This year we’re celebrating an odd anniversary. It may not be well known, but 1922 was a peculiarly notable year in music. Maybe it was an influence from World War I, maybe the planets just aligned. Whatever the reason, some interesting things happened! Here are a few of the events that made 1922 musically memorable.
- Igor Stravinsky named himself “the head of modern music.” He was undoubtedly a talented composer, but not a particularly humble guy.
- Louis Armstrong moved to Chicago, where he began establishing his reputation as an extraordinary jazz musician before moving to New York. He soon became an influential figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and by the 1950s he was widely recognized as a truly iconic performer. Listen to a compilation of his work from the 1920s here.
- The United States Army Band was founded on January 25 by General of the Armies John J. Pershing, giving it the nickname “Pershing’s Own” (a name that endures to this day). The band has since branched out into nine ensembles, including a concert band, ceremonial band, chorus, and brass quintet. Check them out here.
- This was considered a year of revolutionary music, and Béla Bartók was one composer who made a name for himself in 1922. Described as quiet and meticulous, he had been traveling around Europe recording thousands of traditional songs. He was inspired to compose and perform two sonatas with violinist Jelly d’Arányi. He combined folk music with the modernism of the day to create something new and exciting. Hear it here.
- The world’s first radio orchestra, the Detroit News Orchestra, broadcast for the first time from Michigan and could be heard as far away as Hawaii.
- Antigone was performed for the first time. This play by Jean Cocteau debuted in Paris and featured music by Arthur Honeggar – plus settings by Pablo Picasso and costumes by Coco Chanel.
We wonder what music from this year will be considered noteworthy in 2122?