Song in America

Politics & Culture

Politics Culture
End of the Century (1980 - 1999)
1980 1980
  • Iranian militants seize American hostages in Iran
  • Mount St. Helen's erupts
  • Philip Glass: Satyagraha
  • Oliver Knussen: Where the Wild Things Are
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Donnerstag (La Scala)
  • Italo Calvino: Italian Folktales
  • Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • Galway Kinnell wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry
  • Jean-Paul Sartre dies
1981 1981
  • Ronald Reagan inaugurated
  • Sandra Day O'Connor becomes first woman on Supreme Court
  • Nuclear freeze campaign
  • First personal computer
  • Pierre Boulez: Repons
  • Undine Smith Moore completes her oratorio (a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King) Scenes from the Life of a Martyr; it is nominated for the Pulitzer Prize
1982
  • Dominick Argento: The Andrée Expedition (song cycle for baritone and piano setting the letters of Swedish explorer Salomon August Andrée)
  • Milton Babbitt: The Head of the Bed (song cycle setting the poetry of John Hollander)
  • Jay Ungar sets Cleo Laine's "A Time for Farewell"
  • Yehudi Wyner: On This Most Voluptuous Night (song cycle setting the poetry of William Carlos Williams)
  • Archibald MacLeish dies
  • Kenneth Rexroth dies
1982
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial opens
  • Compact discs
  • Michael Jackson's Thriller album
  • Alice Walker: The Color Purple
  • Musicals include Cats, Little Shop of Horrors, and Nine
  • Cathy Berberian dies
1983 1983
  • Terrorist explosion kills 237 Marines in Lebanon
  • First generation mobile phones
  • Olivier Messiaen: St. Francis of Assisi
1984 1984
  • Summer Olympics in Los Angeles
  • Ned Rorem: An American Oratorio
  • Truman Capote dies
1985 1985
  • Gorbachev urges perestroika and glasnost
  • Elliot Carter wins National Medal of Arts
  • William Schuman: On Freedom's Ground: An American Cantata
  • E. B. White dies
1986 1986
  • Space shuttle Challenger explodes
  • Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale
  • Musée d'Orsay opens in Paris
  • Georgia O'Keeffe dies
  • Peter Pears dies
1987 1987
  • John Adams: Nixon in China
  • Musicals include Starlight Express, Les Misérables and Into the Woods
  • Toni Morrison: Beloved
  • DAT tapes introduced
  • Andy Warhol dies
1988
  • John Harbison: Simple Daylight (song cycle setting the poetry of Michael Fried)
  • Léonie Adams dies
1988
  • Lukas Foss' With Music Strong sets the poetry of Walt Whitman for chorus with orchestra
  • Gabriel García Márquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Musicals include Phantom of the Opera
1989 1989
  • George H.W. Bush inaugurated
  • Berlin Wall comes down
  • Tiananmen Square protests
  • Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska
  • The Iranian government sentences Salman Rushdie to death for his book The Satanic Verses
  • Mezzo soprano Jan DeGaetani dies of leukemia
1990 1990
  • South African President de Klerk frees Nelson Mandela
  • Persian Gulf War (to 1991)
  • German reunification
  • Obscenity controversy over Mapplethorpe exhibit in Cincinnati
  • Restoration of the Sistene Chapel paintings completed
  • A. S. Byatt: Possession (novel)
  • Roald Dahl dies
1991 1991
  • U.S.S.R. dissolves
  • John Adams: The Death of Klinghoffer (opera)
  • John Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles premieres at the Metropolitan Opera
  • Second generation mobile phones
  • Martha Graham dies
1992 1992
  • Louise Glück's volume The Wild Iris wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
  • Francis Bacon dies
  • Olivier Messiaen dies
1993 1993
  • Bill Clinton inaugurated
  • Marian Anderson dies
  • William Parker (baritone) dies of AIDS at the age of 49
1994 1994
  • English Channel Tunnel inaugurated
1995 1995
  • Digital videotape introduced for home use
1996 1996
1997 1997
  • Minidiscs introduced
1998 1998
1999 1999
  • MP3 players