A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Charles T. Griffes

Birth icon
September 17, 1884: Charles Tomlinson Griffes is born in the house on the corner of Main and Gray Streets, Elmira, New York, USA, the third of five children born to Wilber Gideon Griffes, a shirt-cutter and retail clerk, and Clara Louise Tomlinson, daughter of a lawyer.
Performance icon
February 14, 1901: Charles T. Griffes (16) appears in public as pianist for the first time in a concert sponsored by the Elmira, New York Women’s Club. He plays Weber’s (†74) Rondo Brillante and Chopin’s (†51) Ballade op.23.
Performance icon
May 21, 1903: Charles T. Griffes (18) plays a farewell concert at Elmira College Chapel, Elmira, New York before his departure for study in Berlin. Two of his songs are performed for the first time: Si mes vers avaient des ailes to words of Hugo, and Sur ma lyre l’autre fois to words of Saint-Beuve. See 24 July 1906.
Event icon
August 13, 1903: Charles T. Griffes (18) boards the liner Grosser Kurfürst in New York, bound for study in Europe.
Event icon
August 25, 1903: Charles T. Griffes (18) arrives in Berlin where he will enroll at the Stern’sches Konservatorium der Musik.
Performance icon
June 19, 1904: Charles T. Griffes (19) is honored at the end of his first year at Stern Conservatory, Berlin with a solo in the year-end concert. He plays Beethoven’s (†77) 32 Variations in c minor.
Performance icon
June 22, 1905: The first movement of the Piano Sonata in f minor by Charles T. Griffes (20) is performed for the first time, in the Beethovensaal, Berlin by the composer.
Event icon
October 21, 1905: Charles T. Griffes (21) visits Engelbert Humperdinck (51) at his home in Grunewald near Berlin. Griffes plays some of his compositions and Humperdinck agrees to take him as a student.
Event icon
October 27, 1905: Charles T. Griffes (21) has his first lesson with Engelbert Humperdinck (51) at Humperdinck’s home in Grunewald near Berlin.
Event icon
May 1, 1906: Charles T. Griffes (21) has his last lesson with Engelbert Humperdinck (51) at Humperdinck’s home near Berlin. Griffes thinks that Humperdinck is going away to compose.
Performance icon
July 24, 1906: The Nocturne from the Suite for String Orchestra by Charles T. Griffes (21) is performed for the first time, in Elmira College Chapel, Elmira, New York. Also premiered is an arrangement for solo piano of Griffes’ song Si mes vers avaient des ailes played by the composer. He has recently returned from Berlin, and will go back to Berlin next month. See 21 May 1903.
Event icon
August 26, 1906: Charles T. Griffes (21) returns to Berlin from America.
Event icon
May 2, 1907: Charles T. Griffes (22) meets Ferruccio Busoni (41) and his wife for the first time at an informal gathering at Busoni’s home in Berlin. Griffes is very impressed and enjoys the Busoni’s greatly.
Event icon
February 4, 1909: Charles T. Griffes (24) signs a contract with G. Schirmer, Inc. for five German songs.
Performance icon
March 15, 1910: Four songs by Charles T. Griffes (25) are performed for the first time, at Elmira College School of Music, Elmira, New York, the composer at the piano: Auf dem Teich, dem Regungslosen and Auf geheimen Waldespfade, both to words of Lenau, and Wohl lag ich einst in Gram and Zwei Könige sassen auf Orkadahl, both to words of Geibel.
Performance icon
May 7, 1912: Two songs by Charles T. Griffes (27) are performed for the first time, in the Normal School Lecture Room, Lowell, Massachusetts: Evening Song, to words of Lanier, and The Water Lily, to words of Tabb.
Performance icon
April 3, 1914: The Lake at Evening op.5/1, a piano work by Charles T. Griffes (29), is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Chamber Music Hall, New York. See 19 December 1916 and 4 June 1920.
Performance icon
November 3, 1914: Barcarolle op.6/1 for piano by Charles T. Griffes (30) is performed for the first time, in Colonial Hall, Lowell, Massachusetts.
Event icon
January 30, 1915: Kurt Schindler of G. Schirmer tells Charles T. Griffes (30) that he is writing “too dreamily and subjectively.”
Event icon
March 11, 1915: At the invitation of Ferruccio Busoni (48), Charles T. Griffes (30) visits him in New York. They met once before in Berlin in 1907. Griffes plays through some of his compositions and Busoni is impressed. He promises to recommend him to the conductor Frederick Stock in Chicago and then writes a recommendation to the publisher G. Schirmer.
Event icon
March 12, 1915: Charles T. Griffes (30) signs a contract with G. Schirmer to publish his piano pieces op.5 & 6.
Event icon
December 4, 1915: An article by A. Walter Kramer appears in Musical America entitled “A New Note in Our Piano Music.” It is a laudatory review of Charles T. Griffes (31) and goes a long way to introducing the music of Griffes to the public.
Performance icon
February 23, 1916: The White Peacock op.7/1 for piano by Charles T. Griffes (31) is performed for the first time, at the Punch and Judy Theatre, New York. See 22 June 1919.
Performance icon
April 12, 1916: Symphony in Yellow op.3/2 to words of Wilde from Tone-Images for solo voice and piano by Charles T. Griffes (31) is performed for the first time, in the Punch and Judy Theatre, New York.
Performance icon
December 19, 1916: The first two of the Three Tone Pictures op.5 arranged for woodwinds and harp by Charles T. Griffes (32) are performed for the first time, in Cort Theatre, New York. See 3 April 1914 and 4 June 1920.
Performance icon
February 10, 1917: The Kairn of Koridwen, a dance drama for eight instruments by Charles T. Griffes (32) after Schuré, is performed for the first time, in the Neighborhood Playhouse, New York the composer at the piano. It will run for 12 performances, none of which is very good. Critics are encouraging.
Performance icon
June 1, 1917: These Things Shall Be for unison choir by Charles T. Griffes (32) to words of Symonds is performed for the first time, in the Hippodrome, New York.
Performance icon
August 5, 1917: Three dance pieces by Charles T. Griffes (32) are performed for the first time, in Atlantic City: the Japanese pantomime Sho-jo, the Japanese folk-dance Sakura-sakura and the Assyrian dance A Trip to Syria.
Performance icon
November 1, 1917: Five Poems of Ancient China and Japan op.10 for solo voice and piano by Charles T. Griffes (33) to words of East Asian poets, are performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, New York, the composer at the piano.
Performance icon
February 26, 1918: A Piano Sonata by Charles T. Griffes (33) is performed for the first time, by the composer, in the first all-Griffes concert, sponsored by the McDowell Club of New York.
Performance icon
April 22, 1918: Two songs by Charles T. Griffes (33), Waikiki op.9/2 to words of Brooke and The Sorrow of Mydath from Two Poems to Words of Masefield, are performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, New York.
Performance icon
September 5, 1918: Two songs by Charles T. Griffes (33) are performed for the first time, in National Thurston Auditorium, Lockport, New York, the composer at the piano: Come, Love, Across the Sunlit Land op.4/2 and La fuite de la lune op.3/1.
Event icon
January 19, 1919: At a social gathering in New York, Charles T. Griffes (34) meets Darius Milhaud (26) who is on his way from Brazil to France. The two hit it off and agree to meet again in a few days.
Event icon
February 1, 1919: Charles T. Griffes (34) and Darius Milhaud (26) spend an afternoon together in New York. They become friends and exchange music.
Performance icon
February 15, 1919: Music for Four Stringed Instruments by Charles Martin Loeffler (58) is performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, New York. The composer, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and Charles T. Griffes (38) are present.
Performance icon
March 22, 1919: Three Poems of Fiona MacLeod op.11 for voice and piano by Charles T. Griffes (34), is performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, New York the composer at the piano. Sergey Prokofiev (27) appears in the same concert accompanying three songs by Griffes. See 24 March 1919.
Performance icon
March 24, 1919: Three Poems of Fiona MacLeod op.11 in an arrangement for voice and orchestra by Charles T. Griffes (34), is performed for the first time, in Wilmington, Delaware. See 22 March 1919.
Performance icon
April 2, 1919: Two Pieces for string quartet by Charles T. Griffes (34) is performed for the first time, in a second all-Griffes concert sponsored by the Modern Music Society of New York. It is an early version of the Two Sketches for string quartet based on Indian Themes. See 24 November 1920.
Performance icon
June 22, 1919: The White Peacock, a solo ballet by Charles T. Griffes (34), is performed for the first time, in New York.
Event icon
September 8, 1919: Charles T. Griffes (34) signs a contract with the Aeolian Company to create piano rolls of his compositions.
Performance icon
November 16, 1919: Poem for flute and orchestra by Charles T. Griffes (35) is performed for the first time, to critical acclaim, in Aeolian Hall, New York.
Performance icon
November 28, 1919: The Pleasure-Dome of Kublai Khan op.8 for orchestra by Charles T. Griffes (35) is performed for the first time, in Symphony Hall, Boston, to favorable reviews. The composer is in attendance.
Performance icon
December 4, 1919: Charles T. Griffes (35) makes his last public appearance at a Boston performance of The Pleasure-Dome of Kublai Khan.
Event icon
December 10, 1919: Charles T. Griffes (35) collapses and is taken to the Master’s house at the Hackley School, Tarrytown-on-the-Hudson, where he is employed. He is confined to bed. A doctor diagnoses pleurisy.
Performance icon
December 19, 1919: Three orchestral works by Charles T. Griffes (35), Notturno, Bacchanale, and Clouds are performed for the first time, in Philadelphia.
Event icon
January 19, 1920: Charles T. Griffes (35) is taken to Loomis Sanitorium in Loomis, New York suffering from empyema.
Event icon
March 20, 1920: Charles T. Griffes (35) is transferred from Loomis Sanitorium to New York Hospital to undergo surgery.
Event icon
April 5, 1920: An operation on Charles T. Griffes (35) takes place in New York Hospital. His chest is drained and a medical instrument, lost during a previous operation, is removed. The operation has no effect on his condition.
Death icon
April 8, 1920: Early Morning. Charles Tomlinson Griffes dies in New York Hospital on West 16th St., New York, New York, USA, of empyema caused by influenza, aged 35 years, six months, and 22 days.
Event icon
April 10, 1920: A funeral for the memory of Charles Tomlinson Griffes takes place at Community Chapel of the Church of the Messiah at 34th and Park Streets, New York. His earthly remains are laid to rest in Bloomfield Cemetery, Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Performance icon
June 4, 1920: Three Tone Pictures op.5 arranged for wind quintet, string quintet, and piano by Charles T. Griffes (†0) is performed for the first time, at Wildwood Farm, the home of Mrs. Alexander L. Dommerich in Greenwich, Connecticut. See 3 April 1914 and 19 December 1916.
Performance icon
November 24, 1920: Two works for string quartet by Charles T. Griffes (†0) are performed for the first time, in New York: Allegro energico ma maestoso and Two Sketches Based on Indian Themes.
Performance icon
February 24, 1921: Intermezzo for piano by Charles T. Griffes (†0) is performed for the first time, in Elmira, New York.
Performance icon
April 22, 1922: Salut au monde, a festival drama by Charles T. Griffes (†2) after Whitman, is performed for the first time, in Neighborhood Playhouse, New York.
Performance icon
December 30, 1949: Three Preludes for piano by Charles T. Griffes (†19) are performed for the first time, in Town Hall, New York.
Performance icon
April 24, 1961: Overture for orchestra by Charles T. Griffes (†41) is performed for the first time, in Kilbourn Hall, Rochester New York conducted by Howard Hanson (64) 56 years after it was composed.
Performance icon
May 4, 1964: Several works by Charles T. Griffes (†44) are performed for the first time, at Indiana University in Bloomington: the songs Entflieh mit mir, Es fiel ein Reif, Le Jardin, Impression du Matin, La Mer, Le Réveillon, Gedicht von Heine, In the Harem, Meeres Stille, Mir war als müßte ich graben, Song of the Dagger Mit schwarzen segeln, and Two Birds Flew Into the Sunset Glow, as well as De profundis and Legend for piano, and Symphonische Phantasie for two pianos.
Performance icon
March 15, 1965: Four songs by Charles T. Griffes (†44) are performed for the first time, at West Chester State College, Pennsylvania: Am Kreuzweg wird begraben, An den Wind, Pierrot, and So halt’ ich endlich dich umfangen.
Performance icon
April 1, 1982: Five songs for voice and piano by Charles T. Griffes (†61) are performed for the first time, at State University College, Cortland, New York: Das ist ein Brausen und Heulen and Wo ich bin, mich rings umdunkelt to words of Heine, and Des müden Abendlied, Das sterbende Kind, and Mein Herz ist wie die dunkle Nacht to words of Geibel .