurt Weill born in Germany.

Early 20th Century

1901 Giuseppe Verdi dies.

Joaquin Rodrigo born in Sagunto on November 22.
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Elgar composes Pomp and Circumstance.

1902 William Walton born in Oldham, Lancashire.

1903 Hugo Wolf dies.

Sibelius composed his Violin Concerto.

1904 Antonin Dvork dies.

Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly was first produced.
Alexander Scriabin composed La Poeme de Pestase (Poem of Ecstasy).

1905 Michael Tippett born in London.

1906 Dmitri Shostakovich born in St. Petersburg.

1906-09 Issac Albeniz spent these years composing Iberia.

1907 Edvard Grieg dies.

Stravinsky first composed the Petrushka, buy revised it in 1947.

1908 Olivier Messiaen born in Avignon.

Maurice Ravel composes Daphnis et Chloe.
Elliott Carter born in New York.
Rachmaninoff conducted the first performance of the Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Or.27.

1909 Auguste Rodin sculpts his Head of Mahler.

Issac Albeniz dies.

1910 Vaughan Williams composed Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

Samuel Barber born in Pennsylvania.
Stravinsky's The Firebird premiered.

1911 Gustav Mahler dies.

1912 Maurice Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe premeired.

Schoenberg composed one of his most influential works, Pierrot Lunaire
John Cage born in Los Angeles.

1913 Benjamin Britten born in England.

Witold Lutoslawski born in Warsaw.
Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring previewed in Paris.

1914 Charles Ives composed Three Places in new England.

1914-1918 World War I.

During WWI Sibelius composed his Symphony No. 5.

1915 Alexander Scriabin dies.

Falla composed El amor brujo (Love the Magician).

1916 Claude Monet begins his series of waterlily paintings.

Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 4 Op. 29, "Inextinguishable" was first performed.

1916-17 Prokofiev's Classical Symphony (No. 1), in D major was published.

1917 Russian Revolution led by Vldimir Ilyich Lenin and Leon Trotsky.

Ottorino Respighi's The Fountains of Rome was first performed.

1918 Claude Debussy dies.

Leonard Bernstein born in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Gustav Holst introduced his composition, The Planets.

1919 Ruggero Leoncavallo dies.

1920 Babe Ruth debuts with the "Bronx Bombers," New York's beloved Yankees.

Max Bruch dies.
Vaughan Williams composed The Lark Ascending.

1921 Prokofiev's Concerto No.3 in C for Piano, Op.26 premiered.

Robert Simpson born in Leamington Spa.

1922 Carl Nielsen composed Symphony No. 5.

Iannis Xenakis born in Romania.
James Joyce publishes Ulysses.

1924 Giacomo Puccini dies.

Gabriel Faure dies.
Rerruccio Busoni dies.
George Gershwin composed Rhapsody in Blue.
Ottorino Respighi's Pines of Rome first performed.

1925 Erik Satie dies.

Pierre Boulez born in Paris.
Luciano Berio born in Oneglia.
George Gershwin composed Piano Concerto in F.

1926 Leos Janacek wrote Sinfonietta.

Hans Werner Henze born in Germany.
Maurice Ravel's Bolero premiered as a concert piece.

1928 Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.

George Gershwin composed American in Paris.
Leos Janacek dies.
Schoenberg wrote Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31.

1929 U.S. stock market collapses.

Ottorino Respighi's Roman Festivals first performed.

1930 Virgil Thompson composed The Plow That Broke the Plains.

1931 Carl Nielsen dies.

1934 Frederick Delius dies.

Edward Elgar dies.
Peter Maxwell Davies born in Manchester.
William Walton's Symphony No. 1 in B-flat Minor first performed in 1934.

1935 Alban Berg composed Violin Concerto. He dies later that year.

1936 Ottorino Respighi dies.

1937 George Gershwin dies.

Maurice Ravel dies.
Shostakovich composed Symphony No. 5, Op.47.

1938 Barber wrote Adagio for Strings.

1939-1945 World War II.

During this period Arthur Honegger composed Symphony No. 2
During this period Bela Bartok composed his Concerto for Orchestra, the Sixth String Quartet, and the Third Piano Concerto.

1939-41 Tippett composed Child of Our Time.

1941 Christian Sinding dies.

Messiaen's Quatuor pour le fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) was written while he was imprisoned during WWII and premiered in 1941.

1942 Copland composed Rodeo.

1943 Sergei Rachmaninoff dies.

1944 Copland composed Appalachian Spring.

Late 20th Century

1945 Pietro Mascagni dies.

Bela Bartok dies.

1946 Manuel de Falla dies.

1948 P. Goldsmith invents the long-playing record in the U.S.

1949 Richard Strauss dies.

1950 Kurt Weill dies..

1951 Arnold Schoenburg dies.

JD Slinger publishes The Catcher in the Rye.

1953 Sergei Prokofiev dies.

Stostakovich introduced Symphony No. 10, in E Minor, Op. 93.

1954 Charles Ives dies.

1955 Arthur Honegger dies.

1957 Jean Sibelius dies.

1958 Ralph Vaughan Williams dies.

1959 Heitor Villa-Lobos dies.

1961 Percy Grainger dies.

1963 John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Francis Poulenc dies.
Paul Hindemith dies.

1966 The new Metropolitan Opera House opens in New York.

1967 Zoltan Kodaly dies.

1968 Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

1969 Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.

1971 Igor Stravinsky dies.

1975 Dmitri Shostakovich dies.

1976 Benjamin Britten dies.

1980 Lutoslawski completed his Third Symphony.

1981 The first space shuttle, Columbia, makes its maiden flight.

Samuel Barber dies

1983 William Walton dies.

1989 Virgil Thomposon dies.

1990 Aaron Copland dies.

Leonard Bernstein dies.

1992 John Cage dies.

1994 Witold Lutoslawske died.


Classical Music: An Introduction to Classical Music Through the Great Composers and Their Masterworks by John Stanley

Building a Classical Music Library by Bill Parker

Classical Music For Families

Historical Periods

Composers' Biographies

Composers and Music I Recommend

Videos I Recommend

Cds I Recommend

Musical Terms


Classical Music Time Line

Mad About Violins



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