Romantic Music Timeline

'Sunday Amusements in New Orleans--A Creole Night at the French Opera House' by Alfred B. Waud, 1866
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Historiographers define the Romantic period to be between 1800 to 1900. It is characterized by using music to tell a story or express an idea, the use of various instruments including wind instruments and melodies are fuller and more dramatic. Here is a timeline of music-related events from 1821 to 1900 to give you an idea of the major music events that occurred during the Romantic Period.

  • 1821 - The harmonica was invented by Friedrich Buschmann.
  • 1846 - Adolphe Sax patented his first saxophone.
  • 1847 - Felix Mendelssohn died.
  • 1849 - Frederic Chopin died.
  • 1853 - Giuseppe Verdi wrote his "La traviata."
  • 1856 - Henry Engelhard Steinway created his first grand piano.
  • 1858 - The Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was born.
  • 1859 - In New Orleans, Louisiana, the first opera house was opened.
  • 1862 - Claude DeBussy, one of the most influential composers of his time, was born.
  • 1864 - The German composer, Richard Strauss was born.
  • 1867 - Amy Beach, the first major American female composer, was born.
  • 1868 - Gioacchino Rossini died.
  • 1869 - Louis-Hector Berlioz died. In the same year, the opera "Faust" by Charles Gounod was first performed in Paris.
  • 1874 - The Austro-Hungarian composer, Arnold Schönberg and the American composer, Charles Ives, were born.
  • 1875 - The opera "Carmen" by Georges Bizet was first performed in Paris. He would also pass away that year.
  • 1876 - Edvard Grieg wrote the incidental music for Ibsen's "Peer Gynt."
  • 1877 - "Requiem" by Gabriel Fauré was first performed in Paris. That same year, Thomas Edison patented the phonograph, which would change the way people listened to music. Also, "Swan Lake" by Tchaikovsky, was first performed in Moscow.
  • 1881 - One of the major 20th-century composers, Béla Bartók, was born.
  • 1882 - The Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, was born. That same year, Hugo Riemann published his Musiklexikon; a study of musical harmony.
  • 1883 - The Metropolitan Opera Association opened in New York and Richard Wagner died after completing his final work "Parsifal."
  • 1886 - Franz Liszt died and in Vienna, "Te Deum" by Anton Bruckner was first performed.
  • 1889 - The famous cabaret, "Moulin Rouge," opened in Paris.
  • 1891 - Carnegie Hall opened in New York City.
  • 1897 - Johannes Brahms died and Gustav Mahler became director of the Vienna Art Opera.
  • 1899 - Scott Joplin published his Maple Leaf Rag.
  • 1900 - Giacomo Puccini's opera, "Tosca," premiered in Rome.