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.

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.

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.

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.


On this day in 2006, the music video for “Dani California” was released. Directed by Tony Kaye.

What was your favorite moment from the video?


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.


On this day in 2007, the music video for “Desecration Smile” was released. Directed by Gus Van Sant.

Happy Birthday JMW Turner

English Romanticist landscape painter JMW Turner is thought to have been born on this day in 1775.

His painting of The High Street, Oxford (1810) was acquired in 2015 with your incredible help. Local people and museum visitors sent in over £60,000, helping the Museum reach its fundraising target in just four weeks.

The High Street, Oxford is Turner’s only full size townscape in oils. Unique in Turner’s output, and in the history of English art, it represents one of the most beautiful streets in Europe, a street which has materially changed little since Turner painted it. Although Turner painted many townscapes in watercolour, Turner never again attempted such a picture in oils.

Acknowledged as one of the greatest landscape artists of all time, Turner painted over thirty finished watercolours of Oxford views, by far the most numerous group devoted to a single place in his entire output. He was familiar with the architecture of the city, having visited relations in the village of Sunningwell (five miles southwest of Oxford) during his childhood. In 1799, he received his most prestigious commission to date, to provide two designs for the University’s annual calendar, the Oxford Almanack. The success of these two watercolours led to commissions for a further eight, published between 1799 and 1810. They show a deliberately wide variety of street scenes, colleges and interiors.

It was, no doubt, the quality of these pictures that led Oxford printseller, James Wyatt, to commission the view of the High Street.

Below is a photograph showing the High Street as it is today.

April 12 in Music History

1626 Birth of composer Paul Hainlein.

1684 Death of violin craftsman Nicola Amati in Cremona Italy at 87 years.

1710 Birth of Italian castrato Caffarelli in Bari. 

1716 Birth of Italian violinist and composer Felice de Giardini. 

1722 Birth of Italian composer and violinist Pietro Nardini in Leghorn. 

1727 Birth of composer Gaspare Gabellone.

1768 Birth of #composer Carolus Antonius Fodor.

1769 Birth of composer Giovanni Agostino Perotti.

1788 Birth of composer Johann Erik Nordblom.

1801 Birth of Austrian composer Joseph Lanner in Vienna. 

1814 Death of music historian and composer Charles Burney, in London.

1815 Birth of composer Henry Hugo Pierson.

1818 Birth of German baritone Anton Mitterwurzer in Sterzing, Tyrol. 

1824 Birth of French tenor Joseph Theodor Barbot in Toulouse. 

1826 FP Weber’s opera Oberon, produced at Covent Garden, London.

1827 Birth of composer Edward Mollenhauer.

1839 Birth of composer Victorin de Joncieres.

1851 Birth of composer Emil Liebling.

1858 Birth of Russian baritone Leonid Georgiev Yakovlev in Cherson. 

1867 FP of Jacques Offenbach’s operetta Le Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein in Paris.

1871 Birth of Czech tenor Julius Bochnicek in Prague. 

 1881 Birth of American composer Harvey Bartlett Gaul.

1892 Birth of Italian mezzo-soprano Irene Minghini Cattaneo.

1898 Birth of French soprano Lily Pons.

1889 FP of Edward MacDowell’s Piano Concerto No. 2 composer as soloist in NYC.

1907 Birth of English composer, writer, and conductor Imogen Holst. 

1910 FP of Bittner’s “Der Musikant” in Vienna.

1913 Birth of composer Gabor Jodal.

1919 Birth of composer Istvan Anhalt. 

1920 Birth of American pianist Robert FizdaleI in Chicago, IL. 

1920 Birth of German tenor Rudolf Francl in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

1923 Birth of German soprano Erna Maria Duske in Berlin. 

1924 Birth of composer Sergiu Natra.

1927 Birth of German bass-baritone Gunther Leib.

1927 Birth of English baritone Thomas Hemsley in Coalville. 

1930 FP of Leos Janácek’s opera From the House of the Dead at the National Theater in Brno.

1931 Birth of composer Martin Boykan.

1932 Birth of Czech mezzo-soprano Vera Soukupova in Prague. 

1932 Birth of Bulgarian-American composer Henri Lazarof.

1933 Birth of Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe’ in Barcelona. 

1933 Death of French soprano Lola Artot de Padilla.

1933 Birth of German baritone Peter-Christoph Runge in Lubeck. 

1938 Death of American soprano Marie Tiffany. 

1938 Death of Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin, in Paris. 

1943 Birth of Austrian violinist Ernst Kovacic. 

1942 Birth of composer Daniel Winslow Schmidt.

1943 Death of Italian tenor Edoardo Garbin. 

1948 Birth of Italian soprano Mariella Devia in Chiusavecchia.

1952 Death of English mezzo-soprano Margery Booth in NYC. 

1955 Death of Canadian tenor W. H. Anderson. 

1957 FP of Wallingford Riegger’s Symphony No. 4, at the University of Illinois, Urbana.

1959 Death of Italian soprano Emma Trentini in Mantua.

1968 Death of English tenor Louis Graveure.

1978 FP of György Ligeti’s opera La Grand Macabre at the Royal Opera in Stockholm.

1995 FP of John Towner Williams’ Bassoon Concerto The Five Sacred Trees. Soloist Judith LeClair and the New York Philharmonic conducted by Kurt Masur.

2004 FP of Kaija Saariaho´s Je seus un deuxime cocur. Emmanuel Ax, piano; Paul Neubauer, viola; Fred Sherry, cello at Zankel Hall, NYC.