Song in America

Politics & Culture

Politics Culture
Post-War America (1946 - 1959)
1946 1946
  • Dr. Benjamin Spock publishes The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care
  • The Darmstadt Contemporary Festivals begin
  • Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men
  • Manuel de Falla dies
  • H. G. Wells dies
1947 1947
  • Partition of India and Pakistan
  • Menotti's The Medium opens on Broadway
  • Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Jackie Robinson is the first African American to play major-league baseball
  • Dead Sea Scrolls discovered
  • Anne Frank's diary is published
  • Benjamin Britten: Albert Herring
  • Arnold Schoenberg: A Survivor From Warsaw, Op. 46
  • W. H. Auden: The Age of Anxiety
  • Thomas Mann: Dr. Faustus
  • Arthur Miller: All My Sons
  • Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Laurie Anderson born
1948 1948
  • Alger Hiss indicted
  • Israel declares independence
  • Gandhi assassinated
  • LP records
  • Aaron Copland writes his Clarinet Concerto for Benny Goodman
  • The Ed Sullivan Show takes possession of Sunday nights
  • Reel-to-reel tape introduced
  • Olivier Messiaen: Turangalila Symphony
  • Alan Paton: Cry, the Beloved Country
  • Kathleen Battle born
1949 1949
1950 1950
  • McCarthy begins anti-communist investigations
  • Korean War begins (to 1953)
  • Apartheid riots begin in South Africa
  • Gian Carlo Menotti: The Consul
  • Al Jolson dies
  • Vaslav Nijinsky dies
  • George Bernard Shaw dies
1951 1951
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg convicted of espionage and sentenced to death
  • UNIVAC computer
  • Schoenberg dies
  • Virgil Thomson resigns as music critic of the New York Herald Tribune
  • Gene Kelly receives special Oscar for Singin' in the Rain
  • Sinclair Lewis dies
  • Arnold Schoenberg dies
1952 1952
  • Elizabeth II crowned Queen of England
  • Puerto Rico becomes a United States Commonwealth
  • John Cage: 4'33"
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Spiel
  • Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot
  • Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man
  • Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea
  • John Steinbeck: East of Eden
  • E. B. White: Charlotte's Web
  • Kaija Saariaho born
  • Paul Éluard dies
1953 1953
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated
  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed
  • Joseph Stalin and Sergei Prokofiev die on the same day
  • Aaron Copland summoned before McCarthy's subcommittee
  • Leonard Bernstein is the first American to conduct at La Scala (Milan)
  • Merce Cunningham Dance Co. is founded
  • Arthur Miller: The Crucible
  • John Zorn born
  • Dylan Thomas dies
1954 1954
  • Brown v. Board of Education overturns "separate but equal" doctrine
  • First polio vaccine
  • Maria Callas makes her American debut in Chicago
  • Benjamin Britten: The Turn of the Screw
  • Aaron Copland: The Tender Land
  • Carlisle Floyd: Susannah
  • Gian Carlo Menotti: The Saint of Bleecker Street
  • Iannis Xenakis: Metastasis
  • Kingsley Amis: Lucky Jim
  • William Golding: Lord of the Flies
  • J. R. R. Tolkien: Lord of the Rings
  • Henri Matisse dies
1955 1955
  • Marian Anderson is the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera
  • Erich Fromm publishes The Sane Society
  • Pierre Boulez: Le Marteau Sans Maître
  • Thomas Hampson born
  • Simon Rattle born
  • Thomas Mann dies
1956 1956
  • Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady opens on Broadway
  • Leonard Bernstein: Candide
  • Douglas Moore: The Ballad of Baby Doe
  • Elvis Presley's first album goes gold
  • First commercial use of videotape
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Gesang der Jüngling
1957 1957
  • U.S.S.R. launches Sputnik 1 and 2
  • In Little Rock, Arkansas the National Guard prevents black students from entering Central High School; Eisenhower sends Federal troops to ensure desegregation
  • Samuel Barber: Vanessa
  • West Side Story created by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins
  • Meredith Wilson: The Music Man
  • James Agee's A Death In The Family is published posthumously and wins the Pulitzer Prize
  • Jack Kerouac: On The Road
  • Wham-O introduces the Frisbee
  • Francis Poulenc: The Dialogues of the Carmelites
  • Samuel Beckett: Endgame
  • Jean Sibelius dies
  • Arturo Toscanini dies
1958 1958
  • First U.S. satellite
  • Leonard Bernstein becomes music director of New York Philharmonic and launches Young People's Concerts
  • Menotti and Schippers found Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy
  • Elvis Presley drafted
  • Kennedy Center established when President Eisenhower signs the National Cultural Center Act
  • Olivier Messiaen: Catalogue d'Oiseaux
  • Francis Poulenc: La Voix Humaine
  • Truman Capote: Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • Deborah Voigt born
  • Ralph Vaughn Williams dies
1959 1959
  • Alaska becomes 49th state
  • Hawaii becomes 50th state
  • Fidel Castro overthrows Cuban regime and assumes power
  • Ground-breaking for Lincoln Center
  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum opens
  • Rogers and Hammerstein: The Sound of Music
  • Styne and Sondheim: Gypsy
  • Randall Thompson: Frostiana
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto, No. 1
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen: Zyklus
  • Lorraine Hansberry: A Raisin in the Sun
  • Günther Grass: The Tin Drum
  • Heitor Villa-Lobos dies
  • Frank Lloyd Wright dies