This Month in Music: May

by Abby @ Quaver on May 8, 2012

in This Month in Music


We’re spicing up World Music Month with some Music History knowledge!
Explore these dates in May’s Musical History from around the world!



1786 – The Mozart opera “The Marriage of Figaro” premiered in Vienna, Austria. The Classical composer’s comic opera is now regarded as a cornerstone of the standard operatic repertoire, and it appears as number five on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide. Mozart composed 22 operas in his life!

Listen to some of the opera’s most recognizable measures here!




1660 – Composer Alessandro Scarlatti was born in Palermo, Italy. He is considered the founder of the Neapolitan school of opera, and was the father of two other composers, Domenico Scarlatti and Pietro Filippo Scarlatti. Sometimes music really does run in the family! Scarlatti lived and composed in the Baroque period – check out this clip of one of his compositions played on the harpsichord!




1891 – The Music Hall (later renamed Carnegie Hall) had its grand opening with its first public performance in New York City, New York. The first performer was Pyotr Llych Tchaikovsky – the famous Russian composer who also celebrates a birthday in May (May 7, 1840)!

1986 – It was announced that Cleveland, Ohio had been chosen as the city where the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame would be built.




1833 – Composer Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany. A leading musician of the Romantic period, Brahms composed for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, and for voice and chorus. Listen to his famous Lullaby here (Op.49 No.4 Wiegenlied).



1913 Igor Stravinsky’s composition “The Rite of Spring” premiered in Paris, France. Stravinsky was from  Oranienbaum, Russia and his music was the score for this famous ballet! “The Rite of Spring” is considered innovative for its complex rhythmic structures, timbres, and use of dissonance! 

Check out this list of the instruments needed for the ballet’s large orchestra:

  • Woodwinds: piccolo, 3 flutes, alto flute, 4 oboes, English horn, clarinet in E-flat and D, 3 clarinets in B-flat, A, bass clarinet, 4 bassoons, contrabassoon
  • Brass: 8 French horns in F, trumpet in D, 4 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, 2 tubas
  • Percussion: timpani (2 players, with a minimum of 5 drums including a piccolo timpano), bass drum, cymbals, tam-tam, crotales (antique cymbals) in A-flat and B-flat, triangle, tambourine, güiro
  • Strings: violins i, ii (16), (14), violas (12), violoncellos (10), double basses (8)

In honor of “The Rite of Spring,” you can create your own ballet choreography in Quaver’s QDancer Game at!

Austria, France, Germany, and Russia!
It seems to go around the world, you just have to go back in time!


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