March 11, 1876: Carl Sprague Ruggles is born in East Marion, Massachusetts, USA, second of three children born to Nathaniel Sprague Ruggles, a farmer and Maria Josephine Hodge, daughter of a harness maker.
November 27, 1902: The first of 28 columns on music authored by Carl Ruggles (26) appears in the Watertown Tribune and the Belmont Tribune, in Massachusetts.
February 1, 1907: Carl Ruggles (30) enters upon duties as violin teacher at the Mar D’Mar School of Music in Winona, Minnesota. He has taken the job and moved from Massachusetts to be stable enough to marry Charlotte Snell.
April 19, 1907: Charlotte Snell enters duties as head of the vocal department at the Mar D’Mar School in Winona, Minnesota. She obtained the position through the efforts of her fiance, Carl Ruggles (31).
April 27, 1908: Carl Ruggles (32) marries Charlotte Snell, a professional singer, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Winona, Minnesota.
April 29, 1908: Carl Ruggles (32) conducts the first performance of the Winona Symphony Orchestra in Winona, Minnesota. The orchestra was founded largely through his efforts. It is his first performance as a conductor and is very successful.
December 10, 1918: In an article written by Carl Ruggles (42), the Rand School of Social Science in New York announces the formation of a Workers’ Symphony Orchestra with Ruggles as the director.
February 28, 1920: Carl Ruggles (43) conducts the first performance of the Rand School Symphony Orchestra in the auditorium of the school in New York.
March 12, 1920: At the meeting of the Rand School for Social Science council in New York, Carl Ruggles (44), already the director of its symphony orchestra, is made director of the school’s chorus.
March 28, 1921: The board of directors of the American Socialist Society meets and votes to tell the Rand School Symphony Orchestra that if it can not raise its own funds, the orchestra will be discontinued. This effectively ends the association of its conductor, Carl Ruggles (45), with the Rand School for Social Science.
April 27, 1922: Angels for “any six instruments of equal timbre” by Carl Ruggles (46) is performed for the first time, in New York, as part of a lecture by the composer. For this performance, strings are employed. See 17 December 1922.
December 17, 1922: Angels for six trumpets by Carl Ruggles (46) is performed for the first time, at an International Composers’ Guild concert in the Klaw Theatre, New York. Also premiered are two works for piano by Dane Rudhyar (27): Luciferian Stanza and Ravissement. See 27 April 1922 and 24 April 1939.
March 4, 1923: Hyperprism for nine wind instruments and seven percussionists by Edgard Varèse (39) is performed for the first time, at an International Composers’ Guild concert in the Klaw Theatre, New York, conducted by the composer. The work inspires violent demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. One supporter of the music jumps on the stage while two others are arrested. The work has to be repeated in its entirety. Also premiered is Toys, a song for voice and piano by Carl Ruggles (46).
January 13, 1924: Octandre for seven winds and one stringed instrument by Edgard Varèse (40) is performed for the first time, at an International Composers’ Guild concert in the Vanderbilt Theatre, New York. Also premiered is Vox clamans in deserto, three songs for voice and chamber ensemble by Carl Ruggles (49): Parting at Morning to words of Browning, Son of Mine to words of Meltzer, and A Clear Midnight to words of Whitman.
December 7, 1924: The symphonic suite Men and Mountains by Carl Ruggles (48) is performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, New York. The reaction of the audience and critics is strongly mixed. See 6 June 1931.
October 22, 1925: The first concert of the New Music Society of California takes place in the ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles. Organized by Henry Cowell (28) as an offshoot of Edgard Varèse’s (41) International Composers’ Guild, its “Resident Cooperating Committee” consists of Arthur Bliss, Henry Eichheim, and Dane Rudhyar (30). The program tonight includes music of Darius Milhaud (33), Carl Ruggles (49), Varèse, Leo Ornstein, Arnold Schoenberg (51), and Rudhyar.
January 24, 1926: Levee Land for soprano, two violins, woodwinds, tenor banjo, piano, and percussion by William Grant Still (30) is performed for the first time, at an International Composers' Guild concert in Aeolian Hall, New York. Also premiered is Portals for strings by Carl Ruggles (49). The audience, which includes George Gershwin (27), requires Portals to be repeated but the critics are mixed.
January 10, 1931: Three Places in New England by Charles Ives (56) is performed publicly for the first time, in Town Hall, New York. The composer is in attendance. During a performance of Carl Ruggles’ (54) Men and Mountains Ives tells a hissing audience member to “...stand up and use your ears like a man...”
June 6, 1931: Orchesterstück: Synchrony, by Henry Cowell (34) is performed for the first time, in Salle Gaveau, Paris under the name Synchrony of Dance, Music, Light. Also premiered is the version for full orchestra of Carl Ruggles’ (55) Men and Mountains. Attending is Ruth Crawford (29) on her Guggenheim fellowship. It is an important concert of American moderns, introducing Europe to the music of Ives (56), Varèse (47), and Ruggles, all conducted by Nicholas Slonimsky. See 7 December 1924.
February 25, 1932: Sun-Treader, a symphonic poem by Carl Ruggles (55), is performed for the first time, in Salle Pleyel, Paris. The critics are mixed. During rehearsals, many musicians rebelled, claiming the work is unplayable and unmusical. They were finally quieted through the considerable effort of Edgard Varèse (48). Extra rehearsals became necessary. After a plea from the conductor, Nicholas Slonimsky, funds were cabled by Charles Ives (57).
March 5, 1932: Nicolas Slonimsky conducts an all-American program with the Berlin Philharmonic. Works performed include Three Places in New England by Charles Ives (57), Sun Treader by Carl Ruggles (55), Arcana by Edgar Varese (48), and Synchrony by Henry Cowell (34). The audience showers the performers with boos and whistles.
April 12, 1935: The first exhibition of paintings devoted entirely to the work of Carl Ruggles (59) opens at Bennington College, Vermont.
April 24, 1939: Angels for four muted trumpets and two muted trombones, or four violins and two cellos by Carl Ruggles (63) is performed for the first time, in Miami conducted by the composer. This is the final orchestration of this work. See 27 April 1922 and 17 December 1922.
November 18, 1940: Evocations for piano by Carl Ruggles (64) is performed for the first time, in a private setting in Greenwich, Connecticut. See 31 January 1941.
January 31, 1941: Evocations for piano by Carl Ruggles (64) is performed publicly for the first time, at the Detroit Institute of the Arts. The concert begins an exhibition of 20 of Ruggles’ paintings. See 18 November 1940.
April 20, 1947: Étude pour Espace for chorus, two pianos, and percussion by Edgard Varèse (63) is performed for the first time, at the New School for Social Research, New York, directed by the composer. This is the only fragment of the large projected work Espace to reach a concert hall. Also premiered is Organum for orchestra by Carl Ruggles (71), in a reduction for two pianos made by the composer. See 24 November 1948.
November 24, 1948: Organum for orchestra by Carl Ruggles (72) is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York. See 20 April 1947.
August 13, 1955: Carl Ruggles (79) is stricken with acute appendicitis at his home in Arlington, Vermont. His wife and neighbors manage to get him to a nearby doctor’s office. The doctor diagnoses the situation and sends him immediately to the hospital in Bennington for emergency surgery. He will survive.
August 31, 1955: Carl Ruggles (79) is discharged from the hospital in Bennington, Vermont, two-and-a-half weeks after an emergency appendectomy.
December 11, 1958: Exaltation by Carl Ruggles (82) is performed for the first time, at Cornell University. It is a wordless hymn in honor of his late wife.
August 30, 1966: Six weeks after suffering a fall and hospitalization, Carl Ruggles (90) enters the Crescent Manor Nursing Home in Bennington, Vermont.
February 2, 1971: The orchestration of Carl Ruggles’ (94) piano pieces Evocations is performed for the first time, in Carnegie Hall, New York.
October 24, 1971: 18:00 Carl Sprague Ruggles dies of pneumonia in the Crescent Manor Nursing Home in Bennington, Vermont, aged 95 years, seven months, and 13 days.