Song in America

Politics & Culture

Politics Culture
Civil Rights (1960 - 1979)
1960 1960
  • Birth control pill approved
  • First performance of Henze's The Prince of Homburg
  • Bernard Herrmann composes the score for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho
  • Musicals include Camelot, The Fantasticks, Bye Bye Birdie, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  • Pierre Boulez: Pli Selon Pli
  • Benjamin Britten: The Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Krzysztof Penderecki: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima
  • Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Singers Susan Graham, Jennifer Larmore and Dawn Upshaw born
  • Zora Neale Hurston dies
1961 1961
  • John F. Kennedy inaugurated
  • Peace Corps created
  • Bay of Pigs invasion
  • Freedom Rides challenge segregation
  • Communists start building Berlin Wall
  • Grace Bumbry is the first black artist to sing at Bayreuth
  • Benjamin Britten: War Requiem
  • John Cage: Silence
  • Joseph Heller: Catch-22
  • J. D. Salinger: Franny and Zooey
  • Wynton Marsalis born
  • Ernest Hemingway dies
1962 1962
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Samuel Barber writes his Piano Concerto, which wins Pulitzer prize
  • Bob Dylan: Blowin’ in the Wind
  • William Schuman becomes president of Lincoln Center
  • Andy Warhol shows Campbell's Soup Cans, which become Pop-Art icons
  • Audio cassettes are born
  • Stephen Sondheim: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • Edward Albee: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange
  • William Faulkner dies
  • Robinson Jeffers dies
1963 1963
  • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King declares, "I have a dream"
  • Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
  • President Kennedy assassinated; Lyndon Johnson becomes president
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: Cat's Cradle
  • Anne Sophie Mutter born
  • Georges Braque dies
  • Jean Cocteau dies
  • Francis Poulenc dies
1964 1964
  • Civil Rights Act
  • Martin Luther King awarded Nobel Peace Prize
  • Aaron Copland receives Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show
  • Woody Guthrie: Dust Bowl Ballads
  • Film: Dr. Strangelove
  • Musicals include Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, and Anyone Can Whistle
  • New York World's Fair is dedicated to "Peace Through Understanding"
  • Augusta Read Thomas born
  • Rachel Carson dies
  • Colin McPhee dies
1965 1965
  • Malcolm X assassinated
  • Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches
  • American combat troops sent to Vietnam
  • Voting Rights Act
  • Watts riots
  • Winston Churchill dies
  • Leonard Bernstein: Chichester Psalms
  • Philip Glass collaborates with sitarist Ravi Shankar
  • 8-track tapes
  • Ned Rorem: Miss Julie (opera)
  • T. S. Eliot dies
  • Edgar Varèse dies
1966 1966
  • Founding of Black Panther Party
  • "Cultural Revolution" begins in China
  • Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center opens with Antony and Cleopatra by Samuel Barber
  • Luciano Berio: Sequenza III
  • Thea Musgrave’s Chamber Concerto for Five Players, using materials from Foster via Ives
  • Truman Capote: In Cold Blood
  • André Breton dies
1967 1967
  • 50,000 march on the Pentagon to protest Vietnam War
  • Thurgood Marshall becomes first African American on Supreme Court
  • Six-Day War between Israel and Arab countries
  • The term "minimalism" starts being applied to music
  • Movies: The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
  • Musicals: You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Hair
  • Joshua Bell born
  • Edward Hopper dies
  • Dorothy Parker dies
1968 1968
  • Martin Luther King assassinated
  • May protests in France; student protests in many other countries including SDS "Ten Days of Resistance"
  • Robert F. Kennedy assassinated
  • Walter Carlos's album Switched on Bach features the Moog synthesizer
  • Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In debuts
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Aus den Sieben Tagen
  • Neal Cassidy dies
1969 1969
  • Richard Nixon inaugurated
  • Men walk on moon
  • First Concorde flight
  • Undine Smith Moore and Alton Trent Johns co-found the Black Music Center at Virginia State University, Petersburg
  • Woodstock Festival
  • Peter Maxwell Davies: Eight Songs for a Mad King (musical theater work)
  • Judy Garland dies
  • Jack Kerouac dies
1970
  • Howard Hanson sets Whitman's "The Mystic Trumpeter" for speaker, chorus, and orchestra
  • Re-issue of Wa-Wan Press publications
  • Roger Sessions sets Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" for soloists, chorus, and orchestra
  • Vincent Persichetti: A Net of Fireflies, Op. 115 (song cycle with English translations of Japanese poems)
  • Dorothy Chang born
  • Louise Bogan dies
  • Hall Johnson dies
  • George Frederick McKay dies
1970
  • Four students shot to death at Kent State University during protest of invasion of Cambodia
  • Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Ray Charles records Swanee River Rock
  • Sondheim and Prince: Company
  • E. M. Forester dies
  • Mark Rothko dies
1971 1971
  • United States blockade of North Vietnam
  • Voting age in United States lowered to 18
  • Premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Mass opens the Kennedy Center
  • Dominick Argento: Postcard from Morocco
  • The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers album
  • The Ed Sullivan Show goes off the air
  • Musicals include Jesus Christ, Superstar (U. S. Premiere), Godspell, and Follies
  • Pierre Boulez appointed conductor of the New York Philharmonic
  • Louis Armstrong dies
  • Igor Stravinsky dies
1972 1972
  • Watergate break-in
  • Nixon goes to China
  • Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha premieres, 62 years after it was written
  • Leonard Bernstein: Mass
  • Ira Levin: The Stepford Wives
  • John Berryman dies
1973 1973
  • Paris peace agreement provides for withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam
  • Vice-President Spiro Agnew resigns
  • Roe v. Wade case legalizes abortion
  • Benjamin Britten: Death in Venice
  • Stephen Sondheim: A Little Night Music
  • Thomas Pynchon: Gravity's Rainbow
  • Pablo Picasso dies
  • J. R. R. Tolkien dies
1974 1974
  • Richard Nixon resigns and Gerald Ford becomes President
  • Centennial of Charles Ives' birth celebrated
1975 1975
  • Fall of Saigon and end of Vietnam War
  • New World Records is founded, "dedicated to the documentation of American music that is largely ignored by the commercial recording companies"
  • Sony BetaMax is the first videocassette
  • April 13 is declared Undine Smith Moore Day by Petersburg (Virginia) Mayor Remmis Arnold
  • Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach
  • Musicals include A Chorus Line and Chicago
  • John Ashbery: Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
  • Dmitri Shostakovich dies
  • Thornton Wilder dies
1976
  • Jack Beeson: From a Watchtower (song cycle setting the poetry of four English poets)
  • Harold Farberman: War Cry on a Prayer Feather (song cycle for soprano, baritone, and orchestra setting the poetry of the Taos Pueblo Indians of New Mexico)
  • Leo Smit: At the Corner of the Sky (choral work setting the text of North American Indians)
  • Jessica Fisher born
1976
  • VHS videocassettes introduced
  • Musicals include Bernstein and Lerner's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the U.S. premiere of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • William Schuman: Casey at the Bat: A Baseball Cantata
  • Alex Haley: Roots
  • Benjamin Britten dies
1977 1977
  • Jimmy Carter inaugurated
  • Gian Carlo Menotti starts American version of Spoleto Festival in South Carolina
  • Sony Walkman cassette player
  • Laser videodiscs
  • IRCAM opens in Paris
  • Morton Feldman: Neither (monodrama)
  • Thea Musgrave: Mary, Queen of Scots (opera)
  • Musicals include Annie
  • The first film in the Star Wars series is released
  • Toni Morrison: Song of Solomon
  • Maria Callas dies
1978 1978
  • Jimmy Carter mediates Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt
  • American Composers Alliance creates American Composers Orchestra
  • Musicals include Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehavin'
1979 1979
  • Near-disaster at Three Mile Island
  • Margaret Thatcher is Britain's first female Prime Minister
  • Stephen Sondheim: Sweeney Todd
  • Joseph Schwantner: Sparrows (for soprano and chamber ensemble)
  • William Styron: Sophie's Choice wins the National Book Award
  • Nadia Boulanger dies
  • Richard Rogers dies
  • Alan Tate dies