November 30, 1813: Charles-Valentin Morhange is born at 1 rue de Braque, in the Third Arrondissement, Paris, French Empire, the second of six children born to Alkan Morhange, proprietor of a boarding school, and Julie Abraham. All of the children will become musicians under their father’s first name, Alkan.
April 2, 1826: A concert to benefit Valentin Alkan (12) takes place in the Pape showroom, Paris. It is his debut as pianist and composer.
April 10, 1829: Charles Valentin Alkan (15) is appointed repetiteur at the Paris Conservatoire. He will soon be appointed assistant professor of solfège.
April 29, 1832: Valentin Alkan (18) gives the first performance of his Concerto da camera op.10 no.1, at the Paris Conservatoire.
May 16, 1833: Rondo Chromatique op.12 for piano by Charles-Valentin Alkan (19) is performed for the first time, by the composer in Paris.
November 22, 1833: Valentin Alkan (19) plays the piano solo in Beethoven’s (†6) Triple Concerto with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra.
April 11, 1834: Concerto da camera op.10/2 by Valentin Alkan (30) is performed for the first time, in Bath.
August 2, 1838: César Franck (15) wins the First Prize in piano at the Paris Conservatoire. The jury, consisting of Director Luigi Cherubini (77), Adolphe Adam (35), Camille Pleyel, Charles-Valentin Alkan (24), Jacques Herz, Charles Kontzki, Félix Le Couppey, and Jean Schneitzhoeffer, are unanimous.
April 29, 1844: Valentin Alkan (30) gives his only known solo recital, at Salle Erard, Paris. He plays the premieres of his Nocturne op.22, Saltarelle op.23, Alleluia op.25, and Air de ballet op.24/2. It is wildly successful with an audience that includes Frédéric Chopin (34), Franz Liszt (32), George Sand, and Alexandre Dumas.
October 30, 1845: In a concert organized by the father of the composer, the églogue biblique Ruth for solo voices, chorus and orchestra by César Franck (22) to words of the Bible and Guillemin is performed for the first time, in the Salle Erard, Paris. Present at the invitation of the elder Franck are Gaspare Spontini (70), Giacomo Meyerbeer (54), Fromental Halévy (46), Adolphe Adam (42), Charles-Valentin Alkan (31), Franz Liszt (34) and Ignaz Moscheles. The composers are mildly lauditory except for Liszt who is effusively so.
April 27, 1857: Sonata for cello and piano op.47 by Valentin Alkan (43) is performed for the first time, in Salle Erard, Paris, the composer at the keyboard.
January 25, 1860: Richard Wagner (46) conducts the first of three concerts of his music in Paris. Attending today at the Théâtre-Italien are Daniel Auber (77), Hector Berlioz (56), Valentin Alkan (46), Charles Gounod (41) and Pauline Viardot (38). The audience is enthusiastic but the press is merciless. Heard tonight for the first time is the Prelude to Tristan und Isolde with the concert ending composed by Wagner. Alkan leaves at intermission, later saying “Wagner is not music; it’s a sickness.” Viardot writes, "Wagner has just given a concert which exasperated three quarters of the audience and delighted the rest. Personally, I found a lot of it painful, even though I admired the vehemence of his musical feelings in certain instances. But the diminished sevenths, the discords and the crude modulations made me feverish, and I have to say that I find this sort of music loathsome and revolting." (Kendall-Davies I, 413-414) See 12 March 1859.
February 15, 1873: Valentin Alkan (59) makes his first appearance as pianist since 1849 in the first of six “Petits concerts” at the Salle Erard, Paris. Despite a couple of memory losses, the concert is warmly received by the audience.
April 24, 1880: Charles-Valentin Alkan (66) gives the last public performance of his career, at the Salle Erard, Paris.
March 29, 1888: Valentin Alkan (Charles-Valentin Morhange) dies in his home at 29 rue Daru in the Eighth Arrondissment, Paris, Republic of France, aged 74 years, three months, and 29 days. Accounts vary as to how he actually died, although the most accepted is that he was crushed by a falling bookcase in his home.
April 1, 1888: The mortal remains of Valentin Alkan (Charles-Valentin Morhange) are laid to rest in Montmartre Cemetery on Easter Sunday. Beyond the immediate family, only four people attend. An obituary appearing today in Le Ménéstrel says “Charles Valentin Alkan has just died. It was necessary for him to die in order to suspect his existence.”
August 10, 1973: The Grande Sonate op.33 of Valentin Alkan (†85) is performed completely for probably the first time, at York University, England.
January 8, 1985: The three Grandes études op.76 of Valentin Alkan (†96) are performed completely for probably the first time, at the Guildhall School of Music, London, 147 years after they were composed.