Song in America

Politics & Culture

Politics Culture
Great Depression & World War II (1929 - 1945)
1929 1929
  • Herbert Hoover inaugurated
  • Stock market crashes; beginning of Great Depression
  • St. Valentine's Day Massacre
  • Penicillin discovered by Alexander Fleming
  • William Faulkner: The Sound And The Fury
  • Ernest Hemingway: A Farewell To Arms
  • Erich Remarque: All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Thomas Wolfe: Look Homeward, Angel
  • Adrienne Rich born
  • Beverly Sills born
  • Sergei Diaghilev dies
1930 1930
  • William Grant Still: Afro-American Symphony (composed)
  • Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton: America Today murals
  • Grant Wood paints American Gothic
  • Edward Hopper paints Early Sunday Morning
  • Igor Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms
  • Ray Charles born
  • Stephen Sondheim born
1931 1931
  • Al Capone sentenced to prison for tax evasion
  • Congress adopts The Star Spangled Banner as the official national anthem
  • George Gershwin: Of Thee I Sing
  • William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony (considered "the first Negro symphony") is performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in both America and abroad
  • Empire State Building
1932 1932
  • Amelia Earhart is first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
  • William Grant Still becomes the first black American to conduct a white radio orchestra/a symphony orchestra in the Deep South (Deep River Hour)
  • Pearl Buck: The Good Earth
  • Aldous Huxley: Brave New World
1933 1933
  • Franklin Roosevelt inaugurated; New Deal begins
  • Tennessee Valley Authority created
  • 21st Amendment: Prohibition repealed
  • Hitler appointed German Chancellor
  • Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers make their first film together: Flying Down to Rio
  • Movie: 42nd Street
  • Claudio Abbado born
  • Montserrat Caballé born
  • Jan DeGaetani born
  • Philip Roth born
  • Susan Sontag born
  • Stefan George dies
1934 1934
  • Federal Communications Commission established
  • Everglades National Park is formed
  • Adolf Hitler declares himself "Fürher"
  • Premiere of Four Saints in Three Acts with music by Virgil Thomson and text by Gertrude Stein
  • Paul Hindemith: Mathis der Maler
  • William Grant Still is awarded his first Guggenheim Fellowship
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: Tender is the Night
  • American Academy of Poets founded
  • Dionne quintuplets born
  • Peter Maxwell Davies born
  • James Tenney born
  • Christian Wolff born
  • Edward Elgar dies
  • Gustav Holst dies
1935 1935
  • Workers Progress Administration (WPA) is established
  • Nuremberg Laws
  • Gershwin: Porgy and Bess
  • WPA establishes Federal Theatre and Federal Music projects
  • Kurt Weill immigrates to U.S.
  • Academy of Vocal Arts founded in Philadelphia
  • Alban Berg: Violin Concerto & Lulu (unfinished)
  • Gilbert Kalish born
  • Luciano Pavarotti born
  • Elvis Presley born
  • La Monte Young born
  • Alban Berg dies
1936 1936
  • Flint Sit-Down Strike
  • Mussolini and Hitler form Axis
  • Spanish Civil War begins; American volunteers organize as Abraham Lincoln Brigade
  • William Grant Still conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, becoming the first black American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra
  • Margaret Mitchell: Gone With the Wind
  • Steve Reich born
  • Federico García Lorca is killed in the Spanish Civil War
1937 1937
  • Indian National Congress party wins regional elections
  • Amelia Earhart disappears on a flight across the Pacific
  • Aaron Copland's book: What to Listen for in Music
  • Aaron Copland and others found American Composers’ Alliance
  • Virgil Thomson becomes music critic for the New York Herald- Tribune
  • Pablo Picasso paints Guernica
  • John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men
  • J. R. R. Tolkien: The Hobbit
  • Nazi exhibit of "Degenerate Art"
  • Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney appear together for the first time, in Thoroughbreds Don't Cry
  • Maurice Ravel dies
  • Edith Wharton dies
1938 1938
  • Kristallnacht
  • Samuel Barber: Adagio for Strings
  • Aaron Copland's ballet score Billy the Kid
  • Walker Evans publishes American Photographs
  • Frank Lloyd Wright builds Taliesin West in Arizona
  • Orson Welles's radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds
  • Thornton Wilder: Our Town
  • Sergei Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky
  • Joyce Carol Oates born
  • Joan Tower born
1939 1939
  • World War II begins
  • Founding of BMI: Broadcast Music Incorporated
  • Marian Anderson performs at Lincoln Memorial
  • Founding of American Music Center
  • Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears move to New York for three years, and Britten composes Les Illuminations
  • James Joyce publishes Finnegans Wake
  • New York World's Fair takes visitors to "The World of Tomorrow"
  • John Steinbeck publishes The Grapes of Wrath, which wins the Pulitzer Prize and will become an opera by Ricky Ian Gordon in 2007
  • Movies: Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Stagecoach makes John Wayne a star
  • William Butler Yeats dies
1940 1940
  • Fair Labor Standards Act establishes a minimum wage and the 40-hour work week
  • Fall of France
  • Battle of Britain
  • Leon Trotsky assassinated in Mexico
  • Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood opens
  • Igor Stravinsky moves to Hollywood
  • Ernest Hemingway: For Who the Bell Tolls
  • Frank Zappa born
  • Paul Klee dies
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald dies
1941 1941
  • Japan attacks Pearl Harbor
  • U.S. enters World War II
  • James Agee and Walker Evans publish Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
  • Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane
  • Olivier Messiaen composes the Quartet for the End of Time while in a prisoner of war camp
  • Richard Strauss: Capriccio
  • Bob Dylan born
  • Virginia Woolf dies
1942 1942
  • Battle of Stalingrad
  • Leonard Bernstein becomes assistant to Serge Koussevitzky at Tanglewood
  • Merce Cunningham and John Cage begin collaborating
  • Be-bop jazz emerges, thanks to Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie, and others
  • Irvin Berlin's song "White Christmas"
  • Albert Camus: The Stranger
  • C. S. Lewis: The Screwtape Letters
  • First issue of Yank newspaper
  • Edward Hopper: Nighthawks
  • Daniel Barenboim born
  • Alexander Zemlinsky dies
1943 1943
  • Leonard Bernstein makes his conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic
  • Aaron Copland: A Lincoln Portrait (using Stephen Foster melodies)
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! opens on Broadway
  • Norman Rockwell paints his Four Freedoms series
  • Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • Meredith Monk born
1944 1944
  • Normandy invasion and liberation of Paris
  • First liberation of a death camp
  • Leonard Bernstein's ballet Fancy Free and musical On the Town
  • Aaron Copland's score for Martha Graham's ballet Appalachian Spring includes the Shaker melody "Simple Gifts"
  • Tennessee Williams: The Glass Menagerie
  • Olivier Messiaen: Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jésus
  • Kiri Te Kanawa born
  • Lucy Shelton born
  • Vasili Kandinsky dies
  • Edvard Munch dies
1945 1945
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt dies; Harry S. Truman becomes president
  • World War II ends in Europe
  • Atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; World War II ends
  • United Nations founded
  • Rogers and Hammerstein: Carousel
  • Benjamin Britten: Peter Grimes
  • George Orwell: Animal Farm
  • Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited
  • Phyllis Bryn-Julson born
  • Jessye Norman
  • Frederica von Stade born
  • Itzhak Perlman born
  • Béla Bartók dies
  • Pietro Mascagni dies
  • Anton Webern dies