William Morris

English artist, textile designer, poet and socialist activist William Morris was born on this day in 1834. Morris was one of the principal figures of the British arts and crafts movement. 

This is an ink, pen and watercolour drawing of a Woman Playing Cymbals, a design which was used for one of the many Morris & Co stained glass windows at Wightwick Manor.

Happy Moehanga Day

The 27th of April is Moehanga Day in the United Kingdom

On 27 April 1806 Great Britain was discovered by Moehanga Ngāpuhi. Of course, various indigenous, white-skinned tribes already inhabited the British Isles for thousands of years, but Moehanga was the first Māori to discover Britain. The British natives were in awe of Moehanga’s tattoos and they insisted he meet their chieftain King George III.

When Moehanga arrived on the island he saw families living in primitive, damp and unsanitary conditions and a brutal society that punished almost any act of disobedience—from theft to living with Gypsies—with death. The Britons were a warlike people, renowned and feared for their prowess at fighting other European tribes and even raiding and conquering lands and taking slaves on distant continents.

Today Britain is a thriving multi-cultural nation, producing a range of quality exports whilst preserving its rich heritage and traditions. 

On this day in 2001, Carrizo Plain (CA), Sonoran Desert (AZ), Pompeys Pillar (MT), Upper Missouri River Breaks (MT) and Kasha-Katuwe (NM) National Monuments were designated by Presidential Proclamation.

Pictured here, the #milkyway over North Maricopa Wilderness in the Sonoran Desert National Monument, a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands.


Science fiction writer Octavia Butler died 10 years ago today at the age of 58 and left her papers to The Huntington. We’re celebrating her today by sharing a variety of items from her collection throughout the day.

Pictured here are some of Butler’s handwritten notes on writing and what it means to be a writer.

Learn more about Butler and her archive at http://huntington.org/octaviabutler/, and to find out about “Radio Imagination,” an amazing yearlong Octavia Butler project that Los Angeles arts organization Clockshop (@clockshopla​) is putting on, head to http://clockshop.org/project/radio-imagination/

Handwritten notes by Octavia E. Butler, ca. 1980. Octavia E. Butler papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Pages of handwritten notes from one of Octavia E. Butler’s commonplace books, undated. Octavia E. Butler papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Page of handwritten notes on inside cover of one of Octavia E. Butler’s commonplace books, 1987. Octavia E. Butler papers. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

March 29 in Music History

1484 Birth of composer Johann Spangenberg.

1616 Birth of composer Johann Erasmus Kindermann.

1697 Death of German composer and organist Nicolaus Bruhns.

1716 Antonio Vivaldi loses his job temporarily at Pieta because he spends too much time on operas.

1719 Birth of English music author Sir John Hawkins who wrote the first history of music.

1725 Birth of composer Joseph Franz Xaver Dominik Stalder.

1751 Birth of American singer and composer Supply Belcher.

1752 Birth of composer Edward Jones.

1795 Beethoven’s first public performance in Vienna, where he premieres either his First or Second Piano Concerto.

1806 FP of Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, second version, of the opera Fidelio at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna.

1827 Beethoven’s funeral in Vienna attended by Schubert, Hummel, Czerny and Kreutzer and other more than 10,000 people.

1836 FP of Richard Wagner’s opera Das Liebesverbot at the Stadttheater in Magdeburg. 

1859 Birth of French opera composer Herman Bemberg in Paris.

1862 Birth of American composer Carl Busch. 

1871 Inauguration of The Royal Albert Hall in London. Queen Victoria in attendance.

1874 FP of Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 3 in Eb, in Prague.

1878 Birth of American composer Albert Von Tilzer. 

1879 FP of Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugen Onegin at the Malïy Theater in Moscow.

1879 FP of Bedrich Smetana’s String Quartet in e minor. 

1880 Birth of Russian pianist Rosina Lhevinne, in Kiev.

1882 FP of the first symphony of 16-year-old composer Alexander Glazunov in St. Petersburg. Mili Balakirev conducting. 

1886 Birth of composer Gustaf Adolf Tiburtius Bengtsson.

1888 Death of French composer Charles-Henri Alkan, age 75, in Paris.

1890 Birth of Polish bass Robert Burg in Prague. 

1897 Birth of German tenor Fritz Göllnitz. 

1900 Birth of French bass-baritone Bernard-Henri Etcheverry in Bordeaux. 

1900 In Philadelphia, at the Academy of Music, Fritz Scheel conducts a concert with musicians who were to become The Fabulous Philadelphians of The Philadelphia Orchestra. 

1901 FP of Alexander Scriabin’s complete First Symphony in Moscow.

1902 Birth of English composer Sir William Turner Walton in Lancashire. 

1902 Birth of Italian opera conductor Mario Rossi in Rome. 

1906 Birth of English-born American organist E. Power Biggs in Westcliff. 

1911 Death of French composer Félix-Alexandre Guilmant. 

1911 FP of Chadwick’s Suite Symphonique. Philadelphia Orchestra, with the composer conducting.

1912 Birth of German bass Fritz Ollendorf in Darmstadt. 

1924 Death of Irish organist, conductor, composer Sir Charles Villers Stanford.

1928 Birth of composer Vaclav Felix.

1931 Birth of American soprano Gloria Davy in New Rochelle, NY.

1932 Birth of American tenor William Brown is born in Jackson, Mississippi.

1934 Birth of composer Ernstalbrecht Stiebler.

1935 Birth of Welsh bass Delme Bryn-Jones, Wales. 

1936 Birth of English composer Richard Rodney Bennett in Broadstairs, Kent. 

1937 Death of Polish composer Karol Szymanowski in Switzerland at age 55. 

1940 FP of Britten’s Violin Concerto, Op. 15. @nyphil  with soloist Antonio Brosa. 

1953 Birth of twin Turkish pianists Güher and Süher Pekinel.

1962 Birth of Swedish bass Urban Malberg in Stockholm.

1964 Birth of Greek guitarist and composer Apostolos Paraskevas in Volos, Greece.

1974 Birth of American composer Tom Schneller. 

1982 Death of german composer Carl Orff. 

2000 FP of Bright Sheng’s String Quartet No. 4. Shanghai String Quartet, in Richmond VA.

2001 Death of American pianist and composer John Lewis in NYC at age 80. 

2003 FP of Augusta Reed Thomas’ Canticle Weaving for trombone and orchestra. Ralph Sauer, trombone. Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen, cond. in LA, CA.

2011 Death of English tenor Robert Tear.

One of the best-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, was born on this day in 1864. This 1891 oil painting is on display in Gallery 65, alongside works by Pissarro, Manet, Degas, van Gogh and Monet. Despite being painted in oil, the absorbent card gives the surface a dry, pastel-like appearance

May 23 in Music History

1644 Birth of composer Thomas Eisenhut.

1696 Birth of composer Johann Caspar Vogler.

1741 Birth of composer Andrea Lucchesi.

1753 Birth of tenor Etienne Lainez in Vaugirard.

1756 Birth of composer Nicolas-Joseph Hullmandel.

1759 Birth of composer Antonio da Silva Leite.

1794 Birth of Czech composer and pianist Ignaz Moscheles in Prague. 

1814 FP of Beethoven’s Opera Fidelio in its present form at the Kärntnertor Theater in Vienna. 

1825 FP of Spontini’s “Alcidor” Berlin.

1826 FP in USAmerica of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni sung in Italian by the Garcia family with Mozart’s librettist Lorenzo da Ponte attending at Park Theater in NYC. 

1831 Birth of American composer William Oscar Perkins in Stockbridge, VT.

1850 FP of Hernando’s “Bertoldo y Comparsa” zarzuela, Madrid.

1851 Birth of composer Antoni Stolpe.

1864 Birth of Danish composer Louis Glass, in Frederiksberg. 

1871 Birth of Norwegian composer Sigurd Lie.

1878 Birth of French music critic Emile Vuillermoz.

1879 Birth of English pianist Harold Samuel.

1887 Death of tenor Gaetano Fraschini.

1894 Birth of German baritone Heinrich Rehkemper.

1895 Birth of baritone Josef Krikava in Rakovnik. 

1895 FP of Houseley’s “The Juggler” light opera, Denver.

1889 Birth of composer Jose Padilla.

1901 Birth of English composer Edmund Rubbra in Northampton. 

1902 Birth of composer Mark Lothar.

1906 Birth of composer Hellmuth Christian Wolff.

1911 Birth of Russian-American composer Boris Kremenliev. 

1911 Birth of Danish baritone Frans Andersson Copenhagen. 

1912 Birth of French composer and pianist Jean Francaix in Le Mans.

1913 Birth of German baritone Horst Gunter in Leipzig. 

1921 Birth of English trumpeter Humphrey Lyttleton

1922 Birth of Swedish tenor Per Grunden in Eskiltuna. 

1923 Birth of Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha in Barcelona.

1926 Birth of Hungarian baritone Zsolt Bende in Budapest. 

1926 Birth of German tenor Hanns Nocker in Westfalen. 

1926 Death of German composer Hans Koessler in Budapest. 

1926 FP of Miaskovsky’s Symphony No. 8, in Moscow. 

1929 Birth of German bass-baritone Konrad Rupf in Pohlau.

1929 Birth of bass Dalibor Jedlicka in Svojanov. 

1929 FP of Vasilenko’s “Sin solntsa” Moscow.

1933 Birth of German soprano Ingeborg Hallstein in Munich. 

1933 Birth of American pianist John Browning in Denver. 

1934 Birth of American experimental composer Robert Moog.

1937 FP of William Grant Still’s Lenox Avenue for narrator and orchestra.

1939 Birth of German mezzo-soprano Evelyn Dalberg in Leipzig. 

1941 Birth of American composer Jackson Hill in Birmingham, AL.

1941 Birth of Dutch composer Roderik Deman in Bandung, Indonesia.

1943 FP of Samuel Barber’s Commando March. Army Air Force Technical Training Command Band, composer conducting in Atlantic City, NJ. 

1949 Birth of American composer and flutist Carol Barnett.

1962 Death of Czech bass Marcello Cortis. 

1966 FP of J. Hauer’s “Die schwarze Spinne” Vienna.

1971 FP of Gottfried von Einem’s Der Besuch der alten Damen at the Vienna State Opera.

1971 FP of American composer Rogers Sessions’ cantata When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed’ on text of Walt Whitman in Berkeley, CA.

1977 Birth of American composer Gregory Spears.

1983 Death of Norwegian composer Finn Einar Mortensen in Oslo. 

1987 Death of Belgian composer Karel Albert in Antwerp. 

1991 Death of German composer, pianist Wilhelm Kempff in Positano, IT. 

1992 Death of South African soprano Joyce Barker. 

1993 FP of Daniel Pinkham’s Nocturnes for flute and guitar with flutist Fenwick Smith and guitarist John Curtis at the First and Second Church in Boston, MA. 

2003 Death of Australian soprano Glenda Raymond.

Marcus Aurelius

“The point of life is to follow reason and the divine spirit and to accept whatever nature sends you.”

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was born on this day in AD 121. This striking half-life-sized bronze portrait was found near Brackley in Northamptonshire.

Marcus Aurelius’ philosophical ‘Meditations’ are considered to be one of the world’s most influential works, incorporating stoic principles he used to cope with life as a warrior and leader. Aurelius’ reign was troubled by natural disasters and war. His personal writings outline a philosophy of commitment to virtue above pleasure, and tranquility above happiness.


On this day in 2000, the music video for “Californication” was released. Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.